Commodores Member Milan Williams Dead at 58
Tue, 11 Jul 2006 09:40:46
Commodores founding member Milan Williams died in Houston on Sunday, July 9 at the age of 58, following a struggle with cancer. Funeral services are scheduled for July 15, and a memorial is also being planned for Los Angeles in August.
Williams was part of the original seven-man funk/R&B group, playing keyboards, guitars and doing some singing. The band formed while they were enrolled in college and got their first big break as a touring opener for the Jackson Five. After the conclusion of that tour, in 1972, the band signed with Motown subsidiary MoWest. An illustrious career featuring seven No. 1 R&B songs and two No. 1 pop songs followed. The most famous alum of The Commodores is Lionel Richie, who played saxophone in the band before taking over most of the group's lead vocals and eventually leaving to pursue a solo career. But it was Williams who penned the first song that got them noticed, 1974's instrumental track "Machine Gun," as well as the group's most enduring funk hit, "Brick House."
"He was once, twice, three times a brother and we love him," said Walter Orange on behalf of the Commodores, referencing the band's hit record "Three Times a Lady." "He gave all that he could give to the Commodores. He'll always be remembered."
Williams is survived by his wife, Melanie Bruno-Williams, and two sons, Jason and Ricci. The family has asked that any donations be made in his name to the Leukemia Research Center in Houston.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff 07.11.06