Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This Disco classic is about a woman with a great body. She is "Built like a Brick House." The original phrase is, "She's built like a brick s--thouse." That's the reason for the pause with the horn fill between the words "brick" and "house." (thanks, Dan - Orlando, FL)
As explained in Commodores press materials, when the group needed another song for the album, their guitar/trumpet player William King was sent home to write one. He fell asleep trying to think of something, and when he woke up, there was a pad of paper on his chest with the lyrics written on it. Lucky for King, his wife Shirley Hanna-King was also a songwriter, and she wrote the words while he was sleeping. The lyrics were put to a groove the band came up with in a jam session to complete the song.
This song epitomizes the Funky side of the the Commodores, who could switch between uptempo R&B and easy listening by swapping singers. "Brick House" was sung by their drummer Walter Orange, and their softer songs like "Easy
" and "Three Times A Lady
," used Lionel Richie on lead vocals. Richie enjoyed tremendous Adult Contemporary success as a solo artist after leaving the Commodores in 1982.
At one point, the woman in this song is described as "36-24-36." These very shapely measurements were used a year earlier in the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
In 1991 the Commodores were inducted into The National Association of Brick Distributors' Brick Hall of Fame in recognition of this song.
In 2003, Richie recorded a new version of this with hard-rocker Rob Zombie for Zombie's horror movie House Of 1000 Corpses. It was an odd pairing, but the singers professed mutual respect for each other. Said Zombie, "The movie is so f--cked that we needed something equally as f--cked to go with it."
Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind. Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand
, is a fan.
Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos
Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.
Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.