Brick House

Album: Commodores (1977)
Charted: 32 5
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  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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 Commodores, who could switch between uptempo R&B and easy listening by swapping singers. "Brick House" was sung by their drummer Walter Orange, with Lionel Richie on saxophone. Their softer songs like "Easy" and "Three Times A Lady," used Richie on lead vocals. He 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 have often appeared in song: they were used a year earlier in AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," and The Shadows released a song called "36-24-36" in 1961. In 1959, the movie A Private's Affair featured a musical number where three guys sing the praises of these measurements in another song with these measurements in the title.

    By the '90s, some artists preferred a fuller figure. In "Baby Got Back," Sir Mix-a-Lot says, "36-24-36? Ha ha, only if she's 5'3."
  • Why is the woman 36-24-36? In our interview with founding member Thomas McClary, he explained: "We got those measurements out of Jet magazine - a model that was modeling swimwear."
  • 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."

Comments: 18

  • Mitch from Milford, DeI graduated from High School with Shirley Hanna. I’m glad that she finally received the recognition for writing the words for “brick house”.
  • Jay from El Monte CaWilliam Kings son was on the Real World. His name is Adam. He’s a great guy. Everyone likes him.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 21st 1977, "Brick House " by the Commodores entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #72; and on October 30th, 1977 it peaked at #5 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1974 and 1986 the Commodores had twenty-five Top 100 records; ten made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Three Times A Lady" for 2 weeks on August 6th, 1978 and "Still" for 1 week on November 11th, 1979.
  • Milford from Cooltown, NyI just introduced this to one of my 14 year old drum students. He's a french kid. He came back this week and told me, "Brick House is the best song. EVER." I love that he loves it. Funk is so good for the soul!
  • Dougee from San Bernardino, CaI loved this song when I was 11 or so, though I didn't know its true meaning yet! I also thought, in the "shake it down" part he was saying "suck a cow, suck a cow, suck a cow now" and the cowbell during that part added to the not-too-appetizing imagery.

    Around the time the song came out (not sure if it was an influence; likely!) there was a clothing store in Redlands, CA called the "Brick Shirt House." It was advertised often on the main pop station in the area, 59-KFXM. Good times!
  • Lucy from Rhinebeck, NyThis song is somewhat funny. I think of this lady with a really curvy body and a big butt and chest, seriously! XD
  • John from Nashville, TnWhen the Commodores finished recording this song, no one in the group expected it to be a hit because it was too simple.
  • Rhonda from Poplarville, MsThis song always takes me back to my college days in 1977. This song was played at every single dance, and the band would get all the girls to stand up in front of the stage and "break it down" to this song.
  • Aaron from Boston, MaRie Sinclair sang this song and lionel Richie sang backup
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiESPN used to use a different version of this song (not by The Commodores) in ads for their college basketball telecasts. This was a strange choice, considering that in basketball a "brick" is a nickname for a badly misfired shot attempt.
  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaI think this song is awful.
  • Voodoocat from Zimbabwe, United StatesThis is one of the best funk songs ever. GO COMMODORES!!
  • Alf from Kingston, CanadaHey this is one of the coolest songs I think ever. 1st time I heard it I was 13, I had skipped school that day, my sister came home from work & asked me if I wanted to go for a drive, I said sure, it was in December & this wicked snow storm developed. We were listening to the radio & this song came on, after it ended the announcer came on with snow storm announcements, announcer being so busy played it again by mistake & didn't even notice, we though hey this is cool. Thank you Commorodores you guys are awesome. Years later a co-worker friend of mine heard this song & thought it was by Parliament
  • Ken from Louisville, KyLionel Ritchie said they selected the name of "Commodores" by opening up a dictionary and radomly pointing to a word. The first noun they came to would be the group's name. Ritchie jokes that "When I think of how close we came to being called 'The Commodes'...."

  • Ken from Louisville, KyLionel Ritchie comes from a very religious family. When this song came out, his mother told him that she was so embarrassed that she couldn't face her friends at church!
  • Sabrina from Montreal, Canadathis song makes me laugh!!! lol
  • Horace from Western, MdLionel Ritchie was the lead singer for the Commodores at the time, BUT the lead vocalist on the song is their drummer, Walter Orange. Ritchie sang backup on it.
  • Vanessa from Barstow, Ca Hey, one of the Cooomedores's son os on Real World for those who don't know.
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