Slippery When Wet

Album: Caught in the Act (1975)
Charted: 19

Songfacts®:

  • An early hit for the Commodores, this funky number finds Lionel Richie warning married men about the dangers of stepping out. Hangin' loose may be outta sight, but it just ain't right. Best to stay faithful and take care of the home front.
  • This was written by Commodores guitarist Thomas McClary, who told the story in a Songfacts interview: "I was driving to the studio, and I saw a road sign that said, 'slippery when wet.' And I was like, 'That's an interesting slogan there. It could be a good song title.' But obviously, they were talking about a road. So that was the beginning of the thought process and how it tied into when a relationship starts to go sour."
  • This was the first of seven #1 R&B hits for the Commodores, who were signed to Motown Records. At this stage of their career, they were wearing matching outfits on stage and doing group choreography per Motown protocol.
  • This was the first Motown hit to incorporate the horn-based funk sound that was passing the label by, as acts like Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang pushed that sound forward for other labels.
  • This song plays in the 2007 episode of House M.D., "Human Error," in a scene where the title character (Hugh Laurie) plays air guitar to it using his cane. The song has also been used in the TV series Ballers ("World of Hurt" - 2016) and Californication ("The Last Supper" - 2011), and also the movies Sprung (1997) and How to Be Single (2016).

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