The Commodores: Brick House


I was watching the San Diego Chargers lose yet another football game this season… man it’s painful to see them lose, especially when they were the “ones to watch” this season. I gotta take a Tramadol after every loss just to ease the pain. So anyhow, a Viagra commercial came on during the game. I agree with the comedian who said that years from now, people will think that all men from this time had erectile dysfunctions based on the sheer magnitude of commercials shown regarding this subject. Anyhow, seeing this Viagra commercial reminded me of one of the classic songs from the 70’s, “Brick House” by The Commodores.

Now, I’m not saying that The Commodores had erectile dysfunction or anything like that, nor am I saying that “Brick House” is about ED, I’m just saying that I was reminded of the song because well… hmmm… maybe Sherman should be writing this post.

A “Brick House” is slang for a voluptuous woman. I use the term “voluptuous” loosely here because “voluptuous” can mean different things to different people… to me, though, a “voluptuous” woman is something like this:

Uh, wait… I’m talking about this rabbit’s WIFE…

Anyhow, I hope you can see the tie-in from Viagra to “Brick House.”

“Brick House” is a cut off The Commodores’ 1977 self-titled album and remains one of the group’s most popular songs. This funky, groovy, who’s-your-daddy song is a given at any dance club and will do wonders at BINGO night at your local church. The song hit number five in the US charts and also made a splash in the UK, hitting number 32.

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In doing some research on this song, I came across this tidbit from Songfacts.com: 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.”

That’s totally cool. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s totally cool.

For those of you that don’t know, drummer Walter Orange took lead vocals on this song. When I first heard this song, I thought it was Lionel Richie… I said to myself, “Self, that’s pretty cool how he can change his voice to fit the mood!” And Self answered with, “You idiot, that’s not Lionel Richie, that’s Walter Orange!”

Self is always right.

“Brick House” helped propel the album into the top five, giving The Commodores their biggest album showing at the time. They had four consecutive top five albums after this record… just goes to show you how powerful singles were back then.

I’ve posted a couple of cover versions of this song below. One is by the amazing Joan Osborne. I have no idea where this recording comes from, as I have never been able to find it as an official release. It’s a great listen, though, and brings you into the studio with her and the band as they establish the tempo and groove of the song. I love how they do this song with acoustic guitars… it’s also interesting hearing it with a female voice, but Osborne does such a great job with it and shows how universal this lyric is: a gorgeous woman is a gorgeous woman to everyone, not just men.

The other cover is done by Rob Zombie for the film House of 1000 Corpses. Zombie uses a lot of sound effects in this cut that would be a great substitute for Viagra. Lionel Richie joins Zombie on this recording, with Trina doing a mid-song rap about how she’s apparently a “Brick House.” Here’s a picture of Trina

Waitaminute… what was I talking about here?

Amazon Search: The Commodores, Rob Zombie, Lionel Richie, Trina, Joan Osborne

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Download: Brick House (The Commodores)
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22 thoughts on “The Commodores: Brick House

  1. You didn’t grow up in the 70s and not know this song!
    I am fascinated with the idea of this playing at a church bingo. Maybe I should check out those bingo nights. They sound a lot funkier than I’ve imagined.
    And while it’s cool that there was a remake for House of a 1,000 Corpses, can we talk about Rob Zombie for a second? I saw that movie and, to quote Hank Hill, “That boy ain’t right.” Even my worst nightmares never came remotely close to that, whatever the hell that was! I didn’t even realize there was a soundtrack, other than bloodcurdling screams.

  2. You didn’t grow up in the 70s and not know this song!
    I am fascinated with the idea of this playing at a church bingo. Maybe I should check out those bingo nights. They sound a lot funkier than I’ve imagined.
    And while it’s cool that there was a remake for House of a 1,000 Corpses, can we talk about Rob Zombie for a second? I saw that movie and, to quote Hank Hill, “That boy ain’t right.” Even my worst nightmares never came remotely close to that, whatever the hell that was! I didn’t even realize there was a soundtrack, other than bloodcurdling screams.

  3. Even we un-brick house types (in my case, it’s more like a lumpy 2×4) dig this song.
    And thank you for the opportunity to squee about a REAL team (i.e. Titans) once again. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! thanks 🙂

  4. Even we un-brick house types (in my case, it’s more like a lumpy 2×4) dig this song.
    And thank you for the opportunity to squee about a REAL team (i.e. Titans) once again. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! thanks 🙂

  5. I love this song!! It takes me back to when I was little. I have an Aunt who is very much a “brick house” HAHA!! WE all say she stole every brick in our family and didn’t leave any for the rest of us. GRRRR!! Anyway…this song is very cool! I love it! Thanks!

  6. I love this song!! It takes me back to when I was little. I have an Aunt who is very much a “brick house” HAHA!! WE all say she stole every brick in our family and didn’t leave any for the rest of us. GRRRR!! Anyway…this song is very cool! I love it! Thanks!

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