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Do you remember the last time Lionel Richie came to Norfolk?

PUBLISHED: 15:25 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:59 31 January 2018

A cutting from the Eastern Evening News, March 21 1977 ahead of the Commodores gig at West Runton. Photo: Archant Library

A cutting from the Eastern Evening News, March 21 1977 ahead of the Commodores gig at West Runton. Photo: Archant Library

Archant

As Lionel Richie prepares to bring his All The Hits tour to Holkham this summer, we take a look back at the last time the crooner performed in the county.

The singer visited Norfolk as part of The Commodores, playing a show at West Runton Pavilion on Thursday, March 24 1977.

A cutting from the Evening News on March 21 1977 previews the gig.

It said: “West Runton Pavilion plays host to one of the top Tamla Motown groups, the Commodores, on Thursday evening.

“The six-piece group featuring Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange (drums), Thomas McClary (lead guitar), Ronald McPread (bass, trumpet), Lionel Richie (sax), William King (trumpet) and Milan Williams (keyboard, drums, guitar) first got together in Alabama in 1968 as the Jays.

“In summer of 1971 they were signed to Tamla Motown and became the Commodores. Since then they have recorded four best-selling albums and have received gold records for singles like The Bump, Machine Gun and Sweet Love.

“Beside the records, the group have toured America with Stevie Wonder, the O’Jays and the Rolling Stones and are also enormously popular in Japan and the Philippines.

“Although the group have toured all over the world, this is their first time in this country and West Runton is one of only six gigs.

“The group write all their own material, and as well as playing instruments on stage, they all sang.

“There are three lead vocalists, and the other three do backups. The set you will see at West Runton will last about 90 minutes with the emphasis on entertainment.

“To coincide with the tour a new album will be available and after the tour they are off to Australia, Japan and the Philippines for four months before embarking on a 137-day tour of the United States.”

David La Motte was at the gig that day, he said: “It was a surprise to me that Lionel Richie hasn’t performed in Norfolk since 1977 as he has been a regular tourer for many years.

“Along with three of my friends we made the trip to the legendary West Runton Pavilion to see the Commodores. They had also seen them at the London New Vic on the Saturday before and assured me that I was in for a special night.

“At the time they had two lead singer with Walter Organge singing their funkier numbers and Lionel Richie taking over for ballads. Between them they effortlessly went through their repertoire of songs from the hard funk of Brick House to the mellowernumbers such as Easy.”

He added: “A truly memorable performance from an international band in the unlikely setting of West Runton.”

• Do you remember the last time Lionel Richie came to Norfolk?

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