Chart Performance: Pop (#1); 1979
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
The Commodores only two hits of 1979 were both written by pianist-turned-lead-vocalist Lionel Richie who based each on real-life stories of couples in distress. The first, Sail On, came out of the break up of the marriage of Richie’s boyhood buddy William Smith. The second, Still, was also inspired by two other friends whose marriage wasn’t working. Their courageous choice to split and, thus, salvage their
friendship impressed Richie, who composed Still as a tribute to them. Sail On and Still flowed in the same smooth soul ballad groove of Easy and Three Times A Lady, which had made them favorites of R&B, pop, and adult contemporary fans, and extended the Commodores crossover success. Sail On reached the Top 10 on all three charts in the fall, and was still at #4 pop when Still took over the #10 slot. Four weeks later Still hit #1 on the Hot 100, then did likewise at R&B, and reached #6 at AC.
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- James Anthony Carmichael
Lyrics Written by:
- Lionel Richie