Commodores – Three Times A Lady

Three Times A Lady – Commodores | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: R&B & Pop (#1 for 2 weeks) , & Adult Contemporary (#1 for 3 weeks) ; 1978

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

A father’s wedding anniversary speech gave birth to the Commodores first #1 pop hit when he shared how, after 37 years of marriage, he’d never told his wife how much he appreciated her. Right then and there, his son – Lionel Richie – decided not to follow in Dad’s footsteps, and composed a musical love letter to his wife, Brenda. Unlike the intra-group controversies that surrounded other songs, when Lionel played his fellow Commodores Three Times A Lady, everyone agreed: this one was a keeper. Although ballads were an ever-increasing part of their repertoire, the most recent pre-Lady singles had been the funky Brick House and Too Hot Ta Trot. Brick House was a Top 5 crossover smash, whereas Too Hot topped the R&B list, yet, stalled at #24 on the pop side. With Three Times A Lady, the Commodores corrected that momentary lapse, scoring a music biz trifecta by hitting #1 on the three main Billboard charts.

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.

Produced by:

  • James Anthony Carmichael
  • Commodores

Lyrics Written by:

  • Lionel Richie


  • Won Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus (1979)
  • Won American Music Award (1979)
  • Won People’s Choice Award
  • Nominated for Grammy Award for Song of the Year (1979)
  • Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus (1979)
  • Top 40 Weekly Top Songs of the 70s Chart Position: #30