Picking eight songs for the Commodores' next album was an intense exercise. Encouraged by manager Benny Ashburn and producer James Anthony Carmichael, the six-man band was encouraged to submit their original songs for consideration. Quite naturally, this led to arguments and heated competition for the coveted slots. That is until Lionel Richie submitted "Three Times a Lady." Right off the bat, everyone agreed that the gentle, wispy ballad should be included on their upcoming Natural High album. Richie's inspiration for the song came after he attended his parents' 37th wedding anniversary and heard his father voice his appreciation for his wife. Released as the first single, some were puzzled why the band would put out a ballad during the commercial zenith of disco. "Three Times a Lady" stayed at number one R&B and pop for two weeks and number one adult contemporary in the summer of 1978. The Natural High LP went platinum, parking at number one R&B for eight weeks, peaking at number three pop, and yielding the number 21 R&B/number 38 pop single "Flying High" and the radio-aired favorites "Say Yeah," "I Like What You Do," and "Fire Girl."