The Motels held court in the red-hot LA club scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, where bands like the Go Gos, Mötley Crüe, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were also emerging. They were fronted by singer Martha Davis, a charismatic performer who kept the band extremely radio-friendly but with just enough edginess to maintain its street cred. This band embarked on their first national tour in 1979, when they were promoting their first Capitol release, simply entitled, The Motels. The band actually had begun in 1972, when Davis was still living in Berkeley, California. Originally called the Warfield Foxes, Davis moved the band to LA in 1974 and changed their name to the Motels. The original line-up included Dean Chamberlain on guitar and Richard D'Andrea on bass, and employed various drummers and keyboard players.
The band found the club scene thriving in Los Angeles, and within a year, labels started courting them. Before a deal could be secured, however, the band dissolved in 1976. A year later, however, Davis returned with an all-new lineup, and within two years the band had a deal with Capitol Records. That first album scored a minor hit with "Total Control," a power-ballad built with a new-wave edge. The band did two more albums for Capitol, but it would be in 1982 with the release of All Four One that the band found their commercial and MTV breakthrough with the stunning pop hit, "Only The Lonely." That song, and the follow-up hit, "Suddenly Last Summer" would both reach the Top 10, and ultimately provided years of touring income for the band.
In 1987, Davis broke up the band to do a solo project, entitled Policy. As soon as she finished the album, however, she was diagnosed with cancer. The health issues put her career on hold for nearly two years, while she successfully battled the illness. In 1998, she returned with an all-new version of the band, and has continued to tour as the Motels, featuring Martha Davis. Their last studio album, Clean, Modern and Reasonable, was released in 2007.