Lionel Richie grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute where his grandfather worked. He attended the Alabama school on a tennis scholarship.
I knew him initially as a member of the soul group the Commodores. Early on, their songs were quite danceable. But eventually, Richie wrote and sang more sometimes syrupy ballads. It was probably inevitable that he’d become a solo artist in 1982, and he became even more commercially successful.
“Over the course of his musical career, Richie has sold over 90 million records worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. He has won four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year in 1985 for ‘We Are the World’ which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson…”
He composed “Lady” for Kenny Rogers, which hit #1 pop and CW in 1980 and he wrote and produced “Missing You” for Diana Ross (#10 Pop, #1 RB) in 1984.
“In 2016, Richie received the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award.” He received one of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2017, which he threatened to boycott if the White House resident attended.
I haven’t watched American Idol for over a dozen years. Yet I’m oddly pleased that he has been one of the judges for the past couple seasons. He is still touring; his “epic 33-date Hello Tour across North America” started May 10th and runs through August.”
Lionel Richie turns 70 on June 20.
Endless Love, with Diana Ross – #1 for nine weeks pop, #1 for seven weeks RB in 1981
All Night Long – #1 for four weeks pop, #1 for seven weeks RB in 1983
Hello – #1 for two weeks pop, #1 for three weeks RB in 1984
Say You, Say Me – #1 for four weeks pop, #1 for two weeks RB in 1985, won the Oscar for Best Song, from the movie White Nights
Dancing on the Ceiling – #2 for two weeks pop, #6 RB in 1986
We Are The World – USA for Africa, #1 for four weeks pop, #1 for two weeks RB in 1985, sold over four million copies in the US
TD Ameritrade TV Commercial, ‘All Evening Long’
(RB – soul/rhythm and blues; CW – country; stats from US Billboard charts)