One of the most well known and popular singer songwriters of the 1980s and 90s, Lionel Richie has had numerous hits during a long and popular career including both as a solo artist and with the legendary group the Commodores.
In fact Ritchie was a founding member of the Commodores, which was one of the best R&B acts of the 1970s. It was in 1982 however that Ritchie decided to strike out on his own and his first solo album was a huge hit. One of the ballads from that album, the song Truly, went all the way up to number one and was his first Grammy award-winning song.
He followed that up with a string of others including Hello, Dancing on the Ceiling and more. Many believe that his popularity peaked in 1985 when, along with Michael Jackson, he co-wrote the song We Are The World. However, in 2012 Lionel enjoyed some renewed success on the charts with a country album, of all things, entitled Tuskegee.
Interestingly, as a young man Ritchie actually had dreams of becoming a priest but found that music was his true calling. As one of the founding members of R&B act the Commodores, Ritchie not only performed various vocals and wrote some songs, he also played saxophone. If you listen to those early albums it’s easy to pick out his voice on some of their hits including Three Times a Lady, Easy, and Brick House.
In 1980 Lionel already decided to become a solo act and, in 1981, had a huge hit with a duet he performed with Diana Ross called Endless Love. His first solo album, entitled simply Lionel Richie, was released in 1982 and didn’t take long to reach the top of the United States Billboard charts.
He won a Grammy for best album of the year in 1984 with Can’t Slow Down, an album that featured a number of hits including the dreamy ballad Hello and one of his most famous and most well-liked hits, All Night Long. In fact, at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, he performed that same song to a standing ovation.
In concert he’s a dynamic performer and, although he’s slowed down over the years, his voice is still wonderfully lush and thick and many of his songs still sound as fresh as they used to back in the 80s and 90s.