Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. (born June 20, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer.
Beginning in 1968, Richie was a member of the funk and soul band the Commodores. The Commodores became established as a popular soul group; their first several albums had a danceable, funky sound, as in such tracks as "Machine Gun" and "Brick House." Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as "Easy", "Three Times a Lady", "Still", and the tragic breakup ballad "Sail On". Richie then launched a solo career in 1982 and his 1982 debut solo album, Lionel Richie, contained three hit singles: the U.S. number-one song "Truly", which continued the style of his ballads with the Commodores and launched his career as one of the most successful balladeers of the 1980s, and the top five hits "You Are" and "My Love". The album hit No. 3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. His 1983 follow-up album, Can't Slow Down, sold over twice as many copies and won two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, propelling him into the first rank of international superstars. He also co-wrote the 1985 charity single "We Are the World" with Michael Jackson, which sold over 20 million copies.
Richie has sold over 90 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. He has won five Grammy Awards including Song of the Year in 1985 for "We Are the World" which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson, Album of the Year in 1984 for Can't Slow Down, Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 1984 and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Truly in 1982. Richie has also been nominated for two Golden Globe awards and won one. In 1982 he was nominated for Best Original Song for the film Endless Love. In 1986 he was nominated and won the award for Best Original Song for the song "Say You, Say Me", featured in the film White Nights. The song also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2016, Richie received the Songwriters Hall of Fame's highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award.
Richie receiving the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors
Lionel Brockman Richie Jr.
June 20, 1949
Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Children||3, including Nicole and Sofia|
|Parent(s)||Lionel Brockman Richie Sr.|
Alberta R. Foster
Richie graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus. A star tennis player in Joliet, he accepted a tennis scholarship to attend Tuskegee Institute, and dropped out of Tuskegee Institute after his sophomore year. Richie seriously considered studying divinity to become a priest in the Episcopal Church, but ultimately decided he was not "priest material" and decided to continue his musical career. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honor fraternity for band members, and an active life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
As a student in Tuskegee, Richie formed a succession of R&B groups in the mid-1960s. In 1968, he became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. They signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968 for one record before moving on to Motown Records initially as a support act to The Jackson 5. The Commodores then became established as a popular soul group. Their first several albums had a danceable, funky sound, as in such tracks as "Machine Gun" and "Brick House." Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as "Easy", "Three Times a Lady", "Still", and the tragic breakup ballad "Sail On".
By the late 1970s, Richie had begun to accept songwriting commissions from other artists. He composed "Lady" for Kenny Rogers, which hit No. 1 in 1980, and produced Rogers' album Share Your Love the following year. Richie and Rogers maintained a strong friendship in later years. Latin jazz composer and salsa romantica pioneer La Palabra enjoyed international success with his cover of "Lady," which was played at Latin dance clubs. Also in 1981 Richie sang the theme song for the film Endless Love, a duet with Diana Ross. Issued as a single, the song topped the Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and US pop music charts, and became one of Motown's biggest hits. Its success encouraged Richie to branch out into a full-fledged solo career in 1982. He was replaced as lead singer for the Commodores by Skyler Jett in 1983.
Richie's 1982 debut solo album, Lionel Richie, contained three hit singles: the U.S. number-one song "Truly", which continued the style of his ballads with the Commodores and launched his career as one of the most successful balladeers of the 1980s, and the top five hits "You Are" and "My Love". The album hit No. 3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. His 1983 follow-up album, Can't Slow Down, sold over twice as many copies and won two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, propelling him into the first rank of international superstars. The album contained the number-one hit "All Night Long" a Caribbean-flavored dance number that was promoted by a colorful music video produced by former Monkee Michael Nesmith. In 1984, Richie performed "All Night Long" at the closing ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Several more Top 10 hits followed, the most successful of which was the ballad "Hello" (1984), a sentimental love song that showed how far Richie had moved from his R&B roots. Richie had three more top ten hits in 1984, "Stuck on You" (#3), "Running with the Night" (#7) and "Penny Lover" (#8), as well as writing & producing "Missing You" for former labelmate and duet partner Diana Ross (#10 Pop, #1 R&B). In 1985, Richie wrote and performed "Say You, Say Me" for the film White Nights. The song won an Oscar for his efforts and reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts, staying there for four weeks, making it the number-two song of 1986 according to Billboard's Year-End Hot 100 chart, behind the charity single "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne and Friends. He also collaborated with Michael Jackson on the charity single "We Are the World" by USA for Africa, another number-one hit.
In 1986, Richie released Dancing on the Ceiling, his last widely popular album, which produced a run of five US and UK hits, "Say You, Say Me" (U.S. #1), "Dancing on the Ceiling" (U.S. #2), "Love Will Conquer All" (U.S. #9), "Ballerina Girl" (U.S. #7), and "Se La" (U.S. #20). He made his return to recording and performing following the release of his first greatest-hits collection, Back to Front, in 1992.
Since then, his ever-more-relaxed schedule has kept his recording and live work to a minimum. He broke the silence in 1996 with Louder Than Words, on which he resisted any change of style or the musical fashion-hopping of the past decade, sticking instead with his chosen path of well-crafted soul music, which in the intervening years has become known as contemporary R&B.
Richie's albums in the 1990s such as Louder Than Words and Time failed to match the commercial success of his earlier work. Some of his recent albums, such as Renaissance, have returned to his older style and achieved success in Europe but only modest notice in the United States. Since 2004, he has produced a total of six Top 40 singles in the UK.
Richie was the headliner at a 2006 Fourth of July tribute concert with Fantasia Barrino at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On May 7, 2006, Richie performed on the main stage (Acura Stage) at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, replacing Antoine "Fats" Domino, who had fallen ill. Richie released his eighth studio album titled "Coming Home" on September 12, 2006. The first single of the album was "I Call It Love" and was premiered in July 2006, becoming his biggest hit in the U.S. in ten years. The album was a big success for Richie in the United States, peaking at No. 6.
On May 2, 2008, Richie was the 21st recipient of the George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Achievement Award at UCLA's annual Spring Sing. In accepting the award, Richie said: "Forget about surviving 30 some odd years in the music business, Lionel Richie survived 27 years of Nicole Richie."
In May 2009, he announced that he would like to get The Commodores back together soon, "or in the next 10 years no one will care."
An album, Just Go, was released in 2009.
Richie returned to Australia in 2011 where he and guest artist Guy Sebastian toured the country and New Zealand with concert dates throughout March and April. Richie and Guy Sebastian have recorded Richie's 1983 number 1 single "All Night Long" together, to raise money for Australian floods and New Zealand earthquake relief. Richie handpicked Sebastian to support him in Australia and the pair will perform the song together at each concert.
On March 26, 2012, Richie released his tenth studio album, Tuskegee. It features 13 of his hit songs performed as duets with country stars including Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and Jimmy Buffett. In an interview with American Songwriter magazine, Richie stated "I'm just gonna stand next to them again with great country artists and hug them." After years of mediocre sales in the U.S., the album returned him to the top of the Billboard 200 chart, his first number one album there for more than 25 years, and achieved Platinum status within six weeks of release.
On June 7, 2013, Richie announced on NBC's The Today Show that he would launch "All the Hits All Night Long", his first North American tour in over a decade. The tour began on September 18 in Hollywood, Florida, and ended on October 18 in Los Angeles, California. Also in June 2013, Richie appeared in a television commercial for the Lion Nathan alcohol company to promote the "Tap King" draught beer product. Richie reportedly received A$1.5 million to appear in the promotional campaign that depicts the musician singing "Hello" at a piano, while the device rests on top of the instrument.
In May 2017, Lionel Richie was honored at Berklee College of Music during the 2017 Commencement Concert where graduating students performed a medley of his discography. Richie was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music.
On June 28, 2015, Richie played to an appreciative 100,000–120,000 audience at the Glastonbury Festival, England. His show was described as "triumphant" by the BBC and was followed by his return to the top of the UK albums chart with a reissued compilation album of his work as both a solo artist and with the Commodores. In September 2017, ABC announced that Richie would be a judge for the revival of American Idol.
On December 3, 2017, Lionel Richie received the Kennedy Center Honors.
In recent years, Richie has become a phenomenon in various Arab states, and has performed in Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Libya. John Berman for ABC News reported in 2006 that "Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name. 'I love Lionel Richie,' they say. They can sing an entire Lionel Richie song." Berman wrote that Richie said he was told that Iraqi civilians were playing "All Night Long" the night U.S. tanks invaded Baghdad. Richie was against the war, but says he could see a day when he would come and perform in Baghdad.
On October 18, 1975, Richie married his college sweetheart, Brenda Harvey. In 1983 the couple informally adopted Nicole Camille Escovedo, the two-year-old daughter of one of the members of Lionel's band, and niece of drummer Sheila E. They raised her as their daughter, Nicole Richie, and adopted her legally when she was nine years old.
In 1986, while still married to Harvey, Richie began a relationship with Diane Alexander. He would later separate from Harvey, who in 1988 allegedly discovered Richie and Alexander together in a Beverly Hills hotel room by saying she was "room service." In June 1988, Harvey was arrested and charged with corporal injury to a spouse, resisting arrest, trespassing, vandalism, battery, and disturbing the peace after she found Richie at Alexander's Beverly Hills apartment. Richie and Harvey divorced on August 9, 1993 after nearly 18 years of marriage. Richie married Diane Alexander on December 21, 1995. They have a son, Miles Brockman (born May 27, 1994), and a daughter, Sofia Richie (born August 24, 1998). The marriage ended in 2003.
On March 4, 2011, Richie appeared on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? The program did research into Lionel Richie's genealogy and found out that his maternal great-grandfather was the national leader of an early African-American fraternal organization. Notably, J. Louis Brown was:
[P]rincipal organizer and Supreme Grand Archon of the Knights of Wise Men, a fraternal organization for black men in the post-Civil War period. Formed in Nashville in 1879, it was a fraternal insurance and burial benefit society, as were so many others during the period.
Richie helped to raise over $3.1 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. He was the featured performer at the Foundation's Soirée Bouquet, the annual spring gala, in 2003.
Richie told the crowd that his grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 80s, but survived and lived until she was 103 years old. He stated that she was his enduring symbol of hope and his reason for becoming a breast cancer activist.
Richie has won four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year in 1985 for "We Are the World" which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson, Album of the Year in 1984 for Can't Slow Down, Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 1984 and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Truly in 1982.
Richie has been nominated for two Golden Globe awards and won one. In 1982 he was nominated for Best Original Song for the film Endless Love. In 1986 he was nominated and won the award for Best Original Song for the song "Say You, Say Me", featured in the film White Nights. This song also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
"All Night Long (All Night)" is a hit single by American singer-songwriter Lionel Richie from 1983. Taken from his second solo album, Can't Slow Down, it combined Richie's soulful Commodores style with Caribbean influences. This new, more dance music, pop-inspired approach proved popular, as the single reached number one on three Billboard charts (pop, R&B and adult contemporary). Richard Marx contributed backing vocals as an unknown until his 1987 debut album appeared.
In the UK, the song was kept off of the top spot by Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks.
The song lyrics were written primarily in English, but Richie has admitted in at least one press interview that "African" lyrics in the song, such as "Tom bo li de say de moi ya," and "Jambo jumbo," were in fact made-up gibberish of his own invention. Richie has described these portions of the song as a "wonderful joke," written when he discovered that he lacked the time to hire a translator to contribute the foreign-language lyrics he wished to include in the song.The song has achieved massive popularity in the Middle East, where Richie is as well known, if not more than in his native U.S. The Independent has referred to Richie as "a phenomenon" over the past decade or so in nations such as Iran or Iraq, with "Hello" also achieving much success.All the Hits Tour (Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey)
The All the Hits Tour was a 2017 summer concert tour by American singer-songwriter Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey. The tour was scheduled to begin on March 15, 2017, at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. The tour was delayed due to Richie's longer than expected recovery from a knee procedure and began in summer 2017.Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie album)
Can't Slow Down is the second solo studio album by American recording artist Lionel Richie. It was released on October 11, 1983 by Motown Records. It has sold over 20 million copies, and is Richie's best-selling album of all time. Five singles were released from Can't Slow Down, all of which hit the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including two that reached #1: "All Night Long (All Night)" and "Hello". The album also won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1985.Commodores
Commodores is an American funk/soul band, which was at its peak in the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. The members of the group met as mostly freshmen at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1968, and signed with Motown in November 1972, having first caught the public eye opening for the Jackson 5 while on tour.
The group's most successful period was in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Lionel Richie was the co-lead singer. The band's biggest hit singles are ballads such as "Easy", "Three Times a Lady", and "Nightshift"; and funky dance hits which include "Brick House", "Fancy Dancer", "Lady (You Bring Me Up)", and "Too Hot ta Trot". In 1986, the Commodores won their first Grammy for the song "Nightshift".Dancing on the Ceiling
Dancing on the Ceiling is the third solo studio album by American singer Lionel Richie, released on August 5, 1986. The album was originally to be titled Say You, Say Me, after the Academy Award-winning track of the same name, but it was renamed to a different track's title after Richie rewrote the album. The album was released to generally positive reviews and warm sales, peaking at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 and selling 4 million copies. Following the album's release Richie went on a long hiatus, releasing his first album of entirely new material ten years later.Dancing on the Ceiling (Lionel Richie song)
"Dancing on the Ceiling" is a song by American recording artist Lionel Richie. It was written by Richie, Mike Frenchik, and Carlos Rios for his third studio album of the same name (1986), while production was helmed by Richie and James Anthony Carmichael. Released as the album's leading single, it became a worldwide top ten hit, reaching the top five in Sweden, the United States, and the Flemish region of Belgium as well as peaking on the top spot on the national singles chart in Norway.Deep River Woman
"Deep River Woman" is a single written by American artist Lionel Richie and recorded by Richie with American country music group Alabama. It was released in December 1986 as the fourth single from Richie's album Dancing on the Ceiling. The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number 71 on the Hot 100.Endless Love (song)
"Endless Love" is a song written by Lionel Richie and originally recorded as a duet between Richie and fellow pop singer Diana Ross. In this ballad, the singers declare their "endless love" for one another. It was covered by R&B singer Luther Vandross with pop singer Mariah Carey and also by country music singer Shania Twain. Richie's friend (and sometimes co-worker) Kenny Rogers has also recorded the song. Billboard has named the original version as the greatest song duet of all-time.Hardcore Will Never Die, but You Will
Hardcore Will Never Die, but You Will is the seventh studio album by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai. It was released in the United Kingdom and Europe on 14 February 2011 by Rock Action Records, and in the United States on 15 February 2011 by Sub Pop.In October 2011, it was awarded a silver certification from the Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA), which indicated sales in excess of 20,000 copies throughout Europe.The album's cover art is a photo of New York City as seen from the Hudson River. The inspiration for the closing track's title, "You're Lionel Richie", comes from what a hungover Stuart Braithwaite said when he ran into the singer at an airport.Hello (Lionel Richie song)
"Hello" is a song by Lionel Richie. Taken as the third single from his second solo album Can't Slow Down, the song was released in 1984 and reached number one on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks), and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). The song also went to number one in the UK Singles Chart for six weeks. The song later inspired a lawsuit by songwriter Marjorie Hoffman White, who accused Richie of plagiarizing her composition "I'm Not Ready to Go".Just Go (Lionel Richie song)
"Just Go" is a single by Lionel Richie from his 2009 album Just Go. The song, a duet with Akon, was released on March 12, 2009 and - following its UK release - was described by noted R&B writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning 'Blues & Soul' as "a seductively tuneful single with a Caribbean-tinged lilt".Lionel Richie (album)
Lionel Richie is the eponymous debut solo studio album by American singer Lionel Richie, released on October 6, 1982, on Motown Records. It was recorded and released while Richie was still a member of the Commodores; he would leave the group shortly after the album's release. The first single from the album, "Truly", topped the Billboard Hot 100. Follow-up single "You Are" reached number four, and "My Love" reached number five. The album was also a hit, reaching number one on the Cashbox albums chart on December 11, 1982.In 2003, Lionel Richie was re-released as part of a remaster series that saw two additional tracks added: a solo version of "Endless Love" and an instrumental version of "You Are".
Eagles member Joe Walsh provided the guitar solo for the song "Wandering Stranger".Say You, Say Me
"Say You, Say Me" is a song written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the film White Nights, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines. The single hit number 1 in the US and on the R&B singles chart in December 1985. It became Richie's ninth number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The track is not available on the soundtrack album to the film, because Motown did not want Richie's first single since the Can't Slow Down album to appear on another record label. It finally appeared on the Dancing on the Ceiling album released in 1986.
The track won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song as well. A music video was also made for the song, with clips from White Nights randomly inserted into the video.
In 2008, the song was ranked at #74 of the top songs of all time on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, commemorating the first 50 years of the chart.Share Your Love
Share Your Love is the eleventh studio album by country singer Kenny Rogers, released in 1981. Produced by Lionel Richie, it is also Rogers' first with Liberty Records besides his Greatest Hits album. The album has sold nine million copies worldwide.Sofia Richie
Sofia Richie (born August 24, 1998) is an American model. She has been featured in campaigns by a number of major brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Chanel. She is the younger daughter of singer and songwriter Lionel Richie and adoptive sister to fashion designer and television personality Nicole Richie.Time (Lionel Richie album)
Time is the fifth studio album by Lionel Richie, released on June 23, 1998. It was a commercial disappointment and selling far fewer copies than any of his previous material.To Love a Woman
"To Love A Woman" is the sixth and final single to be released from Spanish singer-songwriter Enrique Iglesias' second English studio album, Escape. The song features vocals from Lionel Richie, however, the single is credited as Enrique being the guest artist. The song was written by Iglesias, Richie and Paul Barry, and was also featured on Richie's live album, Encore.Truly (song)
"Truly" is the title of the debut solo single by singer-songwriter Lionel Richie. Resuming where he left off with D-flat major tunes "Sail On" and particularly "Still" when he was lead for the Commodores, Richie wrote the song and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael.
Released as the first single from his self-titled debut album in 1982, "Truly" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 9 October 1982 and climbed to No. 1 on 27 November – 4 December 1982. It also spent four weeks at No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart, and logged nine weeks at No. 2 on the R&B chart, behind Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing". In addition, "Truly" made the Top 10 in United Kingdom, where the song peaked at No. 6. The song won a Grammy Award for Richie in the category Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.We Are the World 25 for Haiti
"We Are the World 25 for Haiti" is a charity single recorded by the supergroup Artists for Haiti in 2010. It is a remake of the 1985 hit song "We Are the World", which was written by American musicians Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and was recorded by USA for Africa to benefit famine relief in Africa. Initially, in late 2009, it had been suggested to Richie and Quincy Jones—producer of the original "We Are the World"—that a re-cut version of the song be re-released under the title "Live 25". Following the magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake in Haiti, which devastated the area and killed thousands of people, it was agreed that the song would be re-recorded by new artists, in the hope that it would reach a new generation and help benefit the people of Haiti.
The song was recorded in fourteen and a half hours by over eighty artists on February 1, 2010. It was produced by Quincy Jones, and executively produced by Lionel Richie, and Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean. A music video directed by Paul Haggis was released to accompany and promote the song. The song was also recorded in Spanish by a Latin supergroup and was named Somos el Mundo. The song was directed by Emilio Estefan and his wife, Gloria Estefan.
"We Are the World 25 for Haiti" is musically structured similar to "We Are the World", but includes a rap verse which was written by some of the song's hip hop artists. Michael Jackson died months before the song's release, but his material from the 1985 recording sessions was incorporated into the song and music video, as per the request of his mother, Katherine. His sister Janet duets with him on the song, and his nephews Taj, TJ, and Taryll—collectively known as 3T—feature on the track's chorus.
"We Are the World 25 for Haiti" was released on February 12, 2010, during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics, as a CD single and a music download. Critically, "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" received generally negative reviews by contemporary music reviewers, with criticism focused on the song's new musical additions, as well as the choice of artists who appear on the track. However, the song was commercially successful worldwide, charting within the top 20 in multiple countries.