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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lionel Richie

As a freshman in high school in a much larger school in a new part of the state that I had never lived in I was a bit lost. It was with a great friend of mine and the music of Lionel Richie that made it all o.k. The songs that Richie sang were soothing songs full of love. I am sure that I was not the only one that felt the power of a Lionel Richie song.

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. was born June 20th , 1949. As an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer he sang funk and soul in both the band Commodore and also in a career of his own. He helped Michael Jacskon write the 1985 charity single "We Are The World" Richie also holds the record for selling over 90 million records worldwide. The five time Grammy Award winner Lionel Richie was inducted into the songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016 with the Johnny Mercer Award.

Lionel Richie was born in Tuskegee Alabama and grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. Richie has been a star tennis player in school and was awarded a scholarship to attend the Tuskegee Institute, Richie also had a strong urge to study divinity and become a priest but decided to stop attending school and instead concentrate on his own musical abilities. He was highly involved with Kappa Kappa Psi the national honor fraternity for band members

During the 1960s Richie formed several R&B groups. In 1968 Lionel became a singer and played sax with the Commodores. Around this time he began to write and sing romantic easy listening ballads such as "Lady"

During the 1970s Richie's songwriting gained attention of others. He was replaced as lead singer for the Commodores in 1983 Lionel Richie would debut with his solo album and have three hit singles. "Truly", "you Are" and "My Love" were the top hits His first album "Can't Slow Down" sold over twice as many copies and won two Grammy Awards. One of my favorite songs "All Night Long" was on one of his first albums. The song was used at the closing ceremonies during the Los Angels XXIII Olympic Games

Songs such as "Hello" a popular ballad in 1984, "Stuck on you" and "Penny Lover" were the beginning of his movement into 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.

"Dancing on the Ceiling" produced a run of five US and UK hits. For a time after that he disappeared but returned in 1992. Richie had a relaxed schedule with recordings and concerts and live work to minimum. Lionel Richie's albums failed to make a breakout and was dim compared to early work. Lionel Richie's music will forever live in my personal mind and heart.

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