American popular singer, songwriter and producer, Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr., was born on June 20, 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Much admired for his soft and emotional love ballads from the 70s and 80s, Richie He is a highly versatile musician, who was able to perform, and skillfully combine, multiple musical styles, particularly funk, soul, rhythm and blues, and country.
Richie He was born into a well-educated musical family. His father was a systems analyst for the US Army, and his mother was a teacher and later became a school principal. For most of his childhood, Richie lived in his maternal grandparents’ home, practically on the campus of the historic Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). His grandmother was a classical pianist, and through her he learned the fundamentals of music, as well as the great composers of the classical tradition. His uncle, a musician and jazz arranger for great bands, gave him his first saxophone. Initially, Richie gravitated toward gospel music, largely because he was interested in becoming a minister, but he easily absorbed the musical influences of various popular African-American styles, as well as country music, that permeated the southern United States.
When he was young, Richie he moved with his family to Illinois, where he attended Joliet East High School. After graduating in 1967, he returned to Alabama to study economics and accounting at the Tuskegee Institute. During his first year there, he joined a campus band, the Mystics, as a saxophonist, composer, and occasionally singer. With some member changes in 1968, the Mystics became the funk and rhythm and blues group of The Commodores, with Richie as lead vocalist.
Encouraged by the strength of their local fans, the Commodores used their summer vacation to explore performance opportunities in New York City. When they got to town, they got an agent who got them gigs at several well-established nightclubs; the following summer they embarked on a European tour. During one of their performances, the group attracted the attention of a Motown Record Corporation executive, who arranged to open the American tour of pop music sensation, the Jackson 5 in 1971. With that commitment, the Commodores entered the mainstream. main of the musical scene of the moment.
In 1974, the year that Richie graduated from Tuskegee Institute with a BA in economics, the Commodores signed on with the Motown label. However, it wasn’t until 1978 that the group recorded their first Billboard Hot 100 number one hit: “Three times a lady“, a sentimental ballad in waltz time. The song was written and sung by Richie, who was inspired by his parents’ 37th wedding anniversary celebration. In 1979, the group scored another number one hit with Richie’s love song “StillAlthough they did release some moderately successful funk numbers, the Commodores were basically encouraged by the ballads of Richie, which generally combined instrumental country music sounds with melodies, rhythms, and blues.
The broad musical talent of Richie led to collaboration with other artists, including country musician Kenny Rogers, for whom he wrote and produced “Lady“in 1980, and the pop-soul singer Diana Ross, with whom he recorded”Endless love“in 1981. Such musical excursions accelerated the rapid rise in popularity of Richie and finally precipitated their separation from the Commodores. The album release Lionel richie In 1982, it marked the beginning of his solo career.
The following years were a whirlwind, with the release of numerous number one hits, including “All Night Long (All Night)“(1983),”Hello“(1984) and”Say you, say me”(1985) and two more albums: Can’t Slow Down (1983) and Dancing on the Ceiling (1986). Can’t Slow Down Not only did it win a Grammy Award for album of the year, it became one of Motown’s best-selling albums. In 1985 Richie wrote “We are the world“Featuring pop icon Michael Jackson to raise money for famine relief in Africa, the song generated about $ 50 million in donations and received a Grammy for song of the year.
After the success of Can’t Slow Down Y Dancing on the Ceiling, the production of Richie it slowed down and practically disappeared from the charts. A decade passed before recording Louder than Words (1996), a stylistically updated mix of smooth jazz, rhythm and blues and hip-hop. Although it was a success by market standards, the album was received less enthusiastically than previous works by Richie. For the next 15 years, the response to his albums was generally tepid.
In 2012, Richie He returned to the limelight with Tuskegee, a collection of his greatest hits relaunched as country duets and featured with Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Willie Nelson and other country music luminaries. In just a few weeks, the album reached number one on Billboard’s Top 200 and Country Music charts and eventually became one of the best-selling albums of the year. After a 2013-15 world tour, in 2016 Richie took up residence in Las Vegas. Two years later he became (with pop singer Katy Perry and country artist Luke Bryan) a judge for the television singing competition American Idol.
In addition to his Grammy Awards, other honors he received Richie include his inclusion in the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1994). He also received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2017.