Lionel Richie Laughs About the Video for His Classic Hit ‘Hello’ (Remember That Sculpture?)

Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Lionel Richie at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 3, 1984.

Lionel Richie's "Hello" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks beginning May 12, helped along by a much-derided video in which a blind woman sculpts an amateurish bust of the singer. "It was going to be a story about someone seeing someone else across the room and falling in love. Then [director] Bob Giraldi came along and took the seeing part out," says Richie. "When I saw the bust, I said, 'Bob, it doesn't look like me.' He said, 'We'll talk about it later.'

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"We filmed one segment. I went back and said, 'You really have to take a look at this.' We filmed the second segment, and here comes the third, where I had to shoot with the bust. Again, I said, 'Bob, it doesn't look like me.' Bob turned to me and said, 'Lionel, she's blind. End of subject.' In other words, if she got a perfect look, what kind of exceptional person is this? It's got to look a little skewed and off. But it worried me to death to stand next to this bust. I'm going, 'Oh, my God, I hope the world doesn't see me looking like this.'"

An edited version of this article first appeared in the Nov. 1 issue of Billboard.