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.’
“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.