He’s a five-time Grammy award nominee. He’s collaborated with some of the greatest names in soul and pop. He’s received the highest honor possible from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s the front man of one of R&B greatest bands and a phenomenon in his own right. He’s Lionel Richie, and he’s got what you need to grove all night long.
Richie is an icon with a voice like butter. He ran the ’70s and ’80s, but his music continues to inspire and intrigue music lovers of all ages. Today, we at Billboard Dance celebrate the legacy of the smooth-crooning Commodore by taking a look at his best and biggest hits behind the mic. Which one is your favorite?
Commodores – “Brick House”
One of the most memorable basslines in funk history came from pure spontaneity. If it wasn’t for some broken down recording equipment, the Commodores’ Ronald LaPread would have never started jamming on his four string and given birth to the heart and soul of this absolute anthem. Kids young and old get down to this at the drop of a hat.
Commodores – “Easy”
Has a song ever been more perfectly named than this 1977 hit? It’s calm and gentle like a summer breeze, cool and refreshing like an icy sweet. Released by Motown on the Commodore’s fifth studio album, Richie wrote the slow ballad as an alternative to the often mellow-dramatic tale of a romance ended. Sometimes, it’s just the right thing to do.
Commodores – “Three Times A Lady”
From 1978’s Natural High, this soulful romantic ode is sure to seal the deal with your sweetie any night of the week. The story behind the lyrics could not be sweeter. Richie said he was inspired by his father’s constant doting on his mother. He’d say “I love you. I want you. I need you. Forever.” Three time, his lady.
Commodores – “Lady (You Bring Me Up)”
Love songs are best when written with the one you love, and this 1981 single was co-penned by Commodores co-founder William King and his wife Shirley. Let the special person in your life know you’ll life will never be the same and build a hot groove with this fan favorite.
USA For Africa – “We Are The World”
Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson wrote this charitable tune produced by Quincy Jones and released in March of 1985. “We Are The World” sold more than 20 million copies, raising more than $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US, proving that music does have the power to make a real difference.
Lionel Richie – “Dancin’ On The Ceiling”
A classic dose of over-the-top ’80s entertainment, this cut from Richie’s third solo album. It’s received plenty of hate in its day, but if you can’t let go of reason and stop making sense on the dance floor, why did you come to the party?
Lionel Richie – “Hello”
This tune from 1984 is timeless. Richie first came up with the iconic choral phrase, then built the song around it on the request of composer James Carmichael. Richie worried it was “cheesy,” but admits he fell in love with the song by the time it was finished. The music video that tells the tale of love through the veil of a blind artist has became a pop culture moment.
Lionel Richie – “All Night Long (All Night)”
“All Night Long (All Night” was Richie’s most successful solo single. Released in 1983, it’s the perfect blend of ’80s soft rock and R&B soul. It’s currently being embraced by the Arab community, giving new life to Richie’s career around the world, a phenomenon that stuns the singer himself.
Lionel Richie – “Endless Love” Feat. Diana Ross
While a later version featuring country artist Shania Twain was recorded and released in 1981, the original featuring the legendary Diana Ross remains a must-listen. Luther Vandross covered it, as did Kenny Rogers, further solidifying Richie’s career-spanning country connection.
Lionel Richie – “Can’t Slow Down”
The title track of Richie’s 1983 solo LP opens the album with delightful ’80s flair. Echoing drums and playful synthesizers open the door to a collection of funk that won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1985. “Can’t Slow Down” wasn’t an official single, but it is one of the must-haves in your Richie playlist collection.