All Night Long (All Night)
"Making a new record is always a mystery. It's an affirmation into the unknown. I'll never forget when I was with the Commodores. We were straight ahead R&B and the producers and record company expected that from us and that was that. In the middle of the disco craze, I sat down and wrote a song called 'Three Times A Lady' and they said I was out of my mind. I'll never forget a radio programmer looked me right in the eye and said, 'You are either the craziest man who ever lived, or the bravest, for releasing this song now.' I have never written with a specific sound in mind. When the song comes I just try and be ready." Lionel Richie
Grammy and Academy Award winning musician Lionel Richie first gained fame alongside his band the “Commodores,” with whom he had the smash hit ballads "Easy," "Still" and "Three Times a Lady," as well as the funky, driven dance-floor hits "Brick House," "Say Yeah," "Fancy Dancer," "Machine Gun" and "Too Hot Ta Trot.”
Richie began a solo career in 1982 and became one of the most successful male solo artists of the '80s while having sold over 100 million records. The musician, who has released eight studio albums and four hit compilations, dominated the pop charts with his #1 hit singles "Endless Love" (with Diana Ross; 1981), "Truly" (1982), "All Night Long (All Night)" (1983; performed the song at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games), "Hello" (1984) and "Say You, Say Me" (1985). He also co-wrote the famine relief song ‘We Are The World’ with Michael Jackson in 1993.
Richie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994 and received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in June 2003.
On a more personal front, the 5' 11" performer, the adoptive father of actress/musician Nicole Richie, has been married twice. He had a 17-year marriage with college sweetheart Brenda Harvey and a 9-year marriage with Diane Alexander, with whom he has two children.
Childhood and Family:
"Growing up, if you told me to go left, I would go right [laughs]. If you brought me into a room and said there's one door that I absolutely cannot open, that's the door I'm going to open." Lionel Richie
Son to Lionel Brockman Richie Sr. and Alberta Foster Richie, Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. was born on June 20, 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama, and grew up on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute, where most of his family had worked for two generations. His grandfather worked at the Institute with famed African-American educator Booker T. Washington.
Lionel's family moved to Illinois where he graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus, in Joliet. An accomplished tennis player at Joliet, he went to the Tuskegee Institute through a tennis scholarship and later graduated with a major in economics. At the Institute, he pledged Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. and is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.
On October 28, 1975, Lionel married college sweetheart Brenda Harvey-Richie (born on September 2, 1952) and they adopted a two-year-old daughter of people associated with Richie's band, Nicole Richie (actress, musician; born on September 21, 1981). Her godfather is famous musician Michael Jackson, with whom Lionel co-wrote the charity single “We Are the World” by USA for Africa (Lionel was also one of its performers).
Lionel and Brenda divorced on August 9, 1993, and two years later, on December 21, 1995, he married Diane Alexander, with whom he developed a relationship while separated from Brenda Harvey. They have two children, son Myles Brockman Richie (born on May 27, 1994) and daughter Sophia Richie (born August 26, 1998). Lionel and Brenda divorced in January 2004.
Lionel became a grandfather on January 13, 2008, when Nicole gave birth to daughter Harlow Winter Kate Madden, her first child with rocker boyfriend Joel Madden, frontman of the band Good Charlotte. On becoming a grandfather, Lionel said, "While it may take me a moment to adjust to being called granddad, I am extremely happy and proud of Nicole and Joel. Harlow Winter Kate Madden, the newest and most beautiful addition to the Richie clan, is a lucky little girl. She was surrounded by a great deal of love at that hospital as she entered the world. Nicole and Joel are going to be wonderful parents."
Once telling the crowd that his grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 80s but survived until she was 104 years old, Lionel has helped raised over $3.1 million for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and was the featured performer at the Foundation's Soirée Bouquet, the annual spring gala. He also performed at a benefit dinner for Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS in front of former President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in June 2002.
Can't Slow Down
Originally considering becoming an Episcopalian Priest, Lionel Richie turned to music while attending Tuskegee Institute, where he began forming R&B groups in the mid 1960's. In 1968, alongside several freshmen of the Institute, he formed the funk/soul band "Commodores," where he became the lead singer and saxophonist. They were signed by Atlantic Records before moving on to Motown Records and first caught the public eye as the opening act for the popular group “The Jackson 5.”
Richie and his band subsequently transformed into a popular group and are perhaps best known for their ballads "Easy," "Still" and "Three Times a Lady," as well as the funky, driven dance-floor hits "Brick House," "Say Yeah," "Fancy Dancer," "Machine Gun" and "Too Hot Ta Trot," most of which was written by Richie. By the late 1970s, he began working with other artists and composed Kenny Roger's 1980 #1 hit single “Lady” and produced Rogers' 1981 album "Share Your Love," as well as sang a duet with Diana Ross in the film "Endless Love.” The song “Endless Love” topped the charts and became one of Motown's biggest hits. “Endless Love” also received praise at the prestigious Academy Awards and earned a nomination for Best Music - Original Song.
By this time, the Commodores has released a handful of successful albums, including "Machine Gun" (1974), "Caught in the Act" (1975), "Movin' On" (1975), "Hot on the Tracks" (1976), "Commodores" (1977), "Commodores Live!" (1977), "Natural High" (1978), "Greatest Hits," "Midnight Magic" (1979), "Heroes" (1980), and "In The Pocket" (1981). Richie subsequently embarked on a solo career and released a self-titled debut album in 1982 under Motown Records, which hit #3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies.
He followed it up with his sophomore solo effort, "Can't Slow Down," which spawned the singles "All Night Long (All Night)," "Running with the Night," "Hello," "Stuck on You" and "Penny Lover." Released on October 11, 1983, the album proved to be a breakout solo piece of work for Richie. It stayed #1 on the Billboard album chart for three weeks and spent 59 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10 (including the whole year of 1984) and a total of 160 weeks (over three years) on the Billboard 200. Being the third best-selling album of 1984, the album was certified 10 times platinum and went on to win a Grammy Award for "Album of the Year" in 1985.
On August 12, 1986, Richie's third studio album, "Dancing on the Ceiling," hit the music stores. The widely popular album stayed for a total two weeks on the U.S. music charts and earned four times platinum status thanks to the singles "Say You, Say Me," "Dancing on the Ceiling," "Love Will Conquer All," "Ballerina Girl," "Deep River Woman" and "Se La." Meanwhile, the number "Say You, Say Me," which became a theme song for the film “White Nights” (1985; starring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Jerzy Skolimowski, Helen Mirren, and Isabella Rossellini), won an Academy Award for Best Music - Original Song and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Motion Picture. During this time, Richie also teamed up with King of Pop Michael Jackson for the charity single "We Are the World" by USA for Africa.
After being in the spotlight for a relatively long time, Richie withdrew from the music scene and spent time taking care of his father in Alabama, who would die in 1990.
Two years after his father's death, Richie returned to business by releasing his first greatest hits compilation album, "Back to Front," on May 5, 1992. It included the tracks "Dancing on the Ceiling" and "Stuck on You," as well as new singles "Do it to Me," "My Destiny" and "Love, Oh Love." It debuted at #1 on the U.K. Album Chart, where it received four times platinum certification. Richie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.
Richie made a comeback in 1996 with his 4th studio album, "Louder Than Words." Marking the first time he released an album in 10 years, the album, which spun off the singles "Don't Wanna Lose You," "Ordinary Girl" and "Still in Love," went to #28 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum.
"I didn't tour after 'Louder Than Words,' which was unusual for me. That album cleared the air a lot. It got rid of a lot of baggage. 'Time' was a healing record." Lionel Richie
The new millennium saw Richie release his first album with Island Records, "Renaissance," his 6th studio album that spun off the songs "Angel," "Don't Stop the Music," "Tender Heart," "I Forgot" and "Cinderella.” In 2002, he released two hits compilations, "Encore," his first live album that went Gold in the U.K., and "The Definitive Collection," which went platinum in the U.S. Meanwhile, his song "Running With the Night" was featured on the Rockstar North video game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" but it was eventually removed from later versions of the game. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 20, 2003, and composed the music for the Miss World 2004 pageant.
"Just for You," Richie's seventh studio album, hit the music shelves on May 4, 2004. With the power of the singles "Just for You," "Long Long Way to Go" and "I Still Believe," the album went Gold in the U.K. During this time, he appeared on "Canadian Idol" in 2004 as his songs were featured during a Canadian Idol week, and performed with Kenny Rogers on a CMT Crossroads special in November 2005.
His last studio album to date, "Coming Home," was released on September 12, 2006, and has become his biggest hit album since his 1986 album "Dancing on the Ceiling." It debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 and has earned Gold status in the U.S.
Meanwhile, he hosted and performed live on the British television show "An Audience with Lionel Richie" in December 2006 and his song “All Night Long” was featured in a 2006 television commercial for the energy drink Mountain Dew MDX. He also performed to a sold-out crowd at the 2006 Barbados Jazz Festival.
In 2007, Richie performed his 80s hit song "Hello" on the televised Grammy Awards show in February and made a surprise appearance on the "Australian Idol" grand finale in November where he performed "All Night Long" at the Sydney Opera House.
"I'm huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have the slightest idea." Lionel Richie
Richie is surprisingly wildly popular in countries such as Iraq and Burundi. He also has become a phenomenon in various Arab states and has performed in Morocco, Dubai (he performed a live concert at the Tennis Stadium/Aviation Club in Dubai in December 2005), Qatar and Libya.
ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Feature Film Standards, “Endless Love,” 1991, for the song “Endless Love”
Academy Awards: Best Music - Original Song, “White Nights,” 1986, for the song “Say You, Say Me”
Golden Globes: Best Original Song - Motion Picture, “White Nights,” 1986, for the song “Say You, Say Me”
Image: Special Award - Entertainer of the Year, 1989
Grammy: Album of the Year, “Can't Slow Down,” 1984