Lionel Richie: interesting facts about the musician

The most interesting facts about Lionel Richie that you might not know...

A selection of interesting facts about the musician and actor Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie is an American pop singer best known for his hit "All Night Long"! Together with Michael Jackson and Prince, he led the Olympus of world pop music in the first half of the 1980s ... With his velvety vocals, instantly recognizable hair and mustache, as well as many big hits (13 singles released by him in 1981-1987, hit the top ten on Billboard), Richie was one of the most loved and best-selling music artists of the decade!

Toward the end of the 80s, the popularity of this man began to fade: stadium rock and techno came into fashion, and sentimental ballads caused only an allergic reaction in the public ... And only in the second half of the 1990s did success return! Since then, Richie's fan base has not waned, and he is still regarded as one of the kings of the soft ballad. Today we're going to get to know some really fascinating facts about the pop legend that you might not have known!

He thought about becoming a priest before pursuing music

Lionel Richie...
Lionel Richie...

Born on June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama, the future musical superstar initially saw his career path as completely different: Lionel Richie dreamed of becoming a priest in the Episcopal Church ... Eventually, Richie realized that he was not meant for the priesthood, and decided to take up music. According to the musician himself, this occupation did not prevent him from remaining a religious person ...

In his youth he was a star tennis player

Lionel Richie...
Lionel Richie...

The passion for the priesthood has passed, however - Richie has a new passion: before entering the music business, he made a name for himself in high school as ... a tennis star! He will even study for a bachelor's degree in economics at the Tuskegee Institute on a tennis scholarship. However, at Tuskegee, Richie joined the student group that would become The Commodores, and his sportsmanship faded into the background (fortunately for his future fans and probably unfortunately for the sports world...)

The Commodores' music was much more fun than Richie's solo records.

Lionel Richie.
Lionel Richie.

Ritchie's first band, The Commodores, formed in 1968. For those who only know Ritchie from his gentle solo recordings, this early music may come as a bit of a surprise as the band specialized in much more energetic and funky music... For proof, listen to "Machine Gun", the instrumental title track of their 1974 debut album:

Ritchie recorded nine albums with The Commodores before leaving to become a solo artist in 1982. The group continued to work without him and recorded five more albums, only with different lineups.

He made his film debut with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston

Shot from the film "The Preacher's Wife"
Shot from the film "The Preacher's Wife"

Although this man is primarily known as a singer-songwriter, Richie has also tried his hand at acting. He made his film debut in 1996 in The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington and his colleague, who also became a wonderful actress, the irresistible Whitney Houston ... As for The Preacher's Wife, Richie would later say:

"I was a deer in the headlights..."

He won an Oscar for "Say You, Say Me"

It might not surprise you that Lionel Richie won four Grammy Awards (including the 1985 Song of the Year award for the charity album We Are the World), but did you know that he also won an Oscar? Yes, Richie won this prestigious award for Best Original Song! We are now talking about the composition "Say You, Say Me", which was recorded specifically for the 1985 drama "White Nights".

"Say You, Say Me" also earned Ritchie his second Golden Globe nomination in the Best Original Song category.

It's so popular in the Middle East that "Dancing on the Ceiling" has become an Iraqi fight song.

Lionel Richie is not only loved by the Western public, but also hugely popular in the Arab countries: he has performed in front of huge crowds in countries such as Libya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In an interview in 2012, Ritchie said:

“When the war broke out in Iraq, shopkeepers in Baghdad wanted Americans to know they were welcoming them. So they played 'Dancing on the Ceiling' all night long..."

His daughter Nicole was one of the first reality television superstars.

Nicole and Lionel Richie
Nicole and Lionel Richie

In 1984, Richie and his first wife, Brenda Harvey, became the legal guardians of Nicole Escovedo, whom the couple formally adopted in 1990. Nicole Richie became a celebrity in her own right on the television show The Simple Life, which aired on Fox on December 2, 2003 and was a huge success.

Later, Nicole starred in television series, and was also the face of the Jimmy Choo brand.

His ex-wife was arrested for violent behavior after she caught Richie with his mistress

Lionel Richie and his first wife Brenda Harvey
Lionel Richie and his first wife Brenda Harvey

Today, Lionel Richie may have a reputation for being one of the most down-to-earth and good guys in rock and roll! However… his life had its fair share of turbulent moments. So, once his first wife Brenda Harvey caught him cheating. After she found Richie in a hotel room with Diana Alexander, a violent quarrel ensued ... it came to a fight. Harvey was later arrested on charges of causing bodily harm to her husband, resisting arrest, trespassing, vandalism, battery and disturbing the peace. Shortly thereafter, she and Richie divorced, and Lionel married Diana: they too will divorce in 2004.

He was an American Idol judge

Musician Lionel Richie
Musician Lionel Richie

In 2017, Richie's career took on new life when he became one of the judges on the hit TV show American Idol. He is the latest in a long line of well-known music stars to take on the role.

They want to shoot a musical based on his songs

In 2020, it was announced that Disney was working on a movie titled All Night Long. Named after Richie's iconic 1982 hit single, the film is intended to be a "musical musical" built around the superstar's existing work...

It is known that Richie himself will be the producer of the film "All Night Long".

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