Lionel Brockman Richie was born on June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama. He grew up in the Tuskegee Institute campus where his parents and grandparents had been working. During his study at the local college, Lionel joined The Commodores, a band that gained a momentum in the late seventies. As a member of this formation, he played saxophone, performed backing vocals and co-wrote some songs. Although, The Commodores had developed friendly relations inside the group, Richie had to quit. This happened after he succeeded significantly as a producer and author of several big hits by the outside performers, which made him the most interesting person for the press compared to the rest of The Commodores.
Since that moment, Lionel has been working as a sole artist. He decided to stay with the Motown label, a long time partner of The Commodores. He released his first album, Lionel Richie, in 1982 to make a huge step forward. The record ranked third in the pop charts and sold a million copies. It had three songs, including one of the artist’s most famous tracks Truly, in Top 5. The follow-up Can't Slow Down made him an even bigger star. It featured as many as five tracks to enter Top 10. Two of them, All Night Long (All Night), and Hello, became number one hits. Eventually, this studio work was distributed to an amount of nine million CDs and received Grammy’84 as Best Album of the Year. Richie’s reputation earned him an invitation to perform at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984.
In 1985, Lionel Richie joined Michael Jackson to participate in the grand charity project USA for Africa. Their single We Are the World raised millions of dollars to battle famine in the African countries. In a short while, Richie came back to the tops of the charts with the ballad Say You, Say Me, recorded for White Nights, yet not featured on the official soundtrack. 1986 saw the artist release one more studio work, Dancing on the Ceiling. Although it did not match the results of the previous albums, the new record also had considerable sales. However, Lionel’s uncontrolled deviation towards slow tempo songs hindered his growth as a musician. In 1987, he unexpectedly decided to take a break. First, he was exhausted after the decade of laborious and high-quality studio activity. Secondly, the moment of glory was the best time to quit. Richie broke the silence only in 1992 as he came up with the compilation Back to Front including both his own hits and some songs of the Commodores.
By the time of his next album issuance in 1996, Richie had gone through his father’s death and his marriage collapse. His new studio effort, Louder Than Words, was an attempt to adjust his style to the contemporary music tendencies. With a lot of borrowings from R&B, this long player hit Top 30 and became golden, yet having not a single big hit. The singer’s subsequent album, Time (1998), followed the stylistics of his early works, but was a charts outsider and turned into a commercial flop. Lionel delivered one more album, Renaissance, in 2000 to find good reviews in Europe. In 2004, having endured the divorce with his second wife, Richie released Just for You. The process of making Coming Home (2006) involved a number of celebrated performers from different genres of music. This album appeared Richie’s most successful release in the last ten years. The new record Just Go was released in 2009.