Lionel Brockman Richie (born June 20, 1949), is an American singer-songwriter and record producer who has sold (solo or as group member) more than 100 million records.
In 1968 he became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. The Commodores then became established as a popular soul group. Their first several albums had a danceable, funky sound, as in such tracks as "Machine Gun" and "Brick House." Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as "Easy," "Three Times a Lady," "Still," and the tragic breakup ballad "Sail On."
He composed "Lady" for Kenny Rogers, which hit #1 in 1980, and produced Rogers's album “Share Your Love” the following year.
He left the Commodores and released “Lionel Richie” his debut solo album on Motown Records. The first single, "Truly", topped the Billboard Hot 100. Follow-up single "You Are" reached #4, and "My Love" reached #5. The album hit #3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. His 1983 follow-up album, “Can't Slow Down,” sold over twice as many copies and won two Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year. The album contained the #1 hit "All Night Long."
Several more Top 10 hits followed, the most successful of which was the ballad "Hello" (1984). Richie had three more Top Ten hits in 1984, "Stuck on You" (#3), "Running With the Night" (#7) and "Penny Lover" (#8).
In 1985 Richie wrote and performed a suitably soothing theme song, "Say You, Say Me," for the film “White Nights,” winning an Oscar for his efforts as well as reaching #1 on the U.S. charts and staying there for four weeks, making it the #1 song of 1985 according to Billboard's year-end Hot 100 chart.
In 1986, Richie released “Dancing on the Ceiling,” his last widely popular album, which produced a run of US and UK hits including "Say You, Say Me" (U.S. #1), "Dancing on the Ceiling" (U.S. #2), "Ballerina Girl" (U.S. #7), and "Se La" (U.S. #20), Richie's most recent U.S. Pop Top Twenty hit. Richie's albums in the 1990s such as “Louder Than Words” and “Time” failed to match the commercial success of his earlier work.
Some of his recent albums, such as “Renaissance,” have returned to his older style and achieved success in Europe but only modest notice in the United States.
To date Richie has sold 48 million albums world-wide.