Lionel Richie is a successful singer-songwriter, who has done extraordinarily well as both a member of the Commodores, and as a solo artist. Music fanatics like Tunde Folawiyo may recall that he was particularly popular during the eighties, with his fame eclipsed only by the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson. Between 1981 and 1987, 13 of Richie’s songs made it into the Top Ten Charts, and five of them reached number one. In total, over the course of his career, he has sold more than 100 million albums, won 16 American Music Awards and five Grammys.
Born in Alabama in 1949, Richie was raised in a home located on the Tuskegee Institute campus. His music career took off whilst he was at university, after he was asked to play the saxophone in a band known as the Mystics. This group -which was eventually renamed the Commodores – enjoyed a great deal of success throughout the seventies. During this time, Richie not only played the saxophone, but also provided vocals for several tracks, and wrote hits like ‘Three times a lady’, ‘Brick House’ and ‘Easy’.
Richie left the group in 1980, in order to launch his career as a solo artist. Within a year, he had a number one hit, entitled ‘Endless Love’. His album was released in 1982, and quickly climbed the Billboard charts in the US. One single, ‘Truly’ was particularly popular; this song made it to number one on the charts, and won Richie the title of ‘Best male Vocals’ at the Grammys.
His debut album was the first of many platinum plus records, and he continued to release hit singles, including the famous ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ in 1986 – this is a song which Tunde Folawiyo, and any other R&B fan, will be familiar with. Richie also collaborated with Michael Jackson, resulting in the classic song, ‘We are the world’.
Richie took a break from the music business the following year; after nearly twenty years of composing and performing, he was exhausted, and in desperate need of a rest. However, he returned to the studio and the stage in 1992, with a compilation album called ‘Back to Front’. He continued to write and perform over the next two decades, with his most recent tour having taken place last year. Entitled ‘All the Hits’, it brought him to music venues all over North America, the Middle East, Australia, Asia and Europe.
Although R&B is one of Folawiyo’s favourite genres, he is interested in many other styles of music too. You can follow Tunde Folawiyo on Google Plus to learn more about his taste in music.