an American singer-songwriter and record producer who has sold (solo or as group member) more than 100 million records.
Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, Richie grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. His grandfather's house was across the street from the home of the president of the Institute. His family moved to Illinois where he graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus, in Joliet. A star tennis player in Joliet, he accepted a tennis scholarship at Tuskegee Institute and later graduated with a major in economics. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Tuskegee, Richie briefly attended graduate school at Auburn University. Lionel is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
As a student in Tuskegee, he formed a succession of R&B groups in the mid-1960s. In 1968 he became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. They signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968 for one record before moving on to Motown Records, being schooled as a support act to The Jackson 5. The Commodores became established as a popular soul group. Their first several albums had a danceable, funky sound with 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" and "Still" and the tragic break-up ballad, "Sail On."
By the late 1970s, he had begun to accept songwriting commissions from other artists. He composed "Lady" for Kenny Rogers, which hit #1 in 1980, and he produced Rogers' Share Your Love album the following year. Richie and Rogers have maintained a strong friendship in later years. Latin jazz composer and salsa romantica pioneer La Palabra enjoyed international success with his cover version of " Lady", which was played at Latin dance clubs. Also in 1981, Richie sang a duet with Diana Ross in the theme song for the film Endless Love. Issued as a single, the song topped the UK and U.S. pop music charts, and it became one of Motown's biggest hits. Its success encouraged Richie to branch out into a full-fledged solo career in 1982. He was replaced by Skyler Jett, who became the lead singer for The Commodores in 1983.
His debut album, Lionel Richie, produced another chart-topping single, "Truly", which continued the style of his ballads with the Commodores.
Can't Slow Down is the title of Lionel Richie's second solo album, which was released on October 11, 1983. The album reached #1 on the Billboard album chart on December 3, 1983, where it stayed for three weeks. It also 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. After being the third best-selling album of 1984, it went on to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1985 and sold over 20 million copies worldwide.
Can't Slow Down achieved the feat of having every single released hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Two songs, "Hello" and "All Night Long (All Night)", both went to #1. Other hits include "Stuck On You" (US #3), "Running With the Night" (US #7), and "Penny Lover" (US #8).
The single "Stuck on You" also reached #24 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart (now Hot Country Songs).
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