On December 8, Motown/UMe will release three historic albums on vinyl from one of the most successful solo artists in Pop/R&B crossover history, Lionel Richie. This mega-platinum album triple-play — 1982’s Lionel Richie, 1983’s Can’t Slow Down, and 1985’s Dancing On The Ceiling — sealed the recent Kennedy Center Honoree’s legacy as one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the modern era, in the wake of his 1982 departure from the lineup of one of Motown’s biggest artists of the Seventies, the Commodores.
Lionel Richie’s singular blend of songwriting artistry and catchy, singalong hooks has long defied genre-labeling, propelling his mass appeal to fans of R&B, soul, pop and country alike, and leading to his amassing more than 100 million album sales to date. Over the course of these three albums, Richie garnered four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Truly,” “All Night Long (All Night),” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me”) and a dozen Top 10 singles overall on the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts alike.
Lionel Richie (1982) is the quadruple-platinum release that announced Richie was more than capable of connecting with millions of fans both new and old with his name appearing alone on the marquee. Alongside co-producer James Anthony Carmichael, whom he had previously worked with while in the Commodores, Richie crafted the template for his Eighties success via the emotional weight behind the chart-topping ballad “Truly,” the upbeat horn-driven accents on the chorus of “You Are,” and the overall vocal panache on “My Love,” which also featured background vocals from a favored collaborator, Kenny Rogers. (Richie wrote Rogers’s massive 1980 #1 crossover hit, “Lady.”)
Can’t Slow Down (1983) continued the Richie juggernaut, ultimately achieving Diamond status by selling more than 10 million copies. Again co-produced with Carmichael, Can’t Slow Down’s first #1 single, “All Night Long (All Night),” broadened Richie’s appeal with an undeniable Caribbean-flavored hook, while the heartfelt chart-topping piano ballad “Hello” also benefitted from an iconic video directed by Bob Giraldi. The infectiously grooving “Running With The Night” also sported an electrifying guitar solo by Toto’s Steve Lukather. Meanwhile, “Stuck On You” spotlighted the artist’s emerging country leanings that eventually peaked with his platinum-selling 2012 offering, Tuskegee. That album, named after the town in Alabama Richie was born in, featured 14 down-home reworkings of his hits as highlighted by collaborations with contemporary country artists including Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Kenny Chesney.
Dancing On The Ceiling (1985) completed Richie’s 1980s chart-success trifecta with Carmichael by his side in the co-producer’s chair, achieving quadruple-platinum status while also supplying another slew of major hits. The title track’s colorful, kinetic video contains an homage to Fred Astaire’s iconic ceiling-dancing moves in 1951’s Royal Wedding. “Love Will Conquer All” marked Richie’s tenth appearance at the top of the Adult Contemporary chart. And the #1 ballad “Say You, Say Me,” originally written for White Nights, a Cold War thriller starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, won Richie a well-deserved Academy Award® for Best Original Song.
Lionel Richie LIONEL RICHIE [1982, vinyl]
Serves You Right
Round And Round
You Mean More To Me
Just Put Some Love In Your Heart
Lionel Richie CAN’T SLOW DOWN [1983, vinyl]
Can’t Slow Down
All Night Long (All Night)
Stuck On You
Love Will Find A Way
The Only One
Running With The Night
Lionel Richie DANCING ON THE CEILING [1985, vinyl]
Dancing On The Ceiling
Deep River Woman
Love Will Conquer All
Tonight Will Be Alright
Say You, Say Me
Night Train (Smooth Alligator) [vinyl bonus track]