The legendary singer and multi-talent Lionel Richie was going to tour Germany and countless other countries last year. Thanks to Corona, he will have to mesmerize people a bit later, in 2022.
Berlin, May 29th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Lionel Richie is the guy who raises funds for the fight against breast cancer, he cooperates with Prince Charles in other charities, and he fills halls more than fifty years after beginning his musical career. He is also a former tennis crack, and – believe it or not – an economist. One thing is certain: There is only one Lionel Richie.
‘Machine Gun’ on Soul Train
But, as usual, the story starts at the beginning. In the mid-1960s, many of us were not born or even conceived. But one man was already busy founding Soul bands after deciding he was not the right guy to become a priest. In 1968, even before the late Maurice White founded Earth, Wind & Fire, The Commodores were born, thanks to Lionel Richie.
The latter band name does not only stand for a lot of success, but also for sophisticated Funk tunes like ‘Machine Gun’ or hits that would fill any dance floor at any location in the world immediately, including ‘Brick House’. In 1974, The Commodores followed an invitation from the late Donald Cortez Cornelius to make people dance on his Soul Train show. And they did.
A saxophone player, singer and composer by the name of Lionel Richie can be seen playing the keyboard on the video recorded that night. He has hardly changed since that day, even though he is 71 years old by now. Yes, it is safe to say that Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. is a Funk hero. But yet another gift would become evident a few years later.
Path to Success
There he was, in 1977, in the center of the stage and accompanied by the rest of The Commodores, singing ‘Easy’, a wonderful Soul ballad. Lionel Richie turned out to be just the right man for songs of this kind. The fact that he loved doing what he was doing at that moment could be seen and felt. He had found his calling, and the path to even more success.
It happened in 1982. None other than Lionel Richie released his self-titled, first solo album. It contained ‘Truly’ and other convincing Soul and Pop ballads. Just a year later, ‘Can’t Slow Down’, the second album hit the record stores and radio station playlists. Hardly any Black American artist, maybe with the exception of Whitney Houston or Sade, was played on Pop stations as much as he was.
‘Love Will Find a Way’, a song he wrote in cooperation with Greg Phillinganes, is one of the most brilliant ones from the 1983 album. Another would be the Funk hit ‘All Night Long’.
“Well, my friends, the time has come” for a tiny side-story connected to this tune. In late 2019, Jacob Collier, a young genius multi-instrumentalist, delivered a stunning cover version of ‘All Night Long’ in cooperation with the a-cappella group Take Six (see video clip above). That interpretation included strings, Brazilian rhythms and a gazillion other surprises. But let’s not get carried away too much on this one.
Warning: The word ‘Grammy’ is about to be used in this paragraph. The only problem ‘Can’t Slow Down’ posed was explained in its title. Because Lionel Richie really could not slow down, he blocked himself at the Grammy Awards. In 1983, when this album came out, he was still being honored for the last one. ‘Truly’ got him his first actual Grammy.
Two years later, in 1984, it was finally time for ‘Can’t Slow Down’. ‘All Night Long’ was nominated for a Grammy. So were the three producers, namely James Carmichael, David Foster and Lionel Richie. In order to make sure they would get that Grammy, they actually repeated the same nomination in 1985, when Richie also received the Grammy for ‘Album of the Year’. You did not follow the part about the last Grammy mentioned? Don’t worry. Neither did we.
Besides, ‘Hello’, a rather cheesy tune which satisfied Lionel Richie’s Pop fans a whole lot more than his Soul fans, was nominated in 1985. In total, Richie was nominated for Grammys 15 times. He got four of those awards. The fourth one was given to him for ‘We Are the World’, a charity song he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. The single produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian sold 20 million times.
Coming to Europe
Let’s not even mention the BET Awards, that Billboard Music Award he got, those American Music Awards, the Golden Globe and the Academy Award he got for ‘Say You, Say Me’, another cheesy one, which was part of the 1986 motion picture ‘White Nights’. The latter featured the late tap dance master Gregory Hines and the Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. But we are getting carried away again.
It gets even better: He is coming. No, not Godot and not Baryshnikov, but Lionel Richie. Let’s stay focused here. Yes, he is coming to Europe. The whole thing was supposed to happen in the summer of 2020. Mr. Corona is to blame for the tour’s postponement by two years. But the main thing is: He will be in Europe, and right here in Germany. “Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?” Yes, Sir.
His newly organized European tour commences on June 2nd, 2022, in Cardiff. Dublin, Belfast and London are next. Lionel Richie and his group will also raise roofs in Nottingham, Cornwall, Warminster and Oxfordshire. Get those Kleenex tissues ready!
‘Hello’ in Berlin
Then, none other than the man with that silky voice is scheduled to cross the border into Germany, where he has many fans. June 22nd, 2022, is the big day on which the man himself will “do” Wiesbaden. His Leipzig gig will be happening on June 24th. On the 25th and 27th, Lionel Richie will perform in Germany’s two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg. Bonn is next, on the 30th. Munich and Ludwigsburg are listed on the touring plan in July. So is Klam in Austria. In between, Richie will be back in the United Kingdom, in The Netherlands and Spain.