Lionel Richie was born today (June 20, 1949). Check out some fun facts on the 64-year-old, legendary singer below:
1. Lionel Richie formed The Commodores with five freshmen classmates, while students at the Tuskegee Institute. The original name of the group was The Jays.
2. Lionel Richie’s album Can’t Slow Down became the best-selling album in the history of Motown after its release in 1983. It held the record until Boyz II Men’s 1994 album II was released.
3. Lionel Richie signed an $8 million contract with Pepsi-Cola in 1985, to composed and perform a theme for the soft drink giant’s advertising campaign.
4. Lionel Richie said he wrote his best songs during the hours of 11PM and 7 AM. “In other words, from about 11 to about 7 in the morning is a very wonderful time because as they say, God ain’t worried with too many other folks,” Richie said. “I know he is very busy during the day, so I wait for late night and it works for me.”
5. In 2003, Lionel’s wife Diane Richie filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. The singer’s a lavish lifestyle was exposed in the proceedings. “[Lionel Richie] has never had a problem earning money. I know that he earns in excess of $300,000 per month because we have always comfortably spent at least that in any given month,” Diane Richie said during the divorce. At the time, Lionel was living in a $40 million mansion. “We could comfortably afford to spend unlimited sums of money on everything and anything we chose. I had no limit on what I could spend.”
6. Lionel Richie was a star tennis player and received a tennis scholarship at Tuskegee Institute.
7. From 1981–1987, Lionel amassed 13 consecutive Top 10 hits, five of them #1’s.
8. Lionel Richie’s middle name is Brockman.
9. Lionel Richie co-wrote the song “We Are The World” for USA for Africa.
10. Lionel Richie wrote “Lady,” which was a massive hit for country singer Kenny Rogers in 1980.
Two for the road:
Lionel loves students. In 1986, he operated a program called “Lionel’s Superstudents,” which gave about 500,000 students the opportunity to attend and or meet him, depending on their grades, during his “Outrageous” tour.
Lionel still has juice. Just last year, his album Tuskegee was the year’s SECOND BEST SELLING ALBUM, moving over 789,000 copies. The only artist to out sell Lionel? Adele’s album 21.