Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

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Lionel Richie performing 'All Night Long (All Night)' at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, 12th August 1984. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1983, Lionel Richie released his second solo album, Can’t Slow Down. That’s the perfect description for his entire career. The man simply loves music so much, there’s no slowing him down, not even in his 70s. He’s still performing, as well as helping to cultivate the next generation of talent on American Idol.

Born in Alabama, Lionel Richie didn’t set out for a career in music. He attended Tuskegee University in his hometown on a tennis scholarship. Richie graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and considered studying divinity to become a priest in the Episcopal Church. However, he had been playing in R&B groups while in college and eventually became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores in 1968. The rest is history.

After putting out a string of memorable hits with the Commodores in the 1970s and early-’80s, Lionel Richie left the group to launch a solo career in 1982. He was successful right from the start. Two of his singles, “All Night Long (All Night)” and “Hello” topped the charts all over the world. He remains extremely popular in various Arab nations, including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Libya.

Lionel Richie’s 1986 video for “Dancing on the Ceiling” includes a bit of Hollywood magic. The ceiling dancing was made possible by a rotating room. Director Stanley Donen used the same technique in his 1951 film Royal Wedding, which starred Fred Astaire. Donen said that Lionel adapted to the rotating room more quickly than Astaire had. According to Billboard, the production cost somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000, making it the most expensive short form music video at the time.

  • All Night Long (All Night) (1983)

  • Hello (1984)

  • Dancing on the Ceiling (1986)