June 20: The Legendary Lionel Richie Was Born On This Date In 1949

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By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Motown Records

Lionel Richie was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on June 20, 1949. He rose to prominence as a solo musician after being a part of the Commodores singing group.

Richie grew up in a Christian family. He previously pondered a career in the ministry. Instead, he attended Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, where he majored in economics. He joins fellow schoolmates to establish The Commodores, sharing songwriting and vocal tasks. He has a history of singing gospel in church and playing the saxophone. His ballads “Easy” and “Sail On” became among the band’s best songs.

In 1980, he wrote the lyrics to “Lady,” a number one smash for pop singer Kenny Rogers. The next year, he collaborates with Diana Ross on “Endless Love” – another song Richie penned. The Ross-performed song spent nine weeks at the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart. Richie’s solo voyage in the music industry started in 1982, which was the exact year he left The Commodores group.

Since then, Richie has forged a legendary path, which has made him one of the most celebrated and highest-selling musicians of all time. He is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Richie has won four Grammy Awards and has sold well over 100 million records throughout the course of his illustrious career.

Currently, the “Love Will Find a Way” performer is a judge for contestants on the American Idol reality TV show.

 

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