Our Top 10 Lionel Richie songs article looks at one of the best selling artists of all time. He was particularly famous in the 80’s. He got his start in the music business when he was a member of the funk group The Commodores in the 70’s. They had numerous hits before Richie decided to become a solo artist in 1982. When he recorded the song “Endless Love” in 1981, it became one of the biggest hits at Motown Records. The success of the single inspired Richie to go solo. He took a risk going solo when he was in a well-known group, but he made it work. There aren’t that many singers who start off in a successful group and become bigger stars once they become solo artists. Richie beat the odds and became one of the most successful solo artists of all time.
The legendary singer recorded his first solo album in 1982. It was an eponymous album. He was still an active member of The Commodores while he recorded this album. He left the group after it was released. Richie struck gold with this album because it was a success. It made it to number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. It features the hit singles “Truly,” “You Are” and “My Love.” All three of these popular singles made it in the top five on the charts. The album sold over four million copies.
To prove that his success wasn’t a fluke, he began working on his follow up album Can’t Slow Down in 1983. This album sold over twice as many copies as his first album. This would go on to be one of his most successful albums of all time. The album reached number one on the charts and spent over three years on the charts. Every single from this album was a top 10 hit. Two of the singles even made it to number one. The hit singles are “All Night Long (All Night),” “Running with the Night,” “Hello,” “Stuck on You” and “Penny Lover.” This album went on to sell over 20 million copies.
He took a break from recording albums and wrote, “Say You, Say Me” for the movie White Nights. The song was number one on the charts and was number one for four weeks. He won an Academy Award for the hit song. It was the second biggest single by the end of 1986. In addition to writing, “Say You, Say Me” Richie collaborated with Michael Jackson to write the charity song “We Are the World.” The song became a huge hit. It sold over 20 million copies. It is one of the biggest selling singles of all time.
In 1986, Richie released his third hit album Dancing on the Ceiling. The album received positive reviews and made it to number one on the charts. The album features the singles “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Love Will Conquer All,” “Ballerina Girl,” “Deep River Woman” and “Se La.” The album went on to sell over four million copies. This was his last hit album from the 80’s.
He took a 10-year break from recording albums. He went through a lot of personal problems during his hiatus. In 1996, he released his fourth album Louder Than Words. The album received mixed reviews. The critics mostly liked his vocals and the ballads on the album. The album peaked at number 28 on the charts. The album features the singles “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” “Ordinary Girl,” “Still in Love” and “Climbing.” The album went gold.
He released his fifth album Time in 1998. The album didn’t match the success of his previous albums. The album peaked at a disappointing 152 on the charts. The album features the singles “Time,” “I Hear Your Voice” and “The Closest Thing to Heaven.” In 2000, Richie released his sixth album Renaissance. The album received mixed reviews. This was his most successful album since Dancing on the Ceiling in other countries. It features the singles “Angel,” “Cinderella” and “Don’t Stop the Music.” The album sold over one million copies worldwide.
In 2004, he released his seventh album Just for You. The album debuted at number 47 on the Billboard 200 charts and 22 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. The album features the singles “Just for You,” “Long, Long Way to Go” and “I Still Believe.” It sold over 200,000 copies. Richie released his eighth album Coming Home in 2006. The album received mixed reviews. He changed his sound to make more r&b and hip-hop friendly songs. It was one of his biggest hit albums since the 80’s. It debuted at number six on the charts. It sold 449,000 copies in its first week. It features the singles “Why,” “What You Are” and “Reason to Believe.” The album went on to sell more than 500,000 copies.
Richie released his ninth album Just Go in 2009. The album received positive reviews. It debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 and number nine on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. It debuted in the top 10 internationally. This was Richie’s fifth top 10 album on the r&b charts. The album features the singles “Good Morning,” “Just Go” and “I’m in Love.” It sold more than 95,000 copies.
Richie released his tenth album Tuskegee in 2012. This is a duet album of his previously released songs. He sang the duets with country singers. This was Richie’s third number one album since Dancing on the Ceiling. This was also his first album to sell more than one million copies since Dancing on the Ceiling. The album features the singles ‘Endless Love,” “Easy,” “Just for You,” “Stuck on You” and “Hello.” “Endless Love” was a top 20 hit single.
Lionel Richie has had a very successful solo career. He managed to have hits in every decade since he became a solo artist. He was so big at a point that his popularity could have rivaled such acts as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Prince, George Michael, Bruce Springsteen as well as other acts in the 80’s. Richie was determined to have the music world notice him among the other musical heavyweights who were out at the time. Richie has so many hit songs that it was a challenge to narrow it down to just 10 of them. This Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs list will be about some of his hit songs from the 80’s.
# 10 – Dancing on the Ceiling
The first song on our Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs list is the uniquely titled “Dancing on the Ceiling” from the hit album of the same name. This fun song has an up-tempo rock, pop and r&b sound. The song is about having fun. It could have easily been considered a novelty song because of its title, but it’s still a great song. It’s an uplifting song that will have you dancing. The synthesizer is addictive. The guitar riff gives the song a rock edge. You can tell he is having a good time with the song. The contagious song will stay in your head long after it’s done. The only minor issue with the song is he is lower than the music. He does a great job vocally considering the type of song it is. He uses soulful vocals for a pop song.
# 9 – Stuck on You
The next song on our Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs list is the country inspired love song “Stuck on You” from the amazing hit album Can’t Slow Down. This ballad has a country and pop sound. This beautiful song is a love song possibly dedicated to his wife at the time. This is his first attempt at country music and it works for him. This touching song proves that he can sing any song and make it work. This is completely different from his signature r&b songs because it strays away from his comfort zone. The music is soft and melodic and will have you hypnotized by the amazing beat. His vocals are smooth and velvety. He sounds similar to Kenny Rogers in this song. He convincingly sings this country song with ease. He is doing exactly what is required of the soft ballad without being showy.
# 8 – Say You, Say Me
This smooth ballad is from the fantastic pop friendly album Dancing on a Ceiling as well the soundtrack to the movie White Nights. This is a soft r&b ballad with an upbeat and danceable bridge. This melancholy song is about the pain of loneliness and the strength of friendship. Here is some trivia about the song. When Richie recorded this song, he wasn’t able to find a way to include the movie title so he wrote this instead. It sounds like “Easy” by the Commodores. This song was Richie’s comfort zone because it was one of his signature ballads. The music is enchanting. He took a chance by adding a rock beat in the middle of a ballad, but he pulled it off. It made the song sound different and unique. He is using the perfect tone for this type of music. He doesn’t hold notes or do any runs, but they weren’t needed for the song.
# 7 – Running with the Night
This up-tempo smash hit is from the enormously popular Can’t Slow Down album. It has a pop, rock and dance sound. This memorable song is about him having fun out on the town with the woman he loves. The lyrics are purposely vague, but sound poetic. You would have to pay attention to the lyrics and come up with your own interpretation of what the couple was doing while having fun. Steve Lukather from Toto plays the guitar solo. It is a blistering guitar riff that is almost comparable to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The baseline is impeccable. It has a thumping beat that will get you moving around. Richie’s vocals are on point once again. He blends perfectly with the music. He does runs towards the end of the song that are absolutely flawless.
# 6 – Truly
This devotional ballad is from his hit self-titled debut album. The romantic song has a pop and r&b sound. This song is about the love he has for the lady in his life. The song is stripped with just the piano chords. It made the song perfect for baby-making music. It sounds like something he would have done with The Commodores. In fact, it sounds like “Still” by The Commodores. His voice sounds tender and loving. He sounds velvety and pure. He vocalizes in the middle of the song. He holds impressive notes towards the end of the song. The only problem with the song is that it’s not long enough. It’s not a surprise that it was a big hit for him. It deserved to win a Grammy Award.
# 5 – You Are
This chivalrous song is also from the impressive self-titled debut album. This upbeat song has a pop and r&b sound. This song is a metaphor for the love he has for the woman he loves. He describes her as the sun and the rain. This song is perfect for men who want to impress the women in their lives. It starts off like a ballad and picks up the tempo by the chorus. After the chorus, the beat slows down. This happens throughout the song, which gives the song energy. It keeps it from being a sappy love song. The instrumentation is incredible and on point. Richie sings in time with the beat despite the different changes. He nails the soulful lyrics. The song is an earworm with a catchy and memorable chorus. He made the right decision by ending the song with the chorus because it was the best part of the song.
# 4 – All Night Long (All Night)
The next song on our Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs list is the fun and upbeat “All Night Long (All Night)” from the immensely popular Can’t Slow Down album. The up-tempo song has a calypso, disco and pop beat. It combines his style of music with the Commodores with a Caribbean beat. This party song is about having fun. The style of music was different for Richie. He didn’t sing songs with a Caribbean beat, but it works for the song. There is no way you can sit still while listening to this fantastic song. Richie sings the song with an accent to match the calypso music. It could have been a disaster because he doesn’t usually sing with an accent, but it wasn’t. He also adds African lyrics in the song, which may require you to read the lyrics in order to know what he is saying. Adding the lyrics gives people of other cultures a chance to enjoy the song.
# 3 – Hello
This charming song is another one from the impressive Can’t Slow Down album. This ballad has an r&b, pop and soft rock sound. This amazing song is about him watching a beautiful woman walk by that he was too shy to talk to. The music is soft and rhythmic and complimentary to the subject of the song. The piano chords are mesmerizing and sell the music. The musical pause is hypnotic and inviting. It gives you a chance to focus on the passionate music. Richie’s vocals are soft and smooth, which are excellent for the music. He manages not to make the song sound corny or sappy. He holds little notes towards the end of the song. The video of the song doesn’t do the song justice. The video was criticized because of him teaching a blind student how to sculpt. Don’t let that take away from the beauty of the song. Everything about this song is perfect and it deserves a spot on this list.
# 2 – Love Will Conquer All
This soulful ballad is the third single from the popular Dancing on the Ceiling album. This extravagant song has a pop and soul sound. The song is self-explanatory. It is simply about love overcoming everything. The music has a wonderful baseline. The song hooks you as soon as you hear Richie and Marva King who sings throughout the song. It isn’t billed as a duet, but it may as well be because she appears throughout the song. They have phenomenal vocal harmonies throughout the tune. King’s addition to the song makes it work. It’s hard to picture the song without her in it. Their voices have amazing vocal chemistry. His baritone vocals and her soprano vocals flow nicely together and sound harmonic with the music. Everything about this song is gorgeous. This song could have easily been number one on this list because it is that good. Unfortunately, another song took the number one title from this flawless gem.
# 1 – Endless Love ft. Diana Ross
We have come to the number one song on our Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs list. Coming in at number one is the amazing “Endless Love” from the movie of the same name. This outstanding ballad has an r&b sound. It is about them expressing their love for each other. The soulful violin and dramatic piano chords are stunning. They are the stars of the music. It was the best choice for the music for this love song. It is soft and romantic. Here is some trivia about the song. Richie was supposed to sing the song alone, but the director of the movie wanted a female to sing the song with him. The director wanted Ross to sing the song with him. Richie and Ross do an incredible job on the vocals. You can tell that they recorded the song together. Richie’s vocals are deep and smooth. Ross’ vocals are delightful. It’s hard to imagine them not singing the song together because it was a vocal marriage made in heaven. The song was covered three other times. Diana Ross recorded it alone. Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey recorded the song. Richie recorded the song with Shania Twain. Richie and Ross’ version is the best version of the song.
Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to republish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission.