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Lionel Richie

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. (born June 20, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of the funk and soul band the Commodores and then launched a solo career in 1982. He also co-wrote the 1985 charity single We Are the World with Michael Jackson, which sold over 20 million copies.[3] Richie has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the worlds best-selling artists of all time. He is also a five-time Grammy Award winner.[4] In 2016, Richie received the Songwriters Hall of Fames highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award.[5]

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, the son of Alberta R. (Foster) and Lionel Brockman Richie, Sr.[6] He grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute.[7]

Richie graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus. A star tennis player in Joliet, he accepted a tennis scholarship to attend Tuskegee Institute, and dropped out of Tuskegee Institute after his sophomore year. Richie seriously considered studying divinity to become a priest with the Episcopal Church, but ultimately decided he was not priest material and decided to continue his musical career.[8] He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honor fraternity for band members,[9] and an active life member of Alpha Phi Alpha [10] [11] Fraternity.

As a student in Tuskegee, Richie formed a succession of R&B groups in the mid-1960s. In 1968, he became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. They signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968 for one record before moving on to Motown Records initially as a support act to The Jackson 5. The Commodores then became established as a popular soul group. Their first several albums had a danceable, funky sound, as in such tracks as Machine Gun and Brick House. Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as Easy, Three Times a Lady, Still, and the tragic breakup ballad Sail On.

By the late 1970s, Richie had begun to

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