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Lionel Richie Named 2022 Icon At American Music Awards

Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie – Architectural Digest

Lionel Richie Receives Icon Award

Notorious Motown artist Lionel Richie receives the Icon Award at the 2022 American Music Awards. Richie hosted the Show in both 1984 and 1985, and will become the only artist to be featured on the AMAs stage in every decade since the show’s 1974 establishment.

Actually, the first recipient of the award was Rihanna in 2013. The Icon Award “honors an artist whose body of work has marked a global influence over the music industry” according to Billboard. Notably, Richie will be the second artist the receive the award.

The Commodores

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. rose to fame in the 1970s as a songwriter and co-lead singer of admired funk and soul band The Commodores. Some popular songs he’s wrote and performed with them include hit singles “Easy,” “Sail On,” and “Three Times a Lady.”

The singer-songwriter was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. A highly versatile musician, he was able to skillfully blend and perform multiple music styles, including: funk, soul, R&B, and country. He was born into a well-educated and musical family; his father was a U.S Army systems analyst, and his mother was a teacher and later a school principal.

Where The Music Began

As a matter of fact, his grandmother was a classic pianist. From her, he learned the fundamentals of music as well as great composers in classical music. He received his first saxophone from his uncle, who was a jazz band musician and arranger. Richie has admitted he gravitated most toward gospel music because he was interested in becoming a minister. However, he absorbed musical influences from multiple African American styles, as well as country music.

After graduating Joliet East High School in 1967, he went off to study economics and accounting at the Tuskegee Institute, where he joined a campus band, The Mystics. He joined as a saxophonist, composter, and occasional singer. Next in 1968, the Mystics became The Commodores, with Richie as a lead vocalist.

Lionel Richie
The Commodores and The Jackson Five

The group used their summer study break to explore performance opportunities in New York City. Actually, on arrival they were picked up by an agent, and subsequently booked into a number of notable nightclubs. The next summer, the group embarked on a European tour. Then, during one of their performances, the Motown Records Corporation noticed them and arranged for them to open for the Jackson 5’s American tour in 1971. From there, The Commodores flew.

From Group To Solo

Lionel Richie
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 17: Lionel Richie performs during his “Hello! Tour Hits” concert at Radio City Music Hall on July 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

In 1974, they signed with the Motown Label. Thus in 1978, the group recorded their first Billboard Hot 100 number one hit: ‘Three Times a Lady.” Further, Richie’s musical talents led to collaborations with other artists, such as country musician Kenny Rogers and pop-soul singer Diana Ross. As a result, his popularity precipitated his split from The Commodores, and in 1982 he released his solo album Lionel Richie.

‘All Night Long (All Night)’ Album Cover
‘All Night Long (All Night)’ Album Cover – Lionel Richie

Following, he released numerous number one hits on his own, including “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983), “Hello” (1984), and “Say You, Say Me” (1985). In 1985, he wrote “We Are the World” with the king of pop, Michael Jackson, to raise money for the African famine. The song raised over $50 million in donations and received a Grammy for song of the year.

Richie has become an icon, suitable label for his award. The 2022 American Music Awards will be airing live from the Microsoft Theater at L.A Live in Los Angeles. The date is Sunday, November 20th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Also, it will stream the next day on Hulu.

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