Whilst Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop music, Lionel Richie’s has straddled the throne of Soul music for as long as many can remember. With every hit he released, Richie cemented his place in music royalty. Widely revered across the world, Richie has five Grammy Awards to his name and is a recipient of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award.
Lionel Richie’s Biography (Age)
Lionel Richie was born June 20, 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama, and attended Joliet Township High School from where he proceeded to Tuskegee Institute but later dropped out to pursue a career in music.
In the mid 60’s he and some friends formed the Commodores. As a member of the group, Lionel contributed vocals while also playing the piano and saxophone. Despite his great musical abilities, his greatest contribution was as a songwriter. In the 1970s, the Commodores were making inroads into the market and had successful tunes such as “Easy”, “Three Times a Lady”, “Still”, and “Sail On”.
His solo career took off in 1982, with his debut self-titled album. The lead single “Truly” proved to be a huge hit reaching the number one spot later in the year. What followed was a constant stream of chart-topping songs including the Latin-flavoured dance song “All Night Long (All Night)” in 1983 and the love songs “Hello” (1984) and “Say You, Say Me” (1985).
Lionel Richie released two more albums Can’t Slow Down and Dancing on the Ceiling. Alongside Micheal Jackson, Richie wrote, “We Are the World” in 1985 to raise money for famine relief initiatives in Africa. The song generated $50 million in donations and won Song of the Year at The Grammys.
During the years that followed, Richie failed to release songs with the frequency and quality of the ’80s. He recorded Louder than Words in 1996, In 2012 Richie released a collection of his greatest hits with performances with Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Willie Nelson among others. ABC announced in September 2017 that Lionel Richie would be a guest judge for the American Idol.
Lionel Richie was fortunate enough to be born into a family with a musical heritage. He spent a lot of time with his grandmother who was a classical pianist. His uncle was a big-band jazz musician who bought him his first saxophone.
His dad, Lionel Brockman Richie Sr was a U.S. Army systems analyst, while his mother Alberta was a teacher and later school head. Lionel has a sister named Deborah Richie.
While in high school, Lionel met Brenda Harvey and a romance blossomed. The pair got married in 1975. Their love went sour after a few years and issues of Lionel’s infidelity cropped up. In 1986, Lionel Richie began an extramarital affair with then-dancer Diane Alexander. He first met Diane at the 1984 Olympics closing ceremony where he performed his hit “All Night Long”. From there on, according to neighbors of Dianne, Lionel made a constant habit of sneaking in at night to see Dianne. At the heat of their affair, Dianne also made an appearance in his 1986 music video for the song “Dancing On The Ceiling.”
Apparently suspicious of her husband’s infidelity, Brenda found her way to Dianne’s apartment and met her husband in Dianne’s arms. An infuriated Brenda engaged the pair in a brawl, kicking Lionel in the stomach and pushing Dianne down, giving her a thorough battering. Lionel Richie was able to contact local police who came in to calm the situation, leading Brenda out in handcuffs.
Brenda Harvey-Richie was arrested for trespassing and booked on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse, disturbing the peace, vandalism, resisting arrest, and battery. She was finally released on a $5,000 bail.
After the much-publicized arrest, the marriage was surely over, They finalized their divorce in 1993. Two years later in 1995, Lionel Richie married Diane Alexander with whom he had two kids, a son named Miles Brockman (born May 27, 1994), and Sofia Richie (born August 24, 1998). Lionel’s marriage to Dianne lasted only eight years, they were divorced in 2003.
Lionel Richie’s Daughter
Lionel and Brenda adopted Nicole Camille Escovedo who was born in Berkeley, California to Peter Michael Escovedo, (a member of Richie’s band) and Karen Moss. At the age of three, her biological parents allowed Nicole to go live with the Richies’ because they felt they were in a better position to provide for her needs. At nine years old, Nicole was formally adopted by Lionel Richie and their wife, Brenda.
Nicole Richie also towed the part of showbiz, making a name for herself as an actress, author, fashion designer, and television personality. She is popular for her role in the Fox reality television series, The Simple Life.
Richie has had an illustrious career spanning over four decades including the first 14 years he spent with the Commodores. His debut album in 1982 had #1 hit single titled “Truly” and the album went on to sell over four million copies worldwide. His iconic hit “All Night Long” peaked at #1 on US music charts.
As a musician, Lionel Richie has sold over 90 million copies of his albums over the years and has a net worth in excess of $200 million. His Beverly Hills residence is a $25m edifices with 30 rooms, 17 bathrooms, and dozens of domestic staff.
A car enthusiast, Richie’s fleet includes some of the sleekest automobiles you’d ever find; a Ferrari Scaglietti, a Range Rover L322, a Porsche 930 amongst others.
For the years that Lionel Richie has graced our screen, he has done a good job of keeping himself in top shape. Richie stands at a height of 1.85 meters (6′ 1″). The veteran musician also weighs 69 kg.