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New Mexican (Newspaper) - January 12, 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico whom he still sees on yearly visits back home taught him to play the piano I would memorize the Richie says He never became fluent in reading or writing mu sic Today he hums his melodies into a tape recorder and then roughs out the song on paper When I reached college I was hoping to continue my mu sic training by learning the saxo phone You see back in the 60s playing piano was not cool It had to be drums or trumpets or the sax I guess I wasnt doing anything right I was too light to play football too short to play basketball too slow to tun track And I was certainly not a ladies man I was terrified of asking a girl for a date Anyway a group of guys saw me carrying the sax around cam pus and asked if I wanted to join them in the freshman talent show It couldnt have been more 81 IV H Ml ft va M Cl Si wi Bl r ra Si Cover photo by Francesco ScavuJto Or more successful Known as the Commodores the group would later have four gold and three platinum albums thanks to Richiepenned hits like Three Times a Lady 1978 and Still By the time Richie reached his senior college year the economics major was mak ing in the mid five He quit before graduating but later earned his degree Richies success doesnt sur priseJimmie King his adviserat college He was always very friendly with lots of says King a professor in Tuskegees business school He had a sense of purpose about him He knew what he wanted to In 1980 with the Commo dores ready to embark on their annual world tour Richie re ceived a surprise call from Ken ny Rogers asking him to write a song for him He first turned the offer down but the Commo By Lym GoWsrreft OTEK T All BECAft Hctfe carter jefed tte Tbek big break caw vta tfcey towed as Ofttfeg act for the Jacksw 5 High notes for the hit man Hot off presses Lionel Richies third solo al bum out this month already has a No 1 hit single in its title song Say You Say Me which also is the theme song of the film White Nights His second solo album Cant StonDcnvn is the biggest seller in the history of Motown Re cords 10 million in tfie 15 million world His first album Lionel Richie is towns third biggesC seljing million copies r dores drummer was in a minor motorcycle accident This de layed their tour and allowed Ri chie to quickly write Lady Ken ny Rogers greatest single hit with 6 million copies sold Less than a year later Richie wrote Endless Love a movie title song and No 1 hit that he sang with Diana Ross Increasingly the Commo dores were working in Richies shadow With Lady and End less Love both topping the charts the Commodores were losing respect We played the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and the headlines would read Richie a Hit at the Greek Had I stayed with the group it would have completely de stroyed our While the Commodores arent commenting now thev have complained Richie kept them on hold while going off on his own Group member Wil liam King has said Richie wouldnt commit himself either to leaving the group or return ing so they finally kicked him out I just hope he realizes the price the band paid so he could be a King said Richies response I reiterate it would have completely de stroyed my relationship with the individual members of the band to stay with the Breaking away also gave Ri chie a chance to try the range of musical styles hes experiment ing with on Say You Sav Me Im joined by Eric Clapton on one cut and Alabama on anoth er Were talking He may even branch out into a film career I want to do a movie but youve got to do it Richie has written a No I single in eacrfof the past eight years This tiesr him with Paul McCartney as The composer with the longest string of No7 1 singles Cole Porter had only seven years in a row By yean mSafYou Say Me and We Are theWorld cowritten with Michael Jackson 1985 Hello 1984 All Night Long 1983 Truly 1982 U Endless Love sting with Piana Ross 1981 MLody written by Richie sungljy Kenny Rogers 1980 sung with the Com modores 1979 Three Times a Ladv with the Commodores nM UM WNKT Richie a 21time Grammy nominee has won three of the awards He won best pop male vocal performance for Truly in 1982 Cant Stow Down was named tfie album of the vear in 1984 and Richie shared produc er of the year honors with James Anthony CarmichaeL From 197984 he won the MCKEt AND HIS ROdt Rteie sajs it Helps ttat rife BreriaSrae before the Tfay set is bis senior her freslmaa year at Taskegee he says Its not a game Actors are professionals and I dont want to be flip about my own ability Id start out slow Cher did it His social life is as varied as his work While Im friends with artists like Quincy Jones and Michael the key is to stabilize myself with good friends Ive known since child hood like those guys I brought to the Theres one other Richie sta biiizer that fights against such egoinflating events as the rush of receiving a phone call from Q Quincy Jones asking me to come over and help Spielberg and him with a song for The Col or Purple the new film During college I stayed at an offcampus apartment that was actually part of my grandmoth ers basement Later I went back bought the house and left my college room intacL You walk in and it is 1968 com plete with textbooks Jimi Hen drix posters fluorescent lights Once a year I go back to that little room close the door and remember exactly where Lionel Richie came from It puts my life of today the cellular phones and the security and peo ple always coming at you in perspective It is my own sober ing museum that keeps my head at the right Q Peoples Choice Award for best song In 985 he won six Amer ican Music Awards A Richies first sok tour in 1984 sold out a full week at New York Citys Radio City Music Hall and another week at Los Angeles Universal Amphi theater within a few days Vxteorictory His ballad Hello was ranked No 2 on MTVs countdown at a time when MTV was not showing the video at all The songs popularity forced MTV to play the video A pop star His million ad contract with Pepsi outstrips all others including the S5 million snagged by the Jacksons Its Kenny Rogers who says Working with him in the stu dio was one of the most excit ing creative experiences Ive ever had As an artist he is an inspiration but his humility as a person and generosity as a friend are even more valuable Richie produced Rogers album Share Your Lave which sold more than 5 million copies Q USA WEEKENDJANUARY 1012 19865
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