The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2021.
Lionel Richie, a native of Tuskegee, is an international music icon whose career has spanned decades and defied genres. With more than 125 million albums sold worldwide, Richie’s work is part of the fabric of pop music. He is known for his mega-hits such as “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Penny Lover,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” and “Dancing on the Ceiling.” Richie also co-wrote one of the most important pop songs in history, “We Are the World,” for USA for Africa.
Richie’s song catalog also includes his early work with the Commodores, where he developed a groundbreaking style, penning smashes such as “Three Times a Lady,” “Still,” and “Easy.” Richie wrote chart-topping songs for eleven consecutive years during the 1970s and 1980s.
He sold out arenas worldwide with a setlist of his anthems on his All the Hits, All Night Long concert tour (2013—2015). In recent years, he has headlined festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Glastonbury.
Richie has been a judge on ABC’s American Idol for the past four seasons and will return for the show’s landmark 20th season in spring 2022. He launched his Las Vegas headlining residency show, Lionel Richie—All the Hits, in April 2016. An unforgettable sold-out residency series, All the Hits took fans on a spectacular musical journey, featuring a variety of anthems that have defined the artist’s unparalleled career.
Richie’s latest album, Live from Las Vegas, his first release on Capitol Records, was released August 16, 2019, and was #1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart. His most recent tour, Hello, began in Summer 2019. Richie recently announced an extended 12-show series, Lionel Richie: Back to Las Vegas!, which will continue in early 2022.
Richie holds an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and four Grammy Awards. He was named the MusicCares Person of the Year in 2016 and Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017. In March 2018, Richie put his handprints and footprints in cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, one of the oldest awards in Hollywood. He recently received the Ivor Novello PRS for Music Special International Award.