Lionel Richie is bringing his ‘All Hits All Night Long’ tour featuring Cee Lo Green to the Honda Center on June 3rd, so to give fans a little preview of the show, the man himself called in with Shotgun Tom Kelly this afternoon!
Before breaking out on a successful solo career, many fans of course know Lionel from his days as the lead singer in the hit group The Commodores. So what made him cut ties with his tenure in the group to break out on his own?
“That was a tough one, because what was happening with me – unbeknownst to me, I was having a ball writing these songs – the press was giving these answers like ‘right in the middle of the show, Lionel finally sat down to the piano and started playing his songs’…or they would say ‘what’s a guy like Lionel Richie doing in a funk band like The Commodores,” he explained. “Now try to go to rehearsal after that statement. It stated getting very rough and by the way, my heart went out to the guys.”
Lionel added that while the band was going through this lull, he released a string of No. 1 hits including “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Hello” and “Endless Love,” and from there “the game was over” with his time in the band.
As a veteran artist having celebrated 50+ years in music, over 100 million albums sold and over a dozen top 10 hits to his name, Lionel says he still enjoys the thrill of being on the road to this day.
“In life, man must first of all have someplace to go. Number two, he must have something he likes to do…I get to travel around the world and have a workout for two and a half hours and I actually have fun doing it,” he said. “It’s a hobby. It’s not a job.”
Having globe-trotted all around the world, Lionel says the most surprising place that’s embraced his music almost as much as the United States is in the Middle East.
“You can have every kind of cultural difference in the world, except one thing,’ he explained, noting that many couples in the Middle East even get married to his songs. “Everybody knows the songs [in the Middle East].”
He told us a wild story of how the two cultures bonded together over his music even during the height of war.
“When they had the invasion over there, the shops were playing ‘All Night Long’ and on the [military] Humvees, they were playing ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ to let them know that they were definitely friendly and they were coming in not to invade,” he said. “Lionel Richie met Lionel Richie. I have to say it like that because I’m the third party here.”
In addition to heading out on tour starting May 29th, Lionel tells us that fans will be able to hear brand new music from the Motown singer in the coming year, following up his success of his country album, Tuskegee. He says he also plans to make his way back to Nashville for his next recording.
“Nashville blew me away, and I found that from that embrace I said ‘okay guys I’ll be back…let me finish this tour and you’ll see again,’ and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m going to go back to finish the next record and you’ll hear it the first of the year.”
Until then, SoCal fans can catch Lionel Richie and ‘All The Hits All Night Long’ when he makes a stop at the Honda Center on June 3rd. For show details and tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Listen to Shotgun Tom Kelly’s full conversation with Lionel Richie below!