First as the leader of the Commodores and then as a worldwide solo superstar in the '80s, Lionel Richie pioneered a highly accessible mix of soul and soft pop that influenced everyone from Luther Vandross to Mariah Carey. An excellent singer and songwriter, Richie started as a hard core funk musician but later became a master of the romantic contemporary R&B ballad, a style with which his name has become synonymous.
Includes the Commodores classics \Three Times a Lady
After mounting successes with the Commodores during the late '70s, Lionel Richie exploded into one of the biggest stars of the '80s, then enigmatically disappeared from the music business for nearly a decade. Fourteen of the tracks on this 20-track anthology (which also includes a five-cut bonus disc compiled by Richie) topped the charts, ample testimony to Richie's remarkable success in shifting from the Commodores' roots in the Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye Motown to a pioneering career as a crossover balladeer. His willful drift to the middle of the road found that its yellow line was nothing but gold. This collection charts the singer's upbeat successes with his former band, segues gracefully into the ballads and party-lite sensibility that made him such an unlikely '80s icon, and touches on his late-'90s reemergence. A newly recorded duet with Enrique Iglesias on "To Love a Woman" suggests that the elder popmeister hasn't lost his touch; indeed, his voice seems more warm and soulful than ever. --Jerry McCulley
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