Remember When: Lionel Richie’s “Hello” Topped the ‘Billboard’ Singles Chart 40 Years Ago

Forty years ago this week (on May 12, 1984), Lionel Richie scored his fifth solo No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hello.” The romantic ballad spent two weeks at the top of that chart. It also was No. 1 for three weeks on Billboard R&B tally and six weeks on the publication’s Adult Contemporary chart.

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“Hello” appeared on Can’t Slow Down, Richie’s second solo album after he left his old band The Commodores. The tune was the second single from the album to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100, following “All Night Long.”

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Can’t Slow Down won the Album of the Year honor at the 1985 Grammy Awards ceremony. That same year, the album was certified 10-times platinum for sales of more than 10 million copies in the U.S.

Richie’s previous chart-topping post-Commodores hits on the Hot 100 were the 1982 Diana Ross duet “Endless Love,” “Truly” (1982), and “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983).

The Inspiration for Writing “Hello”

In a 2017 interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Richie explained that the inspiration for “Hello” came from a joking exchange he had with his producer.

“My producer, James Anthony Carmichael, he was coming by the house, and he walked around the corner. I said, ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’” the singer/songwriter recalled. “And I’m falling out laughing. He turned to me and said, ‘Finish that.’”

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The “Hello” Music Video

Richie filmed a much-criticized music video for “Hello.” The clip, which was directed by Bob Giraldi, cast Lionel as a teacher who falls in love with a blind student whom he thinks doesn’t share his infatuation. Later in the video, he finds out that the student does love him too, when he discovers that she’s created a bust of his head in her sculpture class.

The student was portrayed by actress Laura Carrington, who is not blind.

Eau de “Hello”

In 2019, Richie released a fragrance called Hello. According to ads, the scent was inspired by his “passion for music and love of love.”

Richie’s Upcoming 2024 Plans

Richie is winding down his latest season as one of the hosts of ABC’s popular singing competition American Idol. This season’s finale takes place Sunday, May 19, and airs at 8 p.m. ET.

On May 23 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Richie will kick off the 2024 edition of the Sing a Song All Night Long Tour, a joint trek with Earth, Wind & Fire. The 13-date outing is mapped out through a June 16 concert in Pittsburgh.

Richie also has 17 performances at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas lined up. They’re scheduled for June, September, October, and November. Check out his full itinerary at

In addition, Richie will co-headline the Fool In Love Festival, taking place in Los Angeles on August 31.

Tickets for Richie’s concerts are available via a variety of outlets, including StubHub.

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