Top 10 Lionel Richie Songs

As the lead singer of The Commodores, Lionel Richie proved himself to be a brilliant songwriter and powerful singer. He carried these qualities into his solo career, crafting undeniable grooves and hit songs to match, with love being a frequent theme in his lyrics. In his more than 40-year career, Richie has solidified himself as one of the best songwriters and artists in history. Below, we explore 10 of the best Lionel Richie songs:

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1. “Hello”

From the moment his smoky voice greets you with the epic opening line, Hello / Is it me you’re looking for? you know Richie has something special in store. This classic ballad sounds like a grand soliloquy set to music: Richie captures the song’s romantic nature through the lyrics and his voice as he croons about longing for someone to love him as much as he loves her. This memorable tune resonated with audiences across the globe, hitting No. 1 in multiple countries, including the Billboard Hot 100. It’s one of his signature songs for a reason, and a list of the best Richie songs would be remiss without “Hello.”

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

‘Cause I wonder where you are and I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart, for I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying, I love you
I love you

2. “Endless Love” featuring Diana Ross

Like “Hello,” we couldn’t leave “Endless Love” off the list. Richie and Ross’ voices soar on this Oscar-nominated song that finds two people professing their undying love for one another. It’s almost as if their voices were made for each other. This tender-hearted ballad was one of the most successful songs for both artists and spoke to the hearts of fans around the world. “Endless Love” proved it had staying power when it sat at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and has since become one of the best duets of all time.

And I
I want to share
All my love with you
No one else will do
And your eyes
Your eyes, your eyes
They tell me how much you care
Oh, yes, you will always be
My endless love

3. “Three Times a Lady”

Though Richie had many hits as a solo artist, he got his start as part of the equally successful and beloved group, The Commodores, and “Three Times a Lady” is one of their best. Richie’s voice is as enticing as ever on this cinematic ballad. Rather than taking an aggressive tone in light of a breakup, the singer feels nothing but love for his former partner that he expresses by hitting every note softly and tenderly, just like the lyrics call for, solidifying “Three Times a Lady” as one of the band’s signature tracks.

You’re once, twice, three times a lady
And I love you
Yes, you’re once, twice, three times a lady
And I love you

4. “Running With the Night”

“Running With the Night” showcases Richie’s talent as a descriptive songwriter. He plays with the imagery here and makes the listener feel like you’re running through the streets with Richie and his new lover, envisioning them playing in the shadows and basking in the neon lights that illuminate the night. The heat of this newfound love can be felt through the speakers and an extended electric guitar solo from Toto’s Steve Lukather adds a notable flair.

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I
‘Til the morning light
(We were running)
(Running with the night)

5. “Lady” (Kenny Rogers)

Though “Lady” was a hit solo single for Kenny Rogers, once he was joined by its writer, Richie, the song is taken to another level. The two teamed up for a duet of “Lady” for a 2005 episode of CMT Crossroads that is pure goodness, their voices complimenting each other beautifully as they sing the romantic lyrics: My love / There’s so many ways I want to say I love you / Let me hold you in my arms forever more. “Lady” was a massive hit for Rogers, topping multiple charts including the Billboard Hot 100. But the song truly shines when Rogers and Richie join forces on it.

For so many years
I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and
Made me whole

6. “All Night Long (All Night)”

“All Night Long” is one of those songs you may think to yourself, “I didn’t know Lionel Richie wrote this,” as it’s one of the many gems in his vast catalog. The lyrics encourage us to simply have fun and let the music take over. With its free-spirited nature, you can’t help but follow Richie’s request to sing, dance, and lose yourself in wild romance. “All Night Long” is one of those songs that accomplishes the rare feat of having staying power, as it’s as catchy today as when it was released in 1983.

Yeah, once you get started you can’t sit down
Come join the fun, it’s a merry-go-round
Everyone’s dancing their troubles away
Come join our party, See how we play!

7. “Se La”

This is a lesser-known song in Richie’s expansive catalogue, yet still deserves recognition for its message of unity. With a funky, island beat, Richie offers a peaceful take akin to “We Are the World,” painting a hopeful picture of a world where rather than living in desperation, people exist harmoniously, with visions of children playing and others dancing in the street proclaiming it’s time for everyone to come together.

We have to say
Se la, se la
Talking to the people
Se la, se la
It’s time you thought about it
Se la, se la (hey, hey)
Se la, se la

8. “You Are”

“You Are” is the kind of song where once the chorus hits, you realize you know the words by heart, which is the mark of a quality songwriter. Professing his love through lyricism is what Richie does best, and Richie continues that theme here. He doesn’t hide his feelings – saying that he falls in love over and over again with the woman he adores – and makes us sing along with him as he croons you are the sun / you are the rain.

You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

9. “Love Will Find a Way”

Featured on his best-selling album Can’t Slow Down, Richie’s voice is smooth as butter on “Love Will Find a Way.” The fun, 80s funk groove is as enticing as the uplifting lyrics, which assert that no matter how hard life may seem love will find a way. With its ear-catching melody that makes you want to move and its motivating lyrics, “Love Will Find a Way” makes for one of Richie’s best.

Drowning in your sorrows
Know your heart will show you the way
Are you trying to find a beginning?
Something just to hold on to
Always know that love will find a way

10. “Dancing on the Ceiling”

Richie has a gift for making you feel good in his music and “Dancing on the Ceiling” is proof of this. It’s the kind of song that is enveloped in feel-good fun as he sings, The only thing we want to do tonight / Is go ’round and ’round / And turn upside down. Between the beat that’s layered with funk and R&B, and the sounds of a cheering crowd adding an effervescent effect, Richie gives the listener permission to let their inhibitions go while listening to this track.

The room is hot and that’s good
Some of my friends came by from the neighborhood
The people startin’ a climb the walls
Ooh it looks like everybody is having a ball

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Photo: ASCAP

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