Lionel Richie's 10 best songs of all time, ranked

9 November 2021, 16:36

Lionel Richie's best ever songs
Lionel Richie's best ever songs. Picture: YouTube/Lionel Richie

By Tom Eames

With over 100 million records sold worldwide, Lionel Richie is not only a five-time Grammy Award winner but also one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

Starting off his career as the lead singer of the Commodores - who had huge hits such as 'Three Times a Lady' and 'Easy' - he then began writing big songs for other artists, including 'Lady' by Kenny Rogers'. And let's not forget 'We Are the World' with Michael Jackson.

We could be here 'All Night Long' listing his best tracks, so here's a handful for starters, to make for the perfect Lionel Richie playlist:

  1. Penny Lover

    This was Lionel's third consecutive #1 single on the Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart, as well as featuring in the top ten of the Hot 100.

    Written with his then-wife Brenda Harvey-Richie, it was the fifth and final single from his huge album Can't Slow Down

  2. Just for You

    This was the title track for Lionel's underrated 2004 album, which also featured duets with Lenny Kravitz and Daniel Bedingfield.

    The sweet song is about the growing disillusionment we can feel as we grow up.

  3. Truly

    This was Richie’s first proper solo single and also one of his biggest ballads.

    Released in 1982, the song helped Lionel become a bonafide solo star away from his group The Commodores. 

  4. Running with the Night

    Lionel co-wrote this rock anthem with legendary songwriter Cynthia Weil, for his album Can't Slow Down.

    The song also featured Toto's Steve Lukather and... Richard Marx (that won't be the last we'll hear from him!).

  5. Endless Love (with Diana Ross)

    Quite possibly the greatest duet of all time? Certainly one of the most successful.

    Diana and Lionel recorded this song for Motown, and it was used as the theme for the film adaptation of Scott Spencer's novel Endless Love.

    Read more: Lionel Richie has been trying to get Diana Ross to sing 'Endless Love' for 37 years

    While the film was a modest box-office success, the song became the second biggest-selling single of the year.

  6. Stuck on You

    This reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and saw Lionel take on a totally new sound.

    A fan of country music since his days living in Tuskegee, Lionel took a risk on the country sound and it worked wonders.

  7. Say You, Say Me

    Topping three Billboard charts in the States, this track also bagged an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

    It was used for the movie White Nights, which also featured the song 'Separate Lives' by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin.

  8. Dancing with the Ceiling

    Taken from the 1986 album of the same name, this party anthem was a top 10 hit around the world.

    After the success of the album, Lionel actually took a hiatus from the music industry for six years. And not because he was recovering from a ceiling-related injury.

  9. Hello

    Read more: The Story of... 'Hello'

    One of Lionel's biggest ever hits, this song went to number one in both the UK and US in 1984.

    Lionel initially felt that the song was "corny" but "by the time I finished the verse, I fell in love with the song again". And you've got to love that music video!

  10. All Night Long (All Night)

    Read more: The Story of... 'All Night Long'

    In this Caribbean-influence song, Richie admitted that ‘African’ lyrics, such as ‘Tom bo li de say de moi ya’ and ‘Jambo jumbo’, were in fact made-up gibberish. He described these portions as a “wonderful joke”, after he discovered that he lacked the time to hire a translator.

    Lionel said: “What I try to write about are real events. There will always be an easy like Sunday morning. There will always be an endless love. There will always be an all night long.”

    Bonus fact: A young Richard Marx recorded backing vocals for this song.