Lost but not least! Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down (Motown)
From Lionel Richie‘s 1983 ‘Can’t Slow Down’ album, six tracks out of eight would get a single release. In other words, ‘All Night Long (‘All Night)’, ‘Penny Lover’ and ‘Stuck On You’. Not to mention ‘Love Will Find A Way’, ‘Running With The Night’ and ‘Hello’. This makin’ this collection worth the investment as a matter of fact. I just don’t understand though why Motown passed on its title cut…
Of course, it was kinda far from Richie‘s usual expression field. And also so uplifting and looking forward in the meantime. Too much obviously for the label execs who probably thought people couldn’t dance to it. Therefore forgetting about Michael Jackson‘s memorable ‘Wanna Be Starting Something’, released six months earlier, and in the same Electro Funk synth-led kind of vein!
Featuring Thomas Dolby on synth and CMI programming, Michael Boddicker on synth and vocoder, Nathan East on bass and the late Jeff Porcaro on drums among others. This with co-production by the likes of James Anthony Carmichael… The though renowned Discogs would eventually rate ‘Can’t Slow Down’ as Rock, Pop Rock for some time. Can you believe it???
A native of Tuskegee, AL, Lionel Richie got introduced to music by his grandma who taught him classical piano. He eventually gave birth to various R&B groups during his college years. And by 1968, he became the lead singer and saxophonist of The Commodores with whom he would remain for 15 years. Most likely embodyin’ the softer side of the group. This while writing and singin’ ballads such as ‘Easy’, ‘Zoom’, ‘Three Times a Lady’, ‘Still’ and ‘Sail On’.
By the of the 70’s, he started writing songs for other artists. Eventually composing the memorable ‘Lady’ for Kenny Rogers which hit No. 1 back in 1980. Then sharing the vocal duties with Diana Ross the year after on the theme song of ‘Endless Love’. And makin’ his solo debut in 1982 with his eponymous album. With the latter propelling 3 US hit singles by the likes of ‘Truly’, ‘You Are’ and ‘My Love’, meanwhile selling 4 million copies worldwide. Its follow-up – Can’t Slow Down’ – selling over twice as many copies. With thanks to its concentration of masterpieces. From ‘All Night Long (All Night)’ to ‘Love Will Find A Way’. But also ‘Stuck On You’ and ‘Hello’. If not its title cut although it never saw the light as a single.
‘Dancing On The Ceiling’, his third album, brought another consistant series of high standard compositions. From ‘Ballerina Girl’ to ‘Say You, Say Me’. Not to mention ‘Sela’ and ‘Love Will Conquer All’. Meanwhile, that same year (in 1985) he co-wrote the charity single ‘We Are The World’ with Michael Jackson. All in all seeing Richie at his peak before progressively disappearing from the radars releasewise from then on…