Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Hello" by Lionel Richie

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1808
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  75
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, R&B

Pop Bits:  After a couple of upbeat jams, Richie issued this ballad as the third single from his #1 album Can't Slow Down. The song would be a major hit thanks in part to its famous concept video. It would be Richie's second solo song following "All Night Long (All Night)" to reach #1 on three charts - Pop, AC, and R&B (third if you count "Endless Love," his duet with Diana Ross). The song would also go on to grab a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.

ReduxReview:  Now really, who can forget the video for this song with Richie pining after a blind student who ends up sculpting some kind of weird head that is supposed to look like Richie? Both the video and song ended up being the butt of jokes and the subjects of parodies for years. It's even been used to comedic effect in TV shows and movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Over time it seems like the song has become more known for being an 80s pop culture moment rather than for its actual artistic merit. Honestly, I've never really cared for the tune. I think it's a bit corny and overwrought. However, there is no denying that Richie did an excellent job with the tune and that the production/arrangement is top-notch. I still kind of roll my eyes and go "ugh" when I happen to hear it, but I do recognize that in general it is a fine song that many people adore.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  According to an interview with Richie, the inspiration for this song came when his co-producer James Anthony Carmichael came over to Richie's house to write songs. As Carmichael turned the corner into the room where Richie was, Richie said "Hello. Is it me you're looking for?" Carmichael looked at him and said "finish that song!" Initially, Richie though the whole idea was corny, but after writing the verse, he ended up liking the song. However, even after recording the tune, Richie wasn't convinced it belong on the album. He almost chucked the song along with "All Night Long" and "Running with the Night," but then was convinced by others that the songs needed to be on the LP. In the end, Can't Slow Down became Motown's biggest selling album.


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