Rihanna, Usher, Stevie Wonder pay tribute to Lionel Richie

LOS ANGELES -- Rihanna, Usher, Stevie Wonder and John Legend paid tribute to Lionel Richie in a musical tribute touching on his roots in R&B to his string of romantic, easy-listening ballads that ruled the airwaves in the 1980s.

See Full Article

They joined The Band Perry, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Ellie Goulding in launching Grammy weekend Saturday night by honouring Richie as the MusiCares Person of the Year.

Richie was toasted for his musical achievements and philanthropic work two days before the Grammy Awards. The 66-year-old singer-songwriter launches a string of South American tour dates later this month.

Rihanna, wearing red sneakers with her red and white floral gown, sang "Say You, Say Me" backed by a string section.

Usher showed off his dance moves on the buoyant "Lady (You Bring Me Up)."

"You really got the white people up and dancing," cracked host Jimmy Kimmel, who came out sporting a huge Afro and a white jumpsuit. After seeing old clips of Richie in sequined jumpsuits, Kimmel joked, "He has so many terrible outfits."

Lenny Kravitz, Florence Welch and Dave Grohl provided the most unpredictable versions of Richie hits. Kravitz kicked off the 2 1/2-hour show with a rock version of "Running With the Night" that included a guitar solo. Welch's take on "Dancing On the Ceiling" featured guitar-strumming and rhythmic hand-clapping from the idle string section.

Grohl, lead singer of Foo Fighters, showed off a rare romantic side with a jaunty version of "You Are" that had the crowd on its feet dancing. He explained his connection to Richie came about last year after Grohl broke his leg on tour. Richie sent the rocker a huge basket of muffins as consolation, and Grohl saluted him as the "Muffin Man."

Legend performed "Easy" on piano, and Wonder touched on Richie's early days with the Commodores by doing "Three Times a Lady."

Yolanda Adams and a choir injected powerful gospel into the proceedings, earning one of the night's standing ovations.

Pharrell and the Roots were joined by Little Big Town, Leon Bridges, Tori Kelly and Corrine Bailey Rae for a medley that culminated in the Commodores' classic "Brick House."

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey did a cappella snippet of "Mr. Bojangles" before introducing Richie, who gave a shout-out to his "fabulous" hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama, where he met the Commodores in college.

Richie said that from his earliest hits he didn't realize how the music business worked, with R&B, pop and country in separate categories.

"I did not know that there were categories until I walked into a station one day and they said, 'We can't play your record because it's too black,' " he said. "So I went home and wrote 'Easy' and I brought it back. They said, 'We can't play the record because it's too white.' I was confused."

"The slogan in those days was, 'Lionel Richie crossed over and can't get black,' " he said, drawing laughter. "Today I am standing here celebrating all the songs they told me would ruin my career."

In his acceptance speech, Richie poked fun at his reputation for crooning baby-making music.

"I am the father of mankind," he said. "More men have come up to me and said, 'Lionel, I have made love to you many times.' "

Richie took to the piano to play and sing "Hello" before closing things out with "All Night Long (All Night)" as confetti blasted the stage.

Among the crowd were producers Quincy Jones and David Foster, Motown founder Berry Gordy, David Crosby and Joe Walsh.

Saturday's dinner and auction earned $7 million, the highest grossing evening in the tribute's 26-year history, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said.

"I cannot be more proud of all of you," Richie told the crowd at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

MusiCares, run by the Recording Academy, provides financial assistance to individuals in the music industry during times of need.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Neon sign from legendary Whisky a Go Go up for auction

    Entertainment CTV News
    BIDDEFORD, Maine -- A bright neon piece of rock 'n' roll history is going up for auction -- a marquee from the legendary Los Angeles club, Whisky a Go Go. The 13-foot sign, with letters alight in bright pink, adorned the West Hollywood club in the '80s and '90s, during the heyday of punk, new wave and grunge. Source
  • No 'Trump' sketch but SNL unleashes 'Putin'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Just how was “Saturday Night Live” going to tackle the pageantry, protests and press conferences that dominated President Trump’s inauguration and first day in office? By unleashing Vladimir Putin. Alec Baldwin, who has been playing Trump since the fall in a parody that Trump himself has repeatedly criticized as mean-spirited and bad, didn’t reprise the impersonation in the first post-inauguration episode. Source
  • Cyberattack on Sundance film fest briefly shuts down box office

    Entertainment CBC News
    Representatives for the Sundance Film Festival say that their network systems were subject to a cyberattack that caused its box offices to shut down briefly Saturday afternoon. The Festival issued updates to attendees via their official account and say that online ticketing for future shows is currently back up and running. Source
  • Celebrities out in full force for Women's Marches

    Entertainment CBC News
    If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight. Source
  • Ryan Gosling and Denis Villeneuve make waves ahead of Oscar nominations

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- When this year's Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday there's a good chance some Canadians will be prominently in the mix, most notably Quebec director Denis Villeneuve and London, Ont.-born actor Ryan Gosling. Source
  • 'Cardinal', 'Mary Kills People', 'Scandal' and 'Suits' top this week's TV must-sees

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Bill Harris' TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 22 1. Cardinal Debut When the body of a missing girl is found in a wintry Northern Canadian town, detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) investigate. Source
  • Oliver Hudson pokes fun at sister Kate Hudson and Brad Pitt dating rumours

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Oliver Hudson made fun of rumours his sister Kate Hudson is dating Brad Pitt. On Friday, Oliver came across a Star magazine cover that claimed Brad was moving into Kate’s house, just a few months after his split from wife Angelina Jolie. Source
  • With Oscars in sight, Amazon, Netflix look to Sundance to secure streaming rights

    Entertainment CBC News
    After revolutionizing television with bold, award-winning original content, streaming networks are on the cusp of their first potential Oscar wins, and are back at the Sundance film festival looking for more awards-worthy fare. Amazon.com Inc raised eyebrows when it paid $10 million US for the North American distribution rights to Sundance drama Manchester By the Sea last year. Source
  • From Cher to Madonna, celebs out in force for women's marches

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight -- and that, as so many signs said, women's rights are human rights. Source
  • String theory + a capella = A Montrealer's formula for online fame

    Entertainment CBC News
    This story is part of CBC Homerun's series on Montrealers who have made it big on YouTube. When Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield covered Space Oddity from space, he may have created a new genre of music: science rock. Source