When the Academy of Country Music announced they were going to pay tribute to Lionel Richie, the stars fell all over themselves to have the chance to perform his songs. Megastars like Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Luke Brian, and Darius Rucker were amongst the singers to hit the stage for the tribute.
But it was Kenny Rogers who stole the show when he told the story of how he met Lionel and recorded their chart-topping hit song “Lady.”
“Lady” was written and produced by Lionel Richie, and recorded by Kenny Rogers back in 1980. It became a huge hit for both men. Changing the direction of Lionel Richie’s career, and opening up his life as a solo artist.
The song was the first in 1980 to chart on four different Billboard’s single charts; Country, Hot 100, adult contemporary, and Top Soul Singles.
Lionel Richie made a huge splash on the music scene as a member of the funk and soul group The Commodores. Richie was the heart and soul behind the romantic, easy listening hits for the Commodores. Songs like “Sail-on,” “Easy,”and “Three Times a Lady.”
In 1982, Richie recorded his first solo album which had three hit songs and solidified his success throughout the 80s.
Kenny Rogers is a legend of Country & Western music. Elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, he sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Kenny was more than just a Country chart topper. He was popular in several genres of music, including jazz, folk, pop, and rock.
On March 20, 2020 the world heard news of Kenny Roger’s passing. Mourners were filling their social media with messages about Rogers career and hits.
Rogers was 81 when he passed away due to natural causes while in hospice care.
Lionel Richie made a heartfelt tribute to the passing of one of his great friends.
“Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken. He’s not just a friend of mine, but the song he wrote was truly a changing point in my career. It’s one of the most identifiable songs I’ve ever done.”
So it was during an all star tribute that Rogers took the stage to pay tribute to his great friend. Rogers tells the tale of how together they recorded a song that would go on to be one of Roger’s biggest selling hits of all time.
This origin story is full of laughter, as Richie busted up and had to stand up and admit some of the story that Rogers spilled.
Rogers starts by saying,
“To say I’m excited to be a part of this, is an understatement to say the least.”
The duo didn’t have the smoothest of starts, and the song had already been passed on by the Commodores. Rogers explains …
”He starts to play and then he says, ‘before I do this, I have to tell you that I pitched this to the Commodores and they turned it down.’ Which I thought was an interesting approach to selling a song.”
After all the fun and teasing about the making of the song, Kenny invites Lionel up on stage to sing “Lady” with him.
Lionel bounds up to the stage and these two old friends sing through their song and through their history together. It’s a special tribute to the lasting friendship between two incredible musicians.
You’ll want to see this heartfelt rendition of their song “Lady.” These two have such joy when they sing.
The power of friendship is very strong in these two.
Click the video below to see Kenny Rogers pay tribute to his great friend.
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