On tour, Lionel Richie had to ‘babysit’ Michael Jackson.
Lionel Richie has been entertaining audiences with his classic songs and contagious personality for decades. In the early days of his career, the Grammy-winning singer had the opportunity to tour with another potential legend: Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.
For decades, Lionel Richie has been making music.
Lionel Richie began his musical career as a student at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he grew up, in the late 1960s. Before joining The Commodores, he was a member of many R&B bands.
In 1974, the Commodores signed a recording deal with Motown Records after opening for The Jackson 5 on their first US tour. Richie wrote many hit songs for The Commodores, including “Brick House” and “Happy People,” which helped them dominate music in the 1970s.
In the decades that followed, Richie had a hugely successful solo career as a singer and songwriter. He has sold over 100 million albums worldwide to date.
The Jackson 5 toured with Lionel Richie and The Commodores.
In a 2021 interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell for her web series No Filter with Naomi, Richie commented on The Commodores’ breakout alongside The Jackson 5. He related how Suzanne de Passe, Motown’s publicist, approached Benny Ashburn, the group’s founder, about seeking an opening act for the new group’s first US tour in 1971.
“She announced, ‘I’ve gotten my first job.’ Richie remembered de Passe saying, “My mission is to take this new group called The Jackson 5 across America on their first US tour.” “I’m looking for an opening act,” she says.
He continued, “We had an audition.” “Throughout The Jackson 5’s entire US tour, we played for them. When we arrived in Los Angeles, California, they recognized us, signed us, and the rest is history.”