Year Released: 1982

Notable Songs: “Truly”, “You Are”, “My Love”

Album MVP: “Truly” 

Why I Loved It: There’s a lot I loved about Lionel Richie in the 80’s and perhaps my favorite was his very conscious decision to focus exclusively on tender ballads and shimmery mid-tempo pop. Of course, ballads became a staple of Richie’s vibe and that was apparent right away on his first solo album here, particularly with “Truly” and “My Love.’  Both geared the completion of his transition from the soulful group, The Commodores to full-fledged mainstream pop, as each of his first two hits were unrepentant slow-dance jams. His third and final hit from this debut self-titled album, “You Are,” is a bubbly, delightful pop track that til this day is in my opinion one of his most underrated singles. “You Mean More to Me”, “Just Put Some Love in Your Heart” and “Wandering Stranger” are three songs many haven’t heard of that are worth a listen. Richie’s 1986 album “Dancing on the Ceiling” previously appeared on this countdown at No. 82 and here’s a spoiler alert—there’s still one more to come.

Commercial Success: Richie was still with the Commodores when this album was released, his first solo studio effort. He’d leave shortly thereafter. The album would rise up to number-three on the Billboard Top 200 and sell more than four million copies in the United States. “Truly” was his first single and the album’s biggest hit, hitting number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 while spending nearly a month atop the Adult Contemporary chart. His follow up, “You Are” fared very well also, peaking at four on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number-one on the Adult Contemporary charts. “My Love” became his third top five single on the album, reaching number-five on the Billboard Hot 100.  Amazingly this would end up only being Richie’s third-most successful album of the decade.

Fun Facts: From “In the early ’80s Lionel Richie began to achieve success outside The Commodores. He penned the song “Lady” for country singer Kenny Rogers, a soulful ballad that topped the charts for six weeks. Then he teamed up with Diana Ross on the theme song for the movie Endless Love. “Endless Love” became the biggest hit of Ross’ career, holding the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks in the fall of 1981 and earning Lionel Richie an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. These successes would inspire Richie to break from The Commodores completely in 1982 to pursue a solo career.

Lionel Richie’s 1982 self-titled debut for Motown exploded with three Top 10 hits including the #1 smash “Truly.” His 1993 sophomore effort Can’t Slow Down doubled down on its predecessor, selling over 15 million copies and spawning five more top-10 hits, including two more #1’s: the earnest, sentimental ballad “Hello” and the danceable Carribbean rhythms of “All Night Long (All Night).” The album would go on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1985. Now an international superstar, the “black Barry Manilow” was here to stay.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back