♫ We Are The World ♫

Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Truly ♫

Some nights, ya just want some Lionel, y’know?  This is one of those nights.  I’ve got worries on my mind tonight, and I want Lionel to take them away for just a few minutes.

Released in 1982, this was Lionel’s first solo single after leaving the Commodores earlier in the year.  Richie’s co-producer on this track was James Anthony Carmichael, who worked on most of the Commodores material.  Richie wrote the song and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael.

After 18 nominations (mostly for songs with the Commodores), Richie finally won his first Grammy when this took the award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1983. Richie almost skipped the ceremony, as he was nominated each of the previous five years and had come up empty handed each time.

Truly
Lionel Richie

Girl, tell me only this
That I’ll have your heart for always
And you want me by your side
Whispering the words “I’ll always love you”

And forever
I will be your lover
And I know if you really care
I will always be there

I need to tell you this
There’s no other love like your love
And I, as long as I live
I’ll give you all the joy
My heart and soul can give

Let me hold you
I need to have you near me
And I feel with you in my arms
This love will last forever

Because I’m truly
Truly in love with you, girl
I’m truly head over heels with your love
I need you, and with your love I’m free
And truly, you know you’re all right

With me

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Truly lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Sail On ♫

‘Tis one of those nights when I am melancholy, memories of times past are replaying in my mind, and I’m recovering from the “Day From Hell”.  Now, you all know where I turn on nights like this, right?  Gotta be either Lionel or Stevie.  I seem to have played most of their best ones, but tonight I found an old favourite that I haven’t played here yet.

I was able to find very little background information about this song other than that it was produced by both Commodores and James Anthony Carmichael. The song reached the top ten on both the US and UK music charts that same year. Richie later recorded the song with Tim McGraw for 2012’s Tuskegee.  So … just listen and (hopefully) enjoy.

Sail On
Lionel Richie

Sail on down the line ’bout-a half-a mile or so
And-a don’t really wanna know-a where you’re goin’
Maybe once or twice, you see, time after time
I tried-a to, to hold on to what we got, but-a now you’re goin’
And I don’t mind about the things you’re gonna say, Lord
I gave all my money, and my time
I know it’s a shame, but I’m givin’ you back your name, yeah, yeah
Yes I’ll be on my way, I won’t be back to stay
I guess I’ll move along, I’m lookin’ for a good time

Sail on down the line, ain’t it funny how the time can go on-a
Friends say they told me so, but it doesn’t matter
It was plain to see that a small town boy like me
Just-a wasn’t your cup of tea
It was wishful thinkin’
I gave you my heart and I tried to make you happy
And you gave me nothin’ in return
You know, it ain’t so hard to say, “Would you please just go away,” yeah, yeah
I’ve thrown away the blues, I’m tired of bein’ used
I want everyone to know I’m lookin’ for a good time, good time

Sail on honey
Good times never felt so good
Sail on honey
Good times never felt so good
Sail on sugar
Good times never felt so good

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Sail On lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Three Times A Lady ♫

Y’know how some nights you’re just in the mood for something and nothing else will do?  Like … cracked pepper potato chips, or jalapeño cheese dip … or Lionel Richie!  So, tonight I had a whole medley of Lionel going through my head, from Lady to Still, but of course I’ve already played most of the ones I heard in my mind.  The two I hadn’t played were Easy and Three Times A Lady.  I looked all around for a coin to toss, finally found a penny, tossed it, and it came up heads, and thus … you get this song tonight!

Three Times a Lady, released in 1978, was written by Lionel Richie who said …

“I wrote it back in 1978 and it was a very personal meaning to me. I attended the wedding anniversary of my parents and my father made a speech about how much he loved my mother and appreciated the way she had stood beside him for 37 years. It was beautiful and I started to think about my own life and how my wife stands by me, how she does so many things without being asked or thanked. So, I wrote ‘Three Times A Lady’ as a dedication to my wife and my mother. I think my next door neighbor summed it up when she said that if a man wanted to buy her a present, all he need do is buy her that record and he wouldn’t have to say anything else.”

Awwww … doesn’t it bring a tear to your eye?  Ladies, if you are ever lucky enough to have a man say that to you, hold him tight and never let him go, for he’s a keeper!

This was the first #1 hit Lionel Richie wrote, but far from his last: he wrote songs that were #1 US hits in each of the next seven years, giving him the record for most consecutive #1 songs by a songwriter who was never a Beatle (Paul McCartney wrote songs that went to #1 1964-1971).  In the UK, this was #1 for five weeks. It was the biggest UK hit for Motown Records.

Three Times a Lady
Commodores

Thanks for the times that you’ve given me
The memories are all in mind
And now that we’ve come
To the end of our rainbow
There’s something I must say out loud!

Your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
Yes, your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you!

You shared my dreams
My joys
My pains
You made my life worth living for
And if I had to live my life over again, dear
I’d spend each and every moment with you

Your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
Yes, your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you!

When we are together
The moments I cherish
With every beat of my heart
To touch you, to hold you
To feel you, to need you
There’s nothing to keep us apart
You’re once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you!
I love you !

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Three Times a Lady lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Lady ♫

I had this song in my head all evening, while I proceeded with other work, and in the back of my mind, I held it close, knowing that this would be my song for the day.  And then … bummer … I find I already played this one back in October of last year.  However, while on an ordinary night I would sigh, and then go in search of a different song, I am so tired that I actually fell asleep writing my Jolly Monday post, and Miss Goose had to wake me by shaking me three times!  So, I am going with a repeat here.  Please forgive me, but my energy has simply flown the coop and I must get some rest.  So, I replay …


As the story goes, Kenny Rogers asked Lionel to write a song for him, but Lionel said he was ‘too busy’.  But when Kenny said it was for an album they thought would sell around 4 million copies, Lionel’s schedule immediately freed up for the very next day.  Funny that …

Lionel would write the song, although as you will see in a minute, part of it was written in the loo, and it would go on to be a #1 hit for Kenny Rogers.  This one is fun, and the music is … well, classic!  But the camaraderie … it just doesn’t get any better than these two guys singing this song.  Please watch … I promise you a smile.

Lady
Kenny Rogers

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say “I love you”
Let me hold you in my arms forever more

You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?

Lady, for so many years I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and made me whole
Forever, let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly in my ear

In my eyes, I see no one else but you
There’s no other love like our love
And yes, oh yes, I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long

Lady, your love’s the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
‘Cause, my love, there’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life, you’re my lady

Songwriters: Lionel B. / Jr Richie
Lady lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Say You, Say Me ♫

Lionel Richie … ahhh … need I say more?

This song was both written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the film White Nights in 1985.

Motown refused to let Atlantic Records include this on the movie’s soundtrack album because they didn’t want Richie’s first release since his 1983’s Can’t Slow Down to be from a different label. Richie included the song on his next album, Dancing On The Ceiling (he was going to call it Say You, Say Me, but too much time passed between the single going to #1 in 1985 and the album’s release in 1986).

Say You, Say Me

Lionel Richie

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

I had a dream,
I had an awesome dream
People in the park
Playing games in the dark
And what they played
Was a masquerade
And from behind the walls of doubt
A voice was crying out

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

As we go down
Life’s lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do
Is to find a friend or two
That helping hand
Someone who understands
That when you feel you lost your way
You’ve got someone there to say,
I’ll show you

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

So you think you know the answers, oh no
Well the whole world’s got you dancing
That’s right, I’m telling you
It’s time to start believing, oh yes
Believing who you are, you are a shining star

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

Say it together, naturallyWriter/s: Lionel Richie
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ Dancing On The Ceiling ♫

I initially had a different song on the schedule … a real downer, but a good song nonetheless.  Then last night, a friend suggested that to pick my mood up, instead of listening to sad music, I might try Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling.  I did, and it worked … who can cry when they’re listening to this?  I figured you guys could use a little pick-me-up too, so here it is!  I do have one question, though … how the heck does he dance on the walls and the ceiling?  I was going to try it, but … gravity stepped in and I figured I might end up with some broken bones.

Written by Richie, Mike Frenchik, and Carlos Rios, the song became a worldwide top ten hit, but not everyone liked it.  Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine said …

“This isn’t entirely a good thing, since it means he indulges in silliness …”

Since when is a bit of silliness not a good thing?  Methinks Mr. Erlewine needs to lighten up a bit.  Apparently there were others who felt the same, though, for Blender magazine published a list of the “50 worst songs of all time”, with Dancing on the Ceiling listed at No. 20.

It is said that this video cost $400,000 to make!

Dancing on the Ceiling
Lionel Richie

What is happening here
Something’s going on that’s not quite clear
Somebody turn on the lights
We’re gonna have a party
It’s starting tonight

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

The room is hot and that’s good
Some of my friends came by from the neighborhood
The people startin’ a climb the walls
Ooh it looks like everybody is having a ball

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Come on!

Everybody start to lose control
When the music is right
If you see somebody hangin’ around
Don’t get uptight
The only thing we want to do tonight
Is go ’round and ’round
And turn upside down
Come on! Let’s get down!

So come on! Let’s get loose
Don’t hold back
‘Cause ain’t no use
Hard to keep your feet on the ground
‘Cause when we like to party
We only want to get down

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Say what?
Can’t stop now
Just getting started
Everybody clap your hands
Come on
Everybody let’s dance

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling

Oh, what a feeling
When we’re dancing on the ceiling baby baby
We gonna dance all night

Songwriters: Lionel B. Jr. Richie / Michael Henry Jr. Frenchik / Carlos Manuel Rios
Dancing on the Ceiling lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Running With The Night ♫

I’m in the mood for some Lionel Richie tonight … what do you say?

Richie co-wrote this with the lyricist Cynthia Weil, and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael. The electric guitar solo was played by Steve Lukather, best known as a member of the rock band Toto. Lukather sat down in the studio and the engineer played the basic tracks of the song, for him to hear for the first time, so he could plan his part. As the music played, he jammed along on his instrument. At the conclusion of the tune, he said to the engineer, “Okay, I’m ready for a take.” The producer replied, “That was a take.”  Some adult contemporary stations edited out Lukather’s guitar solo “to make the song less rock-sounding.”  That makes no sense to me, but what do I know?

When a young Richard Marx moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and was amassing rejection letters for his demos, Lionel Richie gave him a shot, and had him sing backup on this track. Before he hit it big as a solo artist, Marx lent his vocals to several other Richie recordings, including All Night Long.

Running With the Night
Lionel Richie

The heart of the city street was beating
Light from the neons turned the dark to day
We were too hot to think of sleeping
We had to get out before the magic got away

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

You were looking so good girl, heads were turning
You and me on the town, ooh, we let it all hang out
The fire was in us, we were burning
We were gonna go all the way and we never had a doubt

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

We were so in love, you and me
On the boulevard wild and free
Giving all we got, we laid it down
Taking every shot, we took the town

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I and it was so right
Girl, it was so right

Songwriters: Cynthia Weil / Lionel Richie
Running With the Night lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Lucy ♫

I have no background, no trivia about tonight’s song, for I can find none.  Tonight’s song, Lucy by Lionel Richie and the Commodores is for a special friend … a Boxing Day gift.

Lucy
Commodores

Hey Lucy why don’t you come and settle down
I hear you’re the baddest girl this side of town
Got a little money that I wanna spend
If you’ll be my friend
For just a little while

First summer you sailed on down to New Orleans
I was a victor, you were a Cajun queen
You had many fellas with lots of style
And you drove them wild
Oh little Lucy I had to be with you

Traveled around the country
Oh and I made my way
I never once forgot what I felt that day
Now I think I’m ready to play my hand
I wanna be your man which is hard to do
Oh Lucy I’m so in love with you

I’ve been a wandering man for such a long time
Now I know just where I’m going
Oh how I need you to stand by my side
Don’t you go away
Cause I’m so in love with you

I’ve been searchin’ for you Lucy for such a long time
Now I wanna let you know what I have on my mind
You’ve been around a lonely man
A lonely man
I’ve been a lonely man
Lucy
I don’t want to live my life without you
There were times when I tried to get you off my mind girl
You’re the girl of my dreams
Oh you’re the girl of my dreams
Lucy
(Ahh my Lucy)
So many lonely nights I need you girl
(Ahh my Lucy)

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Lucy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Right Here Waiting For You ♫

Singer and songwriter Richard Marx wrote this song on the road as a love letter to his wife, actress Cynthia Rhodes.

“I wrote the song for my wife Cynthia who was in South Africa shooting for a film. We were not married then and I wanted to meet her because I had not seen her for a few months. But my visa application was rejected and when I came back I wrote this song which was more of a letter from me to her. It was the fastest song I wrote, in barely 20 minutes. And this was the time when there was no Skype and Social networking so I had to ship the track to her. The song was very personal and was not intended to go public. But my friends pursued me to record it.”

A bit about Richard Marx … His father wrote TV jingles for chocolate bars and peanut butter, and Richard made his professional debut singing on some of his dad’s commercials. When he was 18, Marx left his hometown of Chicago and headed to LA, where another commercial-minded musician, Lionel Richie, took the young singer-songwriter under this wing. After a 5-year apprenticeship in which he sang harmonies on several of Richie’s hits had some of his compositions recorded by artists such as Kenny Rogers and Chicago, Marx finally landed his own recording contract. And he was poised for stardom: Marx’s self-titled 1987 debut album yielded four top-10 hits, including the #1 song Hold On To The Nights.

Marx originally pitched the song to Barbra Streisand. But she had a few issues with his lyrics. “She called and said, ‘I love this music, this melody is gorgeous, but if I’m going to record it, I’m going to need you to rewrite the lyrics because I’m not going to be right here waiting for anybody,'”  I’m rather glad he kept the song … and the lyrics.

Right Here Waiting for You
Richard Marx

Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn’t stop the pain

If I see you next to never
How can we say forever

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I took for granted, all the times
That I thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can’t get near you now

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me going crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I wonder how we can survive
This romance
But in the end if I’m with you
I’ll take the chance

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me going crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
Waiting for you

Songwriters: Richard Marx
Right Here Waiting for You lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

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