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Lionel Richie reflects on his career and writing 'Hello'

Mike Bagood
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Lionel Richie sat down with CBS This Morning to discuss his latest award, which came from the Kennedy Center Honors. While there he gave insight into some of the songs that helped make him a legend.

It turns out his classic hit “Hello” started as a simple joke before turning into a love ballad. Richie said, “It was a joke. My producer, James Anthony Carmichael, was coming to the house. I came walking around the corner and I said, ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’ He said, ‘Finish that.’” After — as Richie says — they “lushed it up with strings,” the song became a love ballad for generations to come. However, there was no word on the inspiration for the equally memorable music video.

Ritchie found music when he was growing up in Tuskegee, Ala. His grandmother taught him how to play formally, as he says. “She would show me how to play the piece properly on the piano with the hand music,” he said. “Instead of watching the music, I would watch her hands.”

Richie continued to reflect on his illustrious career, and it turns out that becoming a legendary musician was not part of the plan when the Commodores was formed.

According to Richie, the plan behind forming the college band was to meet all the girls. It wasn’t long after forming the Commodores that Richie realized the sky was the limit — at least according to themselves. Richie said of the early years of the band, “When you’re 19 to 25, everything is possible. We’re the black Beatles; we’re the Commodores — and we’re going to take over the world.”

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