80年代的巨星，除了Michael Jackson、Madonna、Prince和Phil Collins…之外，Lionel Richie也是不该被我们遗漏的一个。
Lionel Richie 是真正“情歌王子”，在奢华的80年代，Lionel Richie 的歌声丝毫没有一点夸张的华丽之气，款款深情的演唱一直是他对歌迷的真正礼物。
早期的「海军準将」，作品以节奏强劲的「放克」与灵魂乐为主，随著莱诺李奇的作曲技巧越来越成熟，他们逐渐转型，以莱诺李奇谱写并主唱的抒情歌谣曲风靡了歌坛，陆续拥有了包括「Easy」、「Brick House」、「Three Times a Lady」、「Still」和「Oh No」等等名满天下的畅销曲，其中的「Three Times a Lady」和「Still」，更曾经名列全美排行的冠军。当然，这些都是他创作生涯中最重要的作品。
莱诺李奇富有变化的才华，引起了肯尼罗杰斯（Kenny Rogers）的高度兴趣，特别邀请他出马谱写、并且制作「Lady」，获得了爆炸性的成功，肯尼罗杰斯并且把自己的经纪人介绍给他，引发了他尝试独立的念头。在进一步以电影「无尽的爱」同名主题曲「Endless Love」造成更大的轰动后，他终於在1982年正式宣告退出「海军準将」，开始单飞，推出首张个人同名专辑「Lionel Richie」，果然立刻就以「Truly」夺下了他个人生涯的第一个冠军。接著，他在1983年推出第二张个人专辑「Can't Slow Down」，获得了更大的成功，专辑总共只有八首歌曲，却有五首打进排行前十名，其中更包括两首冠军，不但勇夺该年度「最佳专辑」葛莱美奖，更以超过一千万张的销售总数，在二十世纪美国最畅销一百张唱片中，名列第五十六。而来自这张专辑的代表作，我们就可以听到「Hello」、「Penny Lover」、「All Night Long」和「Stuck on You」。
由於从「海军準将」到「无尽的爱」、以及单飞之后的头两张专辑精彩的表现，莱诺李奇的才华受到了举世的公认，他在1985年春天应邀与麦可杰克森（Michael Jackson）合作，共同谱写了欧美流行艺人们连手为非洲难民们募款的「We Are the World」，轰动了国际。
接著，他又应邀为电影「飞越苏联」（White Nights）谱写一首同名的主题曲。他花了两个星期的时间，发现自己无法写出那样的一首歌，不过倒是谱成了另外一首他觉得可能很适合该片剧情的歌曲，那也就是「Say You, Say Me」。导演听过之后，也非常喜欢，因此决定放在片子结尾。结果，这首歌不但勇夺冠军，更囊括了奥斯卡与金球奖双料的「最佳电影歌曲」。由於歌曲使用权的关系，「Say You, Say Me」当年并没有收录在「飞越苏联」的原声带专辑中，而出现於莱诺李奇1986年的第三张个人专辑「Dancing on the Ceiling」裏面。这张专辑，虽然再度获得很高的评价，可惜销售的成绩却很明显的下滑，而他也就此进入蛰伏的情况，只有在1992年推出过一张精选集「Back to Front」，然后直到1996年，才发表阔别十年的「Louder Than Words」专辑，虽然仍旧有些抒情歌谣曲，但是并没有什麽突破的成就，而他不晓得误听了谁的建议，居然也跟随流行，唱起饶舌来，结果是吃力不讨好。
“Hello” – Lionel Richie的经典情歌，我还记得此曲安排他暗恋一个眼盲女生的MV剧情，蛮符合歌词中那种渴望爱情的心情。
“Stuck On You” – 有点乡村音乐的风味，合音听起来很舒服。
“The Only One” – David Foster典型的情歌，非常好听，没有上排行榜是遗珠之憾。
Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
Number of Discs: 1
A masterclass in polished soul balladry.
Daryl Easlea 2011-03-01
By 1983, Lionel Richie had become Motown’s biggest star almost by default. With Stevie Wonder always a law unto himself when it came to releasing albums and Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson all departing the imprint, a significant release was needed in the label’s much-lauded 25th year.
Jackson’s Thriller was the new high water-mark in commercial pop/soul. Richie, arguably Jackson’s nearest rival at that point, had seen Jackson return to his old label for one night only on Motown’s 25th Anniversary in May that year and upstage everybody with his version of Billie Jean. Although his self-titled debut solo album from 1982 had been a confident step away from the Commodores, Richie knew that the bar had been raised for his second album on which he was currently working.
Richie stepped up to the challenge and created Can’t Slow Down, an album that became almost as ubiquitous as Jackson’s landmark. Made by around 50 people, it is one of the smoothest, most closely produced albums of the 80s.
Can’t Slow Down is very good indeed, Richie’s last true moment as a cutting-edge balladeer. Stuck on You is in the line of Commodores love songs Sail On and Easy; Penny Lover and The Only One are sweet and beguiling. Although it became a laughing stock in some quarters because of its video with the blind girl making a statue of the singer’s head out of modelling clay, album closer Hello showcased the craft that Richie had made his mark of quality.
And although virtually all of his old Commodores grit had been worn smooth, there was still a modicum of spikiness in the title-track, Running with the Night and the late night soul of Love Will Find a Way, is like the musical equivalent of cooking a gourmet meal – a drizzle of piano here, a pinch of synthesizer, there; tasteful, and sweet.
Released just ahead of the album, All Night Long (All Night) is one of the last great Motown singles. Using a lilting, infectious rhythm and a mumbo-jumbo breakdown, Richie created a dance masterpiece.
Can’t Slow Down was, of course, a huge hit, and went on to sell over eight million copies and garnered sundry Grammys. It further established Lionel Richie as the go-to ballad singer for millions, and, unlike many other records made in the mid-80s, is still very listenable
By L.A. Scene
I felt this album was 1983's Album of the Year (even though it took a Grammy a year later). This album was the perfect answer to Michael Jackson's Thriller. On this album, Lionel Richie puts together an awesome suite of ballads and up-tempo songs that cement this as one of the great albums of all time. What makes this great is how Lionel brings in a potpourri of new avenues - Country/Western (Stuck on You), Calypso (All Night Long), Early New Age Instrumentals (The Only One), and Rock (Running with the Night). The background vocals are superb - especially by an artist who would soon emerge in his own right (see below).
The title track is very underrated. During the days of 80s Top 40 radio since this wasn't a single, it didn't get played on the airwaves. It was a shame because the song "Can't Slow Down" is one of the better tunes on the album. It has a nice uptempo beat and could easily be a song to groove to in the clubs.
"All Night Long" is a legendary song. The calypso combo was revolutionary back in 1983 and this song really took off. It also showed a new side to Lionel Richie as a songwriter and singer who was willing to explore new avenues of sound. This song also features background vocals by a an artist named Richard Marx, who would soon become a star in his own right.
"Penny Lover" is the pure classic Richie love song ballad. If you like a Lionel Richie ballad, you probably love Penny Lover. It's not the most popular Richie song, but it holds its own on the album.
"Stuck on You" shows another avenue that Lionel Richie explores - Country/Western. This song has a unique Country/Western feel. Perhaps working with Kenny Rogers rubbed off on Lionel Richie. The result is a classic ballad with this exciting feel to it.
"Love will Find A Way" is a weaker track on this album, but not a bad track. This is one of these songs that can pick you up when you're down. It has a distinct R&B flair to it that makes it enjoyable. Richard Marx also provides background vocals.
"The Only One" is another underrated song. It was co-written by David Foster who composes such great instrumentals like from "Love Theme from St. Elmos Fire". This song brilliantly brings the David Foster keyboard arrangements in with Lionel Richie's voice. This song was again a victim of the prejudice of Top 40 radio - it is a classic. Richard Marx again provides background vocals.
"Running with the Night" explores the Rock avenue with participation from Toto musicians. The highlight of this song is the great guitar solo by Toto Guitarist Steve Lukather. Jeff Porcaro also provides drums. This song has some excellent bridges and has a feel of excitement throughout the song. Richard Marx also provides background vocals.
"Hello" is just a pure emotional song. Many folks were hooked on this song because of the emotional video that featured a blind woman sculpting Lionel Richie, but this song really deserves to be heard on its own without watching the video.
This album is often a forgotten album in the 80s, but really deserves all the accolades. The most important thing to remember is its much more than Lionel Richie Love Songs - its a great collection of new avenues by one of the all time greats.
Can't Slow Down is the title of Lionel Richie's second solo album, which was released on October 11, 1983. The album reached #1 on the Billboard album chart on December 3, 1983, where it stayed for three weeks. It also spent 59 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10 (including the entire year of 1984) and a total of 160 weeks (over three years) on the Billboard 200. After being the third best-selling album of 1984, it went on to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1985 and by 1986 the album had sold 15 million copies, eventually selling over 20 million.
Can't Slow Down achieved the feat of having every single released hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Two songs, "Hello" and "All Night Long (All Night)", both went to #1. Other hits include "Stuck on You" (US #3), "Running With the Night" (US #7), and "Penny Lover" (US #8).
The single "Stuck on You" also reached #24 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart (now Hot Country Songs).
01. "Can't Slow Down" (David Cochrane, Richie) – 4:43
02. "All Night Long (All Night)" (Richie) – 6:25
03. "Penny Lover" (Brenda Harvey Richie, Richie) – 5:35
04. "Stuck on You" (Richie) – 3:15
05. "Love Will Find a Way" (Greg Phillinganes, Richie; Copyright WB Music/Poopy's Music, Brockman Music) – 6:16
06. "The Only One" (David Foster, Richie; Copyright Foster Frees Music, Brockman Music) – 4:24
07. "Running with the Night" (Richie, Cynthia Weil; Copyright Brockman Music, Dyad Music) – 6:02
08. "Hello" (Richie) – 4:11