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The Definitive Collection

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Album Review

It's hard to believe, but prior to the 2003 release of The Definitive Collection, there wasn't a proper hits collection in Lionel Richie's catalog. A decade earlier, Motown dipped their toe in the water with the jumbled Back to Front, which tried desperately to camouflage its nature as a comp with three new songs, which, at 14 tracks, hurt the hit quotient dramatically. This, however, gets it almost all right. Spanning 20 tracks (only two of which are new, tacked onto the end; while not especially memorable, neither is bad), this collection has nearly all the big hits from his solo recordings (the Top Ten "Love Will Conquer All" is notably absent, but that's the only chart-topper not here), along with five Commodores ballads that showcase Richie the balladeer at a peak: "Just to Be Close to You," "Easy," "Three Times a Lady," "Still," "Sail On." Since these were the first tracks to showcase Lionel Richie as a talent separate from the Commodores, their presence is welcome on a collection of his solo hits, and they indeed make this a fuller experience, since this now has all of Richie's soft rock hits in one place. Taken together, it's a formidable body of work, making a clear case for him as one of the preeminent soft rock craftsmen of the early '80s. True, the collection might have benefited slightly from a chronological track listing, but by jumping between albums, and between Commodores and solo material, the consistency of his records becomes evident. Few of his peers created singles as memorable as "Easy," the infectious "All Night Long (All Night)," "Truly," the sweetly melancholic "Hello," the insistent, gently ominous "Running with the Night," "Just to Be Close to You," and the ebullient "You Are," as delightful as 45s came in the early days of the Reagan Administration. Not everything here quite reaches those standards — admittedly, those are the hits upon which his reputation lay, plus they're the best that soft pop got in the '80s — but the rest is all well-crafted and easily enjoyable, proving that Lionel Richie is a singular adult contemporary talent. He may be sappy, but he's got skills. [The import version included two discs.]

Customer Reviews

Doesn't get any better

It has been a long time comming but finally there is a one stop shop for all the lionel classics. there is nothing better then kicking back and listening to some smooth hits such as "hello" and "easy",that only a true soulfull musician such as lionel could create. not one song doesn't touch, involve and capture you into the deep and soulfull world that is lionel richie.

Lionel gets better with age!

We purchased this double album just before going to his Brisbane concert in December 2007, just to get "in the mood". He is the ultimate performer and a true gentleman! His voice on stage is just as good as on the album. It was an honour to see him on stage last night.

lionel's collection

When Lionel performed at the replay of the last years australian football leagues grand final between saint kilda and collingwood, it was truly one of the best performances that the melbourne cricket ground had ever seen. It certainly left the washed up inxs who performed in the first drawn grand final for dead. Lionel got the audience truly hooked on his wonderful brand of rnb music. His voice sounded exactly like it does here for all of his hits. I was really pleased to see and hear the nothing from his early days with the commidoors was left out either. It's definitely worth the price, and it's definitely worth my 5 star rating.


Born: 20 June 1949 in Tuskegee, AL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After leaving the Commodores, Lionel Richie became one of the most successful male solo artists of the '80s, arguably eclipsed during his 1981-1987 heyday only by Michael Jackson and Prince. Richie dominated the pop charts during that period with an incredible run of 13 consecutive Top Ten hits, five of them number ones. As his popularity skyrocketed, Richie moved further away from his R&B origins and concentrated more on adult contemporary balladry, which had been one of his strengths even as part...
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The Definitive Collection, Lionel Richie
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