80’s Mania Mondays: I Can’t Believe You Do What You Do

There are certain artists that you can’t dismiss when talking about the 1980’s. Michael Jackson, Prince, The Police, Madonna, Billy Joel and Phil Collins, to name a few. Another one that you can’t leave out is Lionel Richie, today’s featured artist.

Richie was a member of the Commodores, who had several funk and soul hits in the 1970s. Originally, the band was signed to Motown Records as a backup group for the Jackson 5. Eventually, they were allowed to perform their own songs, and in 1974 the group first hit with an instrumental called “Machine Gun.” From there, their stature grew and they began to make a bigger mark on the music industry, eventually landing pop top 10 hits like “Brick House,” and a string of ballads written by Richie such as “Three Times A Lady,” “Still” and “Sail On.”

After writing songs for Kenny Rogers (“Lady”) and Diana Ross (“Endless Love”), Richie’s fame as a songwriter began to outshine the group. He would leave the Commodores for a solo career in 1982, where he released is self-titled debut album. That album contained three top ten hits: “Truly” (which would go all the way to #1), “My Love,” and today’s song, “You Are”.

Through 1987, Richie was a force on the pop charts as well as R&B. His next album, Can’t Slow Down, proved to be his biggest hit, containing five top ten hits and also winning the Grammy for Album Of The Year in 1984. In 1985, Richie co-wrote the song “We Are The World” with Michael Jackson. After his album Dancing On The Ceiling was released in 1986, Richie took time off to spend with his father, who had become ill. Once he returned, his sales couldn’t match those he was able to achieve earlier in the decade.

Despite that, Richie still commands respect as one of music’s great songwriters and performers. Even at 67 years old, Richie is still revered, and still performs today. While his recording schedule has slowed to almost a standstill (his last album Tuskegee, was released in 2012), his music is still played all over the world. It is said that his song “All Night Long (All Night)” was playing in Baghdad when the U.S. tanks rolled into the city.

“You Are” was my favorite song from his debut album. Co-written with his then-wife Brenda, the song made it to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts. I suppose I could have held this one for tomorrow and #RomanticTuesday, but I wanted to say a few words on just how popular Richie was during the 80s.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

27 Replies to “80’s Mania Mondays: I Can’t Believe You Do What You Do”

  1. Ah this is it Tracy! This is it – back into the corners of my mind. I know exactly where I was when I first heard this song, it was definitely one of my favourites and I had the cassette. I guess the 80s was our coming of age huh! I love the list you’ve referred to in your post. I didn’t know that Lionel had written Kenny Roger’s Lady – many a slow dance to that one for sure.
    This one below is another favourite from the album you’ve featured

    I was listening to some old classics this weekend and wanted to share this old Stylistics song with you. Enjoy the rest of your day/evening . Chevvy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah yes…”Truly!” Another one of Lionel’s signature ballads. That Stylistics song I haven’t heard in a long time. It certainly doesn’t get played very much on this side of the world. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dang T.Wayne……
    Love this song and the commodores…I had many of his cds and of course the album of we are the world…
    I watched the documentary on the commodores pretty good stuff…
    Again my friend another great one for sure..
    Now if I had all the records and cds and cassettes that I did growing up..I would suspect that you have a stash that is pretty impressive ? or no?
    More huggs to you lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to have quite a stash of CDs and cassettes and LP’s too, but I ran out of space. The LP’s and cassettes I donated, mostly because I was able to get all or most of them on CD. Then when I had several CD towers that took up too much space, I sold a lot of them once I was able to convert them to digital files. But yes I still have quite a bit of music, but not quite as much as I once did. Thankfully, I was able to convert a lot to digital, even though my hard drive crashed, I got most of them back.

      Thanks again, Suzette!


    1. Somewhere along the way to him becoming a big pop star, all that “Alabama Lionel” he had with the Commodores just disappeared! LOL!!! I always say, compare his rap in “Just To Be Close To You” with anything he did solo and you can hear the difference. Which is not to say that I didn’t like his solo stuff-I did. It was just different.

      “Awwwah…you know I’ve been through so many changes in my life gahl….” Bwahahahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My college roommate was totally IN LOVE with Lionel Richie, so I heard this song (and the whole album) a billion times. I can’t hear this song without conjuring up an image of Shelly singing it into a hairbrush. LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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