Definitive Collection

Definitive Collection

4.5 6
by Lionel Richie
     
 

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Few artists were more ubiquitous during the '80s than multiple-Grammy winner Lionel Richie. It's hard to think of another pop star from that time or since who could write and sing both earnest, two-tissue ballads such as "Hello" and "Truly" and gleefully danceable ditties such as "Dancing on the Ceiling" and "All Night Long." Richie's talent is that singular, so it's… See more details below

Overview

Few artists were more ubiquitous during the '80s than multiple-Grammy winner Lionel Richie. It's hard to think of another pop star from that time or since who could write and sing both earnest, two-tissue ballads such as "Hello" and "Truly" and gleefully danceable ditties such as "Dancing on the Ceiling" and "All Night Long." Richie's talent is that singular, so it's fitting that the charismatic performer, who fronted the Commodores in the '70s, would get his props with The Definitive Collection -- a more comprehensive package than 1992's 14-song greatest-hits compilation, Back to Front. On this essential collection, which spotlights the hit maker's early-'80s peak, Richie offers fans 18 of his best-loved songs, including the aforementioned "Hello" from 1983's Grammy Album of the Year, Can't Slow Down, and his wedding-staple duet with Diana Ross, "Endless Love," as well as five of his biggest songs with the Commodores, including "Easy" and "Three Times a Lady." After a conspicuous absence from the spotlight during the late '80s, Richie made a tepid comeback in the '90s, which garnered the R&B hit "Do It to Me," and later scored with the club favorite "Angel," from his 2002 comeback disc, Renaissance; both songs are included here. Richie proves he hasn't lost his Midas touch or his pleasing pipes with two new songs: the country-tinged "To Love a Woman," featuring Enrique Iglesias, and the soon-to-be classic ballad "Goodbye." For diehard Richie fans and nostalgic '80s pop culturists alike, this is indeed a Definitive Collection.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/04/2003
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0044006814025
catalogNumber:
068140
Rank:
8015

Tracks

  1. Hello
  2. Just To Be Close To You
  3. Easy
  4. Running With The Night
  5. Three Times A Lady
  6. Still
  7. All Night Long (All Night)
  8. Endless Love
  9. Truly
  10. Penny Lover
  11. You Are
  12. Sail On
  13. Stuck On You
  14. Say You, Say Me
  15. Dancing On The Ceiling
  16. Do It To Me
  17. Ballerina Girl
  18. Angel
  19. To Love A Woman
  20. Goodbye

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lionel Richie   Primary Artist
Shane Keister   Piano
Eric Kupper   Keyboards
John Read   Bass
Robin Smith   Conductor
Russ Desalvo   Synthesizer,Guitar
Patrick Carroll   Electric Bass

Technical Credits

Commodores   Arranger,Producer
Lionel Richie   Composer,Producer,Vocal Arrangements,rhythm arrangement
Gene Page   Arranger
Jeff Bova   String Arrangements
James Anthony Carmichael   Arranger,Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,rhythm arrangement
David Cochrane   Composer
Mike Frenchik   Composer
Isobel Griffiths   String Contractor
Brenda Harvey Ritchie   Composer
Ronald LaPread   Composer
Stewart Levine   Producer,rhythm arrangement
Brian Rawling   Producer
Brenda Richie   Composer
Carlos Rios   Composer
Robin Smith   String Arrangements
Mark Taylor   Composer,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Rick Wake   Arranger,Producer
Cynthia Weil   Composer
Joe Wolfe   Engineer
Enrique Iglesias   Composer
Russ Desalvo   Arranger
Steven Ivory   Liner Notes
Vartan   Art Direction
Dug McGuirk   Engineer
Dave Scheuer   Engineer
Alan Silfen   Cover Photo,Inlay Photography
Richie Jones   Producer,drum programming
Perry Mason   String Conductor
Jim Annunziato   Engineer
Patrick Carroll   drum programming,Percussion Programming
Carlos Paucar   Vocal Engineer
Paul Barry   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination

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