Lionel Richie Goes Country, Sells 20,000 CDs in One Hour

Rolling Stone article here:

If I may put in my two cents:

It’s funny how anytime a pop artist crosses over into country music they always insist it was really a matter of realizing they were country all along. I wonder how Commodores fans would have reacted if Lionel had “realized” this at the height of their late-70’s success? It would have cost him money back then I reckon. But it’s sound business to get in touch with your inner Kenny Chesney after your pop career’s been on ice for a while. Ask Bon Jovi, Bob Seger and Darius Rucker, who never ‘fessed up to “being country” until they realized it was their best hope of getting airplay and selling new music. It’s called market positioning, but in the world of art it feels a little disingenuous.

I love Lionel Richie’s songs. And, to be fair, they don’t really sound all that out of place in a country setting. I can see why this album is selling so well. But this smacks of an R&B legend selling his soul…so to speak.

Who’ll be the next pop icon to let us know he’s “always been country”? How about Billy Joel?…are you ready for the “Piano Man” duet with Toby Keith?

Me neither.


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