We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably did not know about Lionel Richie, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about the singer and musician that you definitely (probably) did not know below. You might be surprised by what you find out!
Number Eight: He Was Strangely Involved in the Iraq War. When United States tanks entered Iraq in 2003, it was actually Richie’s song “All Night Long” that was played in the streets by Iraqi civilians. According to an ABC reporter, Iraqi authors read poetry that was inspired by Richie’s music at a literary festival in Erbil as well.
Number Seven: He Was Part of a Group Called The Mystics. Before Richie was part of the Commodores, he joined a musical group called the Mystics. The Mystics merged with another group called the Jays, and that’s how they became the Commodores.
Number Six: “All Night Long” Was Inspired by a Jamaican Gynecologist. Richie was having dinner with his friend and physician Lloyd Greig when he had an epiphany about the song. He had been struggling to find a hook for the song, and when Greig left, he said, “I’m going back to work all night long.” Richie knew that “all night long” was exactly what he needed.
Number Five: His Music Video for “All Night Long” Helped Break Barriers. At the time when “All Night Long” was released, playing African-American music videos was still taboo, and MTV told Richie that he wasn’t “rock ‘n roll” enough for the station. However, after “All Night Long” was voted the top video on MTV, it became much more acceptable.
Number Four: Pavarotti Was a Fan. Famous and now late operatic singer Luciano Pavarotti reportedly loved Richie. He even said that “All Night Long” was his favorite song!
Number Three: He Has Been Married Twice. Richie married his college sweetheart, Brenda Harvey, in 1975. They divorced in 1993 after Harvey discovered Richie was having an affair with Diana Alexander. Richie then married Diana Alexander in 1995, and they were together until 2004.
Number Two: He Has Three Children. Though most people know that Nicole Richie is Lionel Richie’s daughter, did you know he has two more kids as well? His two other children are named Miles and Sofia, and he had both of these kids with his second wife, Diana.
Number One: He Is a Grandpa! In 2008, Nicole gave birth to a daughter, making Lionel Richie a very proud grandfather.