As a warm-up to a Grammy Awards ceremony expected to be laden with tributes, the world of music yesterday celebrated Lionel Richie during the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year show. The glamorous event was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and attracted the who-is-who of the industry. Much as the evening belonged to that legendary singer-songwriter, there was an important cause behind the festivities. MusiCares is an organization set up to provide critical assistance to music people whenever they need it. Raising funds towards its kitty was another of the reasons the industry’s elite were gathered in L.A. And with a record $7 million raised on the night, it’s safe to say that objective was met.
But Lionel was also given his proper due. A raft of artists from virtually all parts of the musical spectrum gave renditions of some of the songs that etched the former Commodore in the history books of music. Usher got the performances to a rousing start as he belted out ‘Lady (You Bring Me Up)’, one of The Commodores’ biggest hits. At hand to infuse ‘Jesus is Love’, another Commodores favorite, with power and grace was gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams. There was still time for Stevie Wonder to offer the audience a jacked-up version of the timeless Richie ballad ‘Three Times a Lady’. From the world of rock and roll Lenny Kravitz came, accompanied by guitarist Craig Ross to deliver a scintillating cover of 80s pop classic ‘Running With the Night’.
Rihanna was also present, and she gave a touching soulful rendition of ‘Say You, Say Me’ but Dave Grohl singing ‘You Are’ was undoubtedly one of the show’s highlights. He said he was returning the compliment after Lionel Richie sent him a basketful of muffins as he recovered from a broken leg. Another notable moment was when the man of the hour stepped on stage to collect his accolade. After an honest speech filled with thank yous, Lionel stepped behind the microphone to croon ‘Hello’ and ‘All Night Long’. We can’t forget to mention the sight of host Jimmy Kimmel in that extravagant Commodores outfit, complete with afro.
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