R&B artist Lionel Richie will be receiving the Icon Award at this years' American Music Awards. The honor comes after several key moments of Richie's career have played out on the AMAs stage over the years.
Richie, who hosted the awards show in both 1984 and 1985 at the peak of his career, will take the stage to look back on his most iconic songs and AMA achievements over the years. He will become the only artist to be featured on the AMAs stage in every decade since the show’s inception in 1974. That was the same year Richie landed his first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Commodores’ instrumental hit “Machine Gun.” Richie won his first two AMAs with Commodores and the rest for his solo career. The Icon Award will be his 18th AMA.
In January 1984, Richie became the first person to solo-host the AMAs. He returned as a solo host the following year for what was surely one of the most memorable nights of his life. He won a then-record six awards that night. Immediately following that night’s telecast, he and many of the other performers on the show headed to A&M Studios in Hollywood to record the humanitarian anthem “We Are the World,” which Richie co-wrote with Michael Jackson.
“I’m immensely grateful for a career that has taken me to places I never imagined that I’d go, from arenas worldwide to studio sets to the AMA stage,” Richie said in a statement. “I can recall one of the first times I got to perform at the AMAs. It was to sing ‘We Are the World’ among the most iconic musicians of my generation, so it is surreal to be receiving this recognition 36 years later.”
“Lionel Richie has had a profound impact on countless people around the world and on the music industry as a whole,” executive producer and showrunner Jesse Collins said in a statement. “From the millions of dollars raised due to ‘We Are the World’ to the global influence his unique sound still has today, Richie is the definition of a living legend and honoring him with the AMAs Icon Award is a no-brainer.”
Of course, the iconic Richie has more than just AMAs influence to his name. The musician became one of the most successful balladeers of the 80s, selling over 100 million records worldwide – also making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. He has won four Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for "We Are the World" and Album of the Year for Can't Slow Down. His song "Endless Love" was nominated for an Academy Award, while "Say You, Say Me" won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
In 2016, Richie received the Songwriters Hall of Fame's highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award. That same year, he was named MusiCares’ Person of the Year. This year, he's been inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame and received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress. He was just recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.
Hosted by Wayne Brady, the 2022 American Music Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 8pm ET/PT on ABC. The show will stream the next day on Hulu.
See Lionel Richie's Icon Award announcement below.
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