Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
Recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, this was the second #1 song from Richie's second solo album after leaving the Commodores. Can't Slow Down won the 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year, and is the biggest-selling album in the history of Motown Records. (thanks, Charles - Charlotte, NC)
When he was young, Richie watched beautiful women walk past but was too shy to talk to them. He thought to himself, "Hello, is it me you're looking for." Years later he started to write a song using the phrase but got stuck and gave up, but his record producer liked the line and urged him to finish it.
Richie had this song written for his first solo album, but he left it off. His wife Brenda loved the song, and insisted he include it on his second album, Can't Slow Down.
In 1984, the songwriter Marjorie White sued Lionel Richie, claiming that "Hello" was based on her 1978 song, "I'm Not Ready To Go."
When you think of Motown, you probably think of Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations, but Lionel Richie was also one of their biggest stars, and "Hello" was one of their biggest hits, especially in Britain. It was Motown's first ever UK million selling single.
The song was promoted with a much derided video which included dialogue. Lionel Richie plays a teacher, Mr. Reynolds, who falls in love with a blind pottery student, Laura. When he looks in at her class, he finds that she has made a perfect clay model of his head During the making of the video, Richie protested to the director Bob Giraldi that the story about the blind woman had no relationship to the song. Giraldi replied to him, "You're not creating the story, I am."
The video was voted the worst music video of all time in a poll of 8,000 music fans by UK TV music channel The Box, but Giraldi, who also directed Michael Jackson's "Beat It
," stands by it. He's quoted in the book I Want My MTV
as saying, "I came up with the idea of a blind girl and Lionel as a teacher. 'Hello' is one of the top videos ever." Giraldi adds that Richie was concerned that the bust didn't look like him, until Giraldi pointed out that the girl making it was supposed to be blind.
The girl who played the blind sculptress in the video was a 26-year-old fully-sighted aspiring actress named Laura Carrington. She played Dr. Simone Ravelle Hardy #1 on General Hospital in the late 1980s.
Richie played the piano on this track. Other musicians who played on it include Darrell Jones and Tim May on guitars, Paul Leim on drums, and Joe Chemay on bass.
This was featured in the 2005 movie The 40 Year Old Virgin. It was used in a scene when Andy receives a collection of dirty movies.
If you ever encounter Richie, please resist the urge to say, "Hello, is it me you're looking for?" The singer says that he hears this line constantly - not just on the phone, but pretty much anywhere he goes.
The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.