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Lionel Richie

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.
Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie Artistfacts
More Lionel Richie songs
More songs in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV
More songs covered by the Glee cast

Comments (23):

the song n the video r in contrast, for a reason. wonder who we are. stop n think
- Kimberly, Landing, NJ
love is the answer, as is love thy brother, amen. r vets love r country n die for us. lets all try to love them back.
nothing really to do with the song, but 11-11-11. respect.
- Kimberly, Landing, NJ
yes yes yes . the song is absolutely one of eyes of expression. , movement, knowledge. in its best form. where are souls where born . never forget our youth. as for that will tell the story of our lives over n over.
- Kimberly, Landing, NJ
The melody during the chorus of this always reminded me of the main guitar riff in the late Gary Moore's "Still Got The Blues".
- Jim, Morgantown, WV
Great song....Best of Lionel Richie....
- Hetfield, Port Louis, Mauritius
this is creepily sweet video and the song rocks
- jessie steele, bartlett, TN
This song is so emotional, the man is a living legend. I think that a lot of men could learn from him.
And the video...the way he calls her up and says moving.

It has inspired me to go to pottery classes.
- Spadey, London, United Kingdom
This song is so emotional, the man is a living legend. I think that a lot of men could learn from him.
And the video...the way he calls her up and says moving.

It has inspired me to go to pottery classes.
- Spadey, London, United Kingdom
This song is so emotional, the man is a living legend. I think that a lot of men could learn from him.
And the video...the way he calls her up and says moving.

It has inspired me to go to pottery classes.
- Spadey, London, United Kingdom
Incubus has done covers of this song live.
- Joe, Lockport, IL
This song was in the tbs show family guy. Peter gave Lois this cd for mothers day then peter listened to it and said Lionel my friend you have been hurt.
- aaron, boston, MA
In the music video for this song Mr.Richie is a school teacher that falls in love with a student.
- aaron, boston, MA
God, is this song dramatic!! I've probably heard it (and sung it) over 1,000 times. The combo of the chord that's played and the lyric melody when he sings "I can see it in your eyes" always gives me goosebumps. Damn, Lionel could craft a song.
- Jeff, Austin, TX
David Cook did a really good job covering this song on American Idol
i love it!
- joey, Nowhere Land, CA
People who are blind can still have expression in their eyes, they just can't see from them.
- Catherine, Glasgow, England
Classic! Really classic.
I love both this song and the actress.
- Michael, Beijing, China
The lady in the video was not blind, she is an actress
- Roddy, Waterford, Ireland
While the woman the song was sung to was blind you can still see expression in the eyes.
- bruce a hughes, Cabot, DE
Remember VH-1's show "Pop-up Video"? This particular pop-up video was hysterical.
- Ann, Fairway, KS
"Hello Is it me your looking for" Is a great answerphone message.
- Sarah, Sunderland
I absolutely love this song because it is so emotional
- Adam, Manchester, England
I think the video is one of the greatest videos ever made in the history of music. This song is also on Lionel Richie: The Definitive Collection, which has a medley of his best songs.
- AJ, Cleveland, GA
Although he sings "is it me, your looking for" and "I can see it in your eyes", in the video the love interest of LR is clearly blind. Now I wonder if anyone thought about the lines when they wrote the storyboard. BTW, this fact was discovered in the german tv show "Soundtrack of your life" by the german actor Oliver Korittke.
- Thorsten, Mannheim, Germany
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