Album: Endless Love Soundtrack (1981)
Charted: 7 1
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  • This song was from the 1981 film of the same name starring Brooke Shields. The film, which was based on a best-selling novel of the same name, was not very successful, but the song received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and won a Marquee Award in 1982 for Best Original Song.
  • This ended up being one of the most popular songs of the '80s, but it began with more modest ambitions. Lionel Richie had risen from saxophone player in the Commodores to lead vocalist and primary songwriter in the group. He was still with them when Endless Love director Franco Zeffirelli asked him to write an instrumental theme along the lines of Henry Mancini's theme from the 1971 film Love Story. Richie, who was eager to add "film soundtrack" to his resumé, used a piece of music he had written for the Commodores but was never recorded. But then Zeffirelli decided he wanted lyrics. And that it should be a duet, maybe with Diana Ross. So Richie's assignment went from devising an instrumental theme song to composing and performing on a fully-formed duet with the most popular female vocalist in America. He was up for the challenge.

    With lots of experience writing sentimental love songs, Richie penned some lyrics, using hyperbolic lines like "You're every breath that I take," befitting the movie title.
  • This was released on the Motown label, which was home to both artists (the Commodores were a Motown act, and Richie stayed on the label as a solo artist). Ross, though, left Motown two months before it was released, signing a $20 million deal with RCA. Motown made the most of what they had recorded from Ross, and included "Endless Love" on a Diana Ross compilation album called All the Great Hits, which was also released in 1981. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • Getting the singers together to record this song was a challenge. They ended up meeting at a recording studio in Reno, Nevada in the early morning of May 8, 1981 following Ross' concert in nearby Lake Tahoe (Richie came in from Los Angeles). The session began around 3:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, they had their vocals on tape.
  • Lionel Richie launched his solo career the year after this song was released. He leveraged the "endless love" theme on his first single, "Truly," which finds him singing, "This love will last forever." That was also a #1 hit.
  • This song was rush-recorded because Richie and Ross had to move on to fulfill other obligations. Richie revealed to The Sun March 18, 2009, that he considers the recording of this song to have been "a disaster." He explained: "I'd not written a duet before but the record company suddenly changed the song to a duet and got Diana Ross in. She arrived at the studio and told me she wants my part. I have to kind of make her part up because I can't sing in that key. What you hear on the record is what happened on the day as it had to go out the next day for the movie."
  • Richie told The Sun March 13, 2009, "Letting others in to write for you is scary but also really creative." He added that he recalled when he did it for Diana Ross with this song, "I wasn't sure I could do it. What if they didn't like it? But I was cocky in a way, I told them to trust me. It was a great learning experience for all of us."
  • In 1994, Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross recorded this for Vandross' album Songs. It became Luther's biggest hit, going to #2 in the US.
  • Ross and Richie performed this song at the Oscars in 1982, where it was nominated for Best Original Song (it lost to "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"). Ross was used to this focused attention, but it was new to Richie, who was accustomed to sharing the stage with his band. After this performance, which reached a global audience in the hundreds of millions, Richie knew he would have to come into the spotlight as a solo artist.
  • This went to #1 in the US on August 15, 1981 - a little over three months after it was recorded. It stayed on top for an astonishing nine weeks, and also showed remarkable crossover appeal, topping the R&B chart for seven weeks and the Adult Contemporary chart for three.
  • This has a longer reign at #1 (nine weeks) than any other Motown single to this point ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was the previous Motown record holder, with seven weeks on top). Boyz II Men claimed the title when "End of the Road" lasted 13 weeks at #1 in 1992.
  • Ross and Richie were on different trajectories when this song was released. Ross became a superstar in the '60s with her group The Supremes, and was one of the most popular solo artists of the '70s. Richie was just beginning his solo career, which took him to great heights in the '80s, with four #1 hits. Ross' next single, "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," went to #7, but she never got higher.
  • This wasn't the last time Ross and Richie sang together: they both appeared on "We Are The World," which Richie co-wrote with Michael Jackson.
  • Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow sing this at the end of the Friends episode "The One With The Giant Poking Device" (1996).

    It was also used in these TV series:

    Scandal ("Where The Sun Don't Shine" - 2014)
    Glee ("Ballad" - 2009), performed by Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele
    King of Queens ("G'Night Stalker" - 2005), sung by Kevin James and Leah Remini
    Designing Women ("Anthony Jr." - 1987)

    And in these movies:

    Blended (2014)
    Baby Mama (2008)
    Happy Gilmore (1996)

Comments: 16

  • K from OhI think the lyric is wrong here, it is "the only thing that's right".

    This song kept playing on the radio right after my brother died in a car accident. All I could think about was him and his fiancée, who I thought had the most idealistic love I could imagine. She was a very nice young lady and my brother was a terrific person who everyone admired for his thoughtfulness and sense of humor and was loved much, a beautiful couple, too. What a tragedy, I don't know how she got over it, she kept her distance from the family after the funeral. Of course, we never got over it, time soothes pain but the hole was there for the remainder of our lives and I am the last one remaining of the family now.

    Just saw the movie the other night, 2022, for the first time. I cannot believe Zeffirelli did this or maybe it was Shields' acting, but she was very young.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 17th 1981, the Universal Pictures movie 'Endless Love' opened theaters across the U.S.A. and Canada...
    Twelve days earlier on July 5th, 1981 the theme song by Ms. Ross & Mr. Richie entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #54; and on August 9th, 1981 it peaked at #1 (for 9 weeks) and spent over a half-year on the Top 100 (27 weeks)...
    While at #1 it prevented three different records from reaching #1; "Theme from 'Greatest American Hero' (Believe It Or Not) by Joey Scarbury (#2 for 2 weeks), "Slow Hand" by the Pointer Sisters (#2 for 3 weeks), and "Queen of Hearts" by Juice Newton (#2 for 2 weeks).
  • Sandy from Enterprise, FlI find this song incredibly sexy.
  • Matthew from East Brunswick, NjLionel and Shania Twain just made a single of this recently... got a good country feel, but its actually pretty good!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NySpent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Singles Chart; was also was nominated for Best Song at the 1981 Academy Awards {Lost to "Arthur's Theme" from the movie "Arthur"}!!!
  • Dean from Miami , FlThis is one of the best songs of all time....You can feel the great chemistry between Lionel and Diana when you listen to the song.
  • Mike from Pittsburgh, PaAs I also listened to this tune during the Happy
    Gilmore movie, I was over all impressed with the
    vocals and started to test my knowledge as to who
    the singers were! I seemed to know that it was Lionel and someone who I wasn't sure. As I would
    listen even more intensely I thought it could be
    Streisand. I guss I knew all along it was Diana but as Jim Morrison stated a decade before, she
    was "Breakin On Through" with her unlimited vocal
  • John from Nashville, TnBefore ENDLESS LOVE, Diana was unlucky on the charts when it came to duets during her solo career. Her two top-20 duets with Marvin Gaye were considered commercial dissapointments since they were both coming off of huge #1 hits ("Touch Me In The Morning" and "Let's Get It On" repectively). Then she recorded "Ease On Down The Road" with Micheal Jackson in 1978 which stalled at #41 on the pop charts. That same year, Miss Ross teamed up with Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson to record "Pops We Love You", which crawled on the hot 100.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxWhat's the big deal?? Two people can listen to "Endless Love" in the dark!
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceSpeaking of ballads and the 1980s, it's impossible to go too far without discussing duets pairing male and female singers, and there was no finer example of this than this overwrought but undeniably engaging tune from 1981. Richie certainly covered this same kind of ground effectively in his solo career, but the addition of a capable female singer with whom to exchange verses raises this song to another level. It helped that Ross was far more than capable.
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiAmazing how such a memorable song originated from a now all-but-forgotten movie. Then again, considering that the movie was basically about a 17-year-old boy banging a 15-year-old girl, perhaps it's just as well. (On the plus side though, Endless Love did mark the film debut of one James Spader.)
  • Michelle M. from Valley Fever, CaFrog Jog scored big time tonight (August 17, 2005) with this one, thanks in large part to the rapidfire response of teammate Rico. Rico pegged Mr. Richie's distinctive male vocals, prompting fellow Frog Jogger Don to confidentally take down the answer, but we were still one answer away from closing on this lovers' duet and many miles away from closing in on the Gaza Strip Club. Love may be endless in this 1981 hit record but time, certainly, is not. Not in this pub and not on this night. "Patti LaBelle?" offered first-timer Peter, tentatively. "NO!" screamed first-timer Michelle, clutching a makeshift clipboard in the form of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age even more fiercely to her chest, willing the answer forth from her white-hot knuckles. "Kirsten Dunst" insisted trivia regular Amy. "NO!" screamed all but Julia who slept on a makeshift bartop pillow, dreaming of better bars where food is served during evening hours to normal, hungry, jogging frogs. "Diana Ross" teammate Jason proposed, delicately at first and then quite firmly despite initial ("too breathy") rejections. All of the frogs stopped their blind jogging toward the Gaza Strip Club and conjured an image of Ms. Ross at the mic. Amy still saw Dunst in a wig but for the most part the image stuck. The answer was gotten and this round was closed.

    But for a while, just a short while, the pub and its promise of a $275 dollar fortune remain open to 7 frogs who shared on this night a most Endless Love.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaNo question one of the greatest love songs ever written.
  • Daniel from Coventry, EnglandThis was also covered by Dionne Warwick and Tom Jones.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrMariah Carey and Luther Vandross did this song as a duet together on Luther Vandross's 1994 album, "Songs".
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaThis song is in Happy Gilmore!!!!! When their at the skating rink, Happy has this song played
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