All Night Long (All Night)

Album: Can't Slow Down (1983)
Charted: 2 1


  • Written by the man himself, this was Lionel Richie's fourth solo single - the first being a duet with Diana Ross. "All Night Long..." is basically a fun track. Released on the Motown Label in both 7-inch and 12-inch formats, co-produced with James Carmichael and backed by "Wandering Stranger," it topped the Hot 100 for four weeks. The radio edit runs to 4 minutes 16 seconds; the album version to 6 minutes 25 seconds. The song also sold well internationally, and was performed by Richie at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Lionel Richie told CNN: "What I try to write about are real events. There will always be an easy like Sunday morning. There will always be an endless love. There will always be an all night long."
  • Richie said to CNN that it took him about two months write this song. He explained: "I just couldn't find the ending - I couldn't find all night long to save my life. I had everything, the verses, the middle part, all the stuff. I just did not have all night long. It took me forever to find it. And finally one night, the heavens opened up and came through."
  • Richie told The Epoch Times that he got the vibe for this song from his vacations in the Caribbean. He explained: "I'm one of those guys that - I don't look for something new. I look for what people do everyday. And I noticed that, anytime I would come on vacation, everybody who can rap is on vacation doing a calypso dance. Everybody who's singing Opera, they conform to some form of calypso or some form of reggae. So when I went back to do 'All Night Long' it was very simple. All I had to do was find that beat that everybody dances to when they go on vacation."
  • There is a very multicultural vibe to this song, as Richie mentions joyful words in different languages. "Karamu" is a Swahili word for a party accompanied by a feast; "Liming" is a Caribbean term for getting together, and "Fiesta" is Spanish for party.
  • Richie explained to Q the lyric, "Tambo liteh sette mo-jah! Yo! Jambo jambo:" "I called the UN and said 'I need something African for the breakdown in this song I'm writing.' They informed me that there are thousands of different African dialects. I couldn't believe it. One region doesn't have any idea what the other is taking about. So, 'Tambo liteh sette mo-jah!'? I made it up on the spot. Now I think that 'Jambo' might have a meaning in Swahili (it does- "hello"), but you gotta be careful because it might mean 'welcome' in one dialect and you might get your head cut off for saying it in another."
  • A young Richard Marx, before he found fame with his own hits such as "Right Here Waiting," supplied backing vocals on this track. He told Songfacts the "jambo" section was a moving target. "It kept changing," he said. "He kept getting different notes from people saying, 'That's actually not what that means. Change this vowel.' So, we had to do it a couple of times on different days."

    Lionel Richie was an early mentor to Richard Marx, who also lent his vocals to several of Richie's other recordings, including "Running With The Night" and "You Are." Said Marx, "Working with him in the studio was always just fun. He makes everything fun. He has got an incredible energy about him - positive energy. I can't say enough about him."
  • This song became an anthem for the Iraqi people during the 2003 invasion. Richie told Q magazine July 2009: "Recently I met the commander of the 190 Brigade. He said his troops put speakers on their Humvees and played 'Dancing On The Ceiling.' they arrived to hear 'All Night Long.' The fall of Baghdad was played out to my songs, which is a bit frightening."
  • This was the first Lionel Richie video to make an impact on MTV. "When MTV started, it wanted nothing to do with black artists," he said in the book I Want My MTV. "But then I gave them 'All Night Long' after Michael (Jackson) had broken down the door. And from then on I was on MTV."
  • Lionel Richie's wife had a Jamaican gynecologist. In order to ensure that he was pronouncing the Caribbean words that he uses on this song correctly, Richie called the gynecologist, who replied, "I'm right in the middle of an appointment, can we talk later?"
  • The party atmosphere on this song was replicated by Richard Perry when he produced the 1985 DeBarge hit "Rhythm Of The Night." Perry had the group make the celebratory sounds in the studio.
  • Richie was met with incredulity when he revealed that he was releasing this Calypso-flavored song. He told Entertainment Weekly in 2014: "Even my own record company said to me, 'Are you out of your mind?' And I said, 'Guys, I've traveled the world. This is the rhythm that the whole world dances to on vacation.'"
  • Richie performed this song at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Among the dancers was a young Cuba Gooding Jr., making his first appearance as an entertainer.

    For this performance, Richie wrote a different set of lyrics, which begin:

    Hello to you all, these many who are here
    Come and join me in this special cheer
  • In 2014, this song's lyrics were used in a commercial for Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas. The spot featured a man speaking the song, beginning with, "Well my friends the time has come, to raise the roof and have some fun."
  • When Richie was honored with the Person of the Year award at the Grammys in 2016, he sang this along with John Legend, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Luke Bryan and Tyrese, who each performed one of his hits before Richie took the stage.
  • In a 2018 commercial for TD Ameritrade that aired in the Super Bowl pregame, Richie learns about their after-hours trading platform, and is asked what it means to him. "I can trade... all evening long," he replies. Then, "all night, through its entirety" and "the time from sunset to sunrise."
  • In 1984, this was used in the first episode of the TV series Miami Vice in a scene where a bar band plays it. Other TV series to use the song include:

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine ("Bachelor/ette Party" - 2018, "The Night Shift" - 2016)
    The Last Man on Earth ("She Drives Me Crazy" - 2015)
    South Park ("Taming Strange" - 2013)
    The Simpsons ("Moe Goes from Rags to Riches" - 2012)
    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ("Charlie Rules the World" - 2012)

    It also appears in these movies:

    The Wedding Singer (1998)
    The Fifth Element (1997)

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 1st 1983, a video of Lionel Richie performing "All Night Long" was aired on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Nineteen days earlier on September 11th, 1983 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #62; and on November 6th, 1983 it peaked at #1 {for 4 weeks} and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on October 16th, 1983 it also reached #1 {for 7 weeks} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    On November 6th, 1983 it once again reached #1 {for 4 weeks}, this time on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart {during 1983 he had two other #1 records on the 'Adult' chart; "You Are" for 6 weeks and "My Love" for 4 weeks, for a grand total of 14 weeks at #1 during 1983}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThree completely different records titled "All Night Long" have charted; in 1980 Joe Walsh peaked at #19 with his, in 1962 Sandy Nelson's instrumental reached #75, and in 1956 Jo Stafford just made the Top 100 with hers, it peaked at #99!!!
  • Sue from Eugene, OrWhen the orchestra started to play this song after the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics in LA, all the athletes and people on the field pontaneously began to dance. The people in the stands were mesmerized. The orchestra, obviously caught up in the feeling of ...words fail me..maybe "unity".. continued to play the chorus
    and the athletes kept dancing. Finally the officials decided it was dangerous and shut down the music. But for that few minutes, Lionel Richie gave the athletes, the crowd, and even those of us thousands of miles away watching the event on TV, the joy of celebrating together. I always thought I was the only person moved by this event, but have talked to other people my age and they also remember.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword; I guess music is too.
  • Douglas from Cincinnati, OhAll Night Long was actually Richie's 5th solo single(if you count Endless Love). Between Endless Love & All Night Long, he charted with Truly, You Are & My Love.(D. Davis, Cincinnati, OH)
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."

Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside StorySong Writing

The in-depth discussion about the making of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in the 1973 film.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.