Running With The Night

Album: Can't Slow Down (1983)
Charted: 9 7
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Songfacts®:

  • Notwithstanding the nexus between Bill Haley and Chuck Berry going back to the 1950s, Michael Jackson is generally credited with the fusion of black music and contemporary rock. But he was far from the only artist to do so, and shortly after the release of Jackson's Thriller album, Lionel Richie unleashed Can't Slow Down, the multi-platinum album which features the uptempo smash hit "Running With The Night."

    Richie co-wrote this with the lyricist Cynthia Weil, and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael; the blistering guitar solo is played by Steve Lukather of Toto. Released on the Motown label, the radio edit runs to 4 minutes 5 seconds, and the album version to 6 minutes 2 seconds. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • This song has a very urban vibe, with Richie singing about an exciting and memorable night in the city with his lady love. The lyric is vague but poetic, leaving the listener to fill in the details as the couple roams the boulevard, wild and free. A key line comes after the title when we learn they were "playing in the shadows," enjoying everything a city at night has to offer until the sun comes up.
  • When a young Richard Marx moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and was amassing rejection letters for his demos, Lionel Richie gave him a shot, and had him sing backup on this track. Before he hit it big as a solo artist, Marx lent his vocals to several other Richie recordings, including "All Night Long (All Night)."
  • The second single from the Can't Slow Down album, this was sandwiched between two US #1 hits: the first single "All Night Long (All Night)" and the third, "Hello." This run of hits spanned six months, with "All Night Long" hitting the top in November 1983, "Running With The Night" peaking at #7 in February 1984, and "Hello" going to #1 in May 1984.
  • Richie's "Hello" video, where he seduces a blind student in a pottery class, is his most memorable one from this era, but "Running With The Night" also had a very ambitious video, also directed by Bob Giraldi. It finds Richie crashing a wedding and livening up the party with a group dance number, which was all the rage in videos at the time. Richie is not known for his dancing, but he executes some basic choreography in the clip.
  • The 7" single version features a slightly different mix, with louder synths and an extra bit of vocal during the fadeout, in addition to being edited down by nearly two minutes. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeffrey - Wichita, KS
  • Richie sang this on January 28, 1985 to open the American Music Awards, where he won five trophies. He also hosted the show, meaning he had to show up in the morning for rehearsals. After the broadcast, his night was far from over. He and 44 other singers headed to A&M Recording Studios to record "We Are The World," which he wrote with Michael Jackson. The session didn't end until the next morning, capping a very productive and exhausting day for Richie.

Comments: 1

  • Tij from FranceYes the guitar solo is provided by Steve Lukather from Toto. From Toto as well is Jeff Porcaro who provides the drums. Speaking about the guitar solo by Lukather, recorded in only one take, unbeknownst to him! Basically Lukather told Richie and producer Carmichael: ok just play it so that I can warm up on it. They played it without telling Lukather they were recording it already. When Luke said, "ok I think I got it. I'm ready, let's do this", Richie told him: "it's done! what you just did is perfect!". Lukather's session was complete within 15min.
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