Say You, Say Me

Album: White Nights soundtrack (1985)
Charted: 8 1

Songfacts®:

  • Lionel Richie was tasked by director Taylor Hackford to write the title theme to the 1985 movie White Nights. Richie, however, couldn't come up with a song with that title, so instead wrote "Say You, Say Me." It's a soft R&B ballad, with an upbeat dance bridge, about the pain of loneliness and the power of friendship. The film follows a Russian ballet dancer's (Mikhail Baryshnikov) ill-fated defection from the Soviet Union and his unlikely friendship with a tap dancer who defected from America (Gregory Hines).
  • Motown refused to let Atlantic Records include this on the movie's soundtrack album because they didn't want Richie's first release since his 1983's Can't Slow Down to be from a different label. Richie included the song on his next album, Dancing On The Ceiling (he was going to call it Say You, Say Me, but too much time passed between the single going to #1 in 1985 and the album's release in 1986). The single topped the Hot 100, the R&B chart, and the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • This earned Richie an Oscar for Best Original Song, beating out another #1 single from the movie, "Separate Lives," performed by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin. It also won a Golden Globe in the same category.
  • In 2012, Richie released the album Tuskegee, which featured country interpretations of his hits. Jason Aldean joined him on a version of this tune.
  • This was used on The Simpsons in the 2007 episode "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs" and Family Guy in the 2017 episode "Petey IV." It was also featured in the 2017 movie Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson.

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