Belfast Telegraph

Lionel Richie: My music transcends conflict

Lionel Richie heard a rumour his songs were played simultaneously by opposing factions in Iraq.

The legendary 64-year-old musician has churned out multiplatinum singles such as All Night Long (All Night) and Truly during his nearly five-decade long career.

Lionel heard a rumour about his songs recently that blew his mind.

“I was told that when US troops went into Baghdad all the shop owners, the people in the city, wanted to let them know they were welcome,” he told British newspaper The Mirror.

“So everyone played All Night Long from the buildings as the troops rolled in.

“The other half of the story is even nuttier. A commander of the first attack group told me they wanted a battle song to let people know they were friendly and were coming to liberate them.

“So they played Dancing on the Ceiling from their Humvees! Lionel Richie met Lionel Richie. That was very, very cool.”

Lionel believes music can build bridges between people.

He is convinced his songs in particular are an agent of peace and is committed to performing in the conflict-laden countries of the world.

“We have played some of the world’s roughest areas, but as soon as we show up you would not know there was a conflict,” he explained.

“One day I’d like to play Baghdad.”

Lionel is looking forward to a show in London on July 14 at the British Summer Time Hyde Park festival.

The star can feel the UK crowd’s outpouring of love when he’s on stage.

“I have to tell you, it will be like a reunion of my closest friends. There is something very, very spiritual about playing in front of a crowd in Hyde Park,” Lionel said.

“They know every word to every song I have ever done. It’s almost like a massive karaoke session across the generations.”

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