Lionel Richie is only the fourth solo artist to debut at No. 1 on the Artist 100 chart

By Melody Chiu
September 03, 2019 01:35 PM
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Lionel Richie is sitting pretty at No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart.

After dropping his latest live album, Hello from Las Vegas, the singer debuted at the top of the chart and also hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200, according to Billboard.

According to the outlet, the live album is Richie’s sixth solo Top 10 on the Billboard 200. Only three other solo artists have debuted at the top of the Artist 100 chart, including Future, David Bowie and Frank Ocean.

As of Aug. 31, Richie, 70, was followed on the Artist 100 chart by Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, whose latest album Lover reportedly accounted for 27 percent of all U.S. album sales in its first week. (All 18 songs from the Grammy winner’s seventh studio album charted on the Hot 100, and she now ties with Elvis Presley for the 10th-most Top 10s in Hot 100 history.)

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Lionel Richie
| Credit: Sami Drain

In a wide-ranging interview with PEOPLE earlier this year, Richie opened up about his decades-long success.

“I left my mom and dad’s house to go to Tuskegee University, and I met my Commodore friends there,” Richie said of the funk-soul band he joined at the historically black college. “At the time I was seriously considering being an Episcopal priest. [But] the first time I played with the Commodores, a group of girls screamed. Up until that moment no one, no girl had ever screamed at me.”

Their enthusiasm was life-changing. “I didn’t play basketball, football, baseball. I played on the tennis team, and no girl ever screamed at the tennis court. It was right after those girls screamed, I remember saying to myself, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be priest material.’”

While his parents were hesitant about his choice of career, Richie proved them wrong when The Commodores achieved their first hit record in 1974.

Said the star: “We went from opening for the Jackson 5 to headlining Madison Square Garden with Bob Marley as our opening act. From then on I realized I could write songs and I could sing.”