Song of the Day: “You Are” by Lionel Richie

downloadThere is no particular reason why today’s Song of the Day is “You Are” by Lionel Richie other than the fact that I love it, it’s in my head, and it is a feel-good song. This song was written by Richie and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey Richie. It appears on his self-titled debut solo album, which came out in 1982. “You Are” was the follow-up single to his number-one hit song “Truly“.

“You Are” reached the top five on three major Billboard music charts. On the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, the song spent two weeks at number four in early 1983. It peaked at number two on the R&B chart (behind “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson), and spent six weeks at number one on the adult contemporary chart.

Richard Marx sang backup on this track. His first job in music was singing on the Lionel Richie album, and he proved himself on this track, which required some deft background vocals. In a Songfacts interview with Marx, he talked about working with Richie: ” Every session I ever did with Lionel, or for him, was a very fun atmosphere. I’ve been on so many sessions where it’s a downer, and you just try to get through it and nobody is having fun. Lionel is always having fun – no matter what.”

Richie made a video for this song, but MTV ignored it. The network didn’t give black artists significant airtime until Michael Jackson broke through in 1983. Later that year, Richie was welcomed on MTV with his video for “All Night Long (All Night).”

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