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11 facts about Lionel Richie that will totally surprise you

14 March 2016, 11:16

Cape Town - With the R&B crooner's visit to our shores just around the corner, we decided to go and find some interesting facts for your pleasure.

Yes yes yes, we all know about his reality TV star daughter Nicole, but what about all the other interesting tidbits?

Look no further!

Check out these 11 facts about the All Night Long Lionel Richie that might just surprise you:

1. Lionel Richie was born on 20 June 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama - an important site in African-American history and in US history - where he grew up on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute.

2. He was quite the Tennis star. He got a tennis scholarship from the Tuskegee Institute, but dropped out after his second year.

3. He almost became a priest. But in the end decided he is not "priest material". Good decision Lionel!

4. As a member of R&B group the Commodores, he performed as the support act for the Jackson 5.

5. Much later on, in 1985, he co-wrote the famine relief song We Are the World with Michael Jackson.

6. Lionel Richie wrote Kenny Rogers' hit Lady while on the toilet. Yes, it’s true! While on the Today Show in 2014, Kenny revealed that Lionel wrote the second verse while in the bathroom at the recording studio. It goes without saying that the two remain good friends to this day.

7. Lionel Richie once styled Nelson Mandela. After Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he made his way to the US for a series of public appearances. Lionel told CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos that he was assigned the task of updating Mandela’s wardrobe.  Mandela also personally thanked Lionel for writing music that helped him through "many days of being in prison".

8. He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

9. He took a break from the music industry in 1987 to look after his sick father who died in 1990. He returned to the music industry with the release of his first greatest-hits collection, Back to Front, in 1992.

10. He is big in the Arab world, specifically in Iraq where "Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name," John Berman for ABC News reported in 2006. According to Berman’s report, Lionel was told that Iraqi civilians were playing All Night Long the night US tanks invaded Baghdad.

11. He is a breast cancer activist and has raised $3.1m for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Speaking at the foundation’s annual spring gala in 2003, he revealed that his grandmother was his reason for becoming an activist as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 80s but has lived until she was 103 years old.

(Sources: Wikipedia, The National

- Channel24

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