In 1968 Lionel Richie became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. Initially they were a support act to The Jackson 5, but the Commodores became established as a popular soul group with big hit songs like big "Machine Gun" and "Brick House." Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as "Easy", "Three Times a Lady", "Still", and his classic breakup ballad "Sail On".
By the late 1970s he had begun to accept songwriting gigs from other artists. He composed "Lady" for Kenny Rogers, which hit #1 in 1980.
In 1981 Richie sang the theme song for the film Endless Love, a duet with Diana Ross, and became a platinum single. Its success encouraged Richie to branch out into a full-fledged solo career in 1982. And he had a string of solo hits through out the 80's like "Dancing on the Ceiling", "All Night Long" and "Say You, Say me". He also co-wrote the global fundraising song for USA for Africa with Michael Jackson, "We are the World. Lionel Richie turns 68 today.