Dave Grohl, Florence Welch and Lenny Kravitz were among the A-list roster of stars from all major genres of music who showed their appreciation for Lionel Richie Saturday night by performing their takes on his major hits, as Richie himself was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year for 2016.
The event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center and began with video comments from artists who couldn’t be there, including U2’s Bono, as well as recorded comments from Richie himself.
Then host and admitted Richie super-fan Jimmy Kimmel took the stage, channeling Richie from his days with the Commodores in the 1970s by wearing an afro wig and a fringe coat. “He has so many hits, he has so many terrible outfits,” Kimmel declared. “I have to say, it’s hard to imagine singing about being easy on Sunday morning dressed like this. But Lionel Richie did it.”
Then the hits began, with some interpretations clearly working better than others, but all of them clearly heartfelt. Among the more pleasantly surprising renditions of Richie’s hits were Florence + the Machine frontwoman Florence Welch’s solo acoustic take on “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
Lenny Kravitz delivered a straight-ahead rock take on Richie’s “Running with the Night,” while Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl performed an irony-free, grinning delivery of “You Are,” performed after he told a funny story about Richie’s anonymous delivery of “the biggest muffin basket I’ve ever seen” while Grohl was recovering from his broken leg last year.
Other artists who performed Saturday night included R&B stars Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, John Legend, Usher, Pharrell and The Roots, country stars Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan and The Band Perry, pop singers Demi Lovato and Ellie Goulding, and even actor Kevin Spacey.
Proceeds from Saturday’s 26th annual MusiCares event go to MusiCares, which provides support for the US music community in times of financial, medical and personal need. The organization is the charitable arm of the National Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences, which awards the Grammys.