It’s a fact that Lionel Richie music has been the soundtrack for many a bedroom rendezvous. But the man himself admits that back in the day, when he was touring with the Commodores, he and his bandmates tried to set records for how many women they could bed while on tour.
Speaking to British GQ, Lionel says, “When the touring [with the Commodores] started we knew we were gonna do a hundred shows in as many cities, maybe more, in a year. So we decided: we’re gonna make love to every girl in the world. That was our mission statement.”
“We all kept score,” he adds. “We were college guys, so we liked stats. And when you start out, it’s madness: there’s one in the morning, one in the afternoon, one in the evening. It’s great. You’re killing it. But all of a sudden you get to the fifth show and you’re like: Everybody get out of my room! You can’t do it.”
He continues, “I don’t care whether you’re 19 and sexually possessed – you can’t do that and put on high-heeled boots and run across the stage every night. That’s why drugs became so inviting: because you get a hit of this, and it gives you the stamina. But how long does it last? And then you’re in rehab…or you’re falling down on stage and passing out halfway through the show.”
According to Lionel, it was the fear of having illegitimate children that eventually caused him and his bandmates to keep it in their pants.
“It wasn’t the sex and it wasn’t the drugs. It was…babies,” he tells the magazine. “The first time you get that phone call when someone says… ‘hey, guess what?’ That’s called fear, shock and awe. That’s when I realized the gun was loaded, you know what I’m saying? That puts the fear into the heart of any 19- or 20-year-old.”
These days, Lionel says he’s just happy to hear about all the sex that he’s inspired others to have.
“Y’know something? I get more compliments from men than women. Guys use one word: thanks,” he laughs. [They tell me], ‘The greatest times of my life, Lionel, you were right there, baby.’…It’s the simplicity of the songs, I think, that works.”
He adds, “A guy once came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you wrote “We Are The World?” You should have called it ‘I Populated The World’!”