The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its 2022 honorees on November 5, including music legend and “American Idol” judge Lionel Richie. The icon was elated by the honor, appearing onstage at the event with some unexpected, famous fans: rockers Lenny Kravitz and Dave Grohl.
Lionel Richie Calls His Hall of Fame Induction ‘Outrageous’
Even before Richie, 73, entered the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles to become one of the 2022 inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — which also included Eminem, Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar, and Duran Duran — he said he was thrilled to receive the honor while he’s still alive and able to experience it.
“It’s outrageous, it’s out of control,” he told interviewer Bevy Smith during the Hall of Fame’s live stream from the red carpet. “This has been one of those amazing rides. So when you do get a chance to get here, you just have to take it all in.”
Twitter exploded when Richie took the stage to perform some of his hits and welcomed surprise guest Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters on guitar. One attendee posted a photo of them performing and wrote, “It blew my mind seeing @LionelRichie perform with #DaveGrohl.”
Another person watching the ceremony from home wrote, “Did Dave Grohl really just blast out lead guitar on Easy Like Sunday Morning with @LionelRichie at #RockHall2022 — watched by @LennyKravitz waiting in the wings?”
Following the performance, another surprise guest — rocker Lenny Kravitz — sweetly wiped the sweat from Richie’s brow before moving to the podium to speak about his storied career, which began with the Commodores and included a string of huge hits in the late 1970s and 80s. According to the Hall of Fame, Richie’s record six Grammy nominations for Song of the Year is an achievement only matched by Paul McCartney.
Reporter Jenna Jordan wrote on Twitter that Kravitz joked that listing all of Richie’s songs would take “All Night Long,” referencing one of the icon’s big hits.
In Hall of Fame Speech, Lionel Richie Recalled Being Told He Wouldn’t Succeed
In his acceptance speech, Richie spoke about the naysayers who thought, early on his career, that he’d never make it as a mainstream artist, according to Rolling Stone.
“We are celebrating tonight probably one of the funniest things, funniest jokes in my life because all the songs that I wrote and recorded were told to me by so many people, ‘These are the songs that will destroy your career. What in the hell are you thinking about?,'” he recalled.
Richie said that record executives would tell him not to release a song like “Three Times a Lady,” and when it went on to become a huge hit, they’d ask him if he could replicate the sound in another song. That kept happening, he said, which made him realize he wanted to continue relying on his own creativity and not on advice from people in the industry, calling himself a “creative artist” rather than a “created artist.”
“What comes with that category is ridicule,” he told the crowd. “Lots and lots of ridicule, but I use it as my perfect example of ‘If I’m going in the right direction.’ So when someone said to me, ‘Oh, my God, I wouldn’t do that song if I were you!’ that’s the exact song you put out. If it made you nervous.”
After thanking his family for putting up with him being on the road so much for the last several decades, Richie closed his speech by saying he’s planning to stick around for a long time to come.
“I want to let everyone know that I am probably not coming home for quite a while. I’m in love with this business. I love what I do,” he said.
The 37th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on HBO on November 19.