You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Grammy Awards: Money, Tributes Flow All Night Long at MusiCares Salute to Lionel Richie

MusiCares, the penultimate big-ticket gala leading up to the Grammy Awards, has always been about giving back. This year’s affair celebrating Lionel Richie raised more than $7 million for musicians in need — a record for the fundraiser that keeps upping the ante.

Those doubting Richie could top the money and attention heaped on last year’s honoree, Bob Dylan — whose closing speech, both reverential and vindictive, instantly qualified as legendary — must hand it to the singer-songwriter-producer-philanthropist for his deep bench of connections. As one presenter put it, “only Lionel Richie could bring out Berry Gordy and Quincy Jones.”

Gordy, of course, founded Motown, which signed Richie’s group the Commodores when the label was in its heyday. Jones produced “We Are the World,” which Richie co-wrote with Michael Jackson, which still stands as the Mt. Everest of charitable recording efforts. Perhaps too much time was spent Saturday night dwelling on that 1985 touchstone, which seemed to have attracted every single pop star of any consequence into the USA for Africa fold.

“Did we just see the entire ‘We Are the World’ video?” quipped emcee Jimmy Kimmel to those assembled in the cavernous West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center.

You know you’re among high rollers when somebody bids $50,000 to fly to Vegas to see Richie in concert (the man himself sweetened the pot by offering his private jet as transport), and another pays $350,000 to have Richie “in your house, at the grand piano, telling stories and singing those songs.”

Those songs have sold 100 million albums worldwide, which brings us back to the other thing that the MusiCares tribute is all about: upstarts paying tribute to their elders. Among those who dipped into the Richie songbook were Florence Welch, Ellie Goulding, Rihanna, Usher and Demi Lovato.

To underscore Richie’s Tuskegee, Ala., roots, not to mention his astounding range, a number of country acts also paid tribute, including the Band Perry, Little Big Town and solo sensation Chris Stapleton, a Grammy contender for album of the year.

Not everybody could make it. Smokey Robinson sent his regards via video. U2’s Bono provided an amusing clip mistaking Richie for the British director Guy Ritchie (I guess you had to be there). But Stevie Wonder was in the house, as was perennial MusiCares performer Dave Grohl. Fittingly, all those luminaries gathered onstage at evening’s end for a rousing rendition of Richie’s “All Night Long.” How could they not?

Next up on the Grammy weekend party list is Clive Davis’ annual night-before bash, set for Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton. Longtime manager-producer Irving Azoff is the honoree.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • HalseyDKNY 30th birthday party, Arrivals, Spring

    Watch Halsey’s Stunning Performance of ‘Time After Time’ at the 2019 Emmy Awards

    As part of Sunday night’s In Memoriam tribute at the 2019 Emmy Awards ceremony, Halsey performed a version of Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 classic “Time After Time,” over a montage of television stars who died over the past year. Introduced by actress Regina King, the singer performed accompanied only by a pianist and honored Katherine Helmond, Tim Conway, Gloria Vanderbilt, [...]

  • Spin Lab

    Big Deal Inks Joint Venture With Ricky Reed’s Nice Life Company

    Independent music publisher Big Deal Music Group announced today that they have signed a joint venture deal with Nice Life Copyright Company, the music publishing company founded by Grammy-nominated producer/ writer/ artist Ricky Reed.  Under the terms of the agreement, Big Deal will administer songs for Nice Life, and the two companies will join forces [...]

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmy Viewers Not 'Feelin' Good' About Bizarre Music Choices

    It was known ahead of time that the Emmy Awards planned to dispense with a traditional orchestra or pit band for the walk-up and bumper music. What wasn’t anticipated was that the music choices were being outsourced to a bar mitzvah DJ in Des Moines. Or, very possibly, it was a local who had found [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Rob Thomas Sammy Hagar

    Sammy Hagar Joins Rob Thomas for 'Smooth' Performance (Watch)

    Who do you call when your pal Carlos Santana has plans on a Friday night? If you’re Rob Thomas, you recruit another famous friend, rocker Sammy Hagar, who turned up to help the singer close out the latest show of his Chip Tooth Smile tour with a performance of “Smooth” at the Fox Performing Arts [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content