The true test of determining which songs will stand the test of time is their adaptability. If you were to change the arrangement —or even the genre— of a given song, does it still resonate with audiences? Lionel Richie took the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater last night with country music superstar Jason Aldean to prove that his 1985 smash, “Say You, Say Me” is one of the all-time greats by giving it a countryfied spin. The song went all the way to #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts when it was originally released, and even took home an Oscar for Best Original Song, and hasn’t aged a bit in 25 years.
This track, along with other Richie classics like “Stuck On You” and “Endless Love”, appear on Richie’s new jawn, Tuskegee. This is not a greatest hits record, though — Richie has gone back into the studio and put a twangy, country spin on the most beloved songs in his catalog. Thanks to the undeniably ace songwriting skills, this LP doesn’t feel like a shameless attempt to pander to Nashville audiences (who still buy albums in droves) like recent crossover attempts from the likes of Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi. Richie has experimented with many musical styles in his nearly 40-year career, from funk to pop to R&B, so this album feels more like a natural evolution and less like a calculated attempt to line his coiffers. Good on ya, LR!
These artists have been announced as the “first” performers on the Grammy’s website, which means that there’s still hope that big names like Adele (six nominations), Kanye West (who has the most nominations of all, with seven nods), and Lady Gaga (three nominations) will perform on the night. Even though there are rumors abounding that Adele will play, she’s still recovering from throat surgery, so we’ve got our money on Lady Gaga to be announced as a performer given her strong presence and dedication to the stage, evidenced by her complete saturation of 2011. We’d also like to see our You Oughta Know artist Foster The People (2 nominations) take to the stage, as they were the dark horse of the previous year, their tracks “Pumped Up Kicks,” and “Helena Beat” bringing up the rear to find an overwhelmingly positive critical reception.