'All Night Long (All Night)': Lionel Richie Couldn't Slow Down

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"Well my friends, the time has come..." to commemorate this special Lionel Richie chart anniversary. It's impossible, and possibly unforgivable, to listen to this 1983 Richie classic without smiling, closing your eyes and tapping your feet along. 

36 years ago, "All Night Long" continued its ascent on the Billboard Charts (Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary). On November 12, the iconic single hit the roof on the pop chart, starting a four-week reign at No. 1, dethroning Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream." 

With Richard Marx contributing backing vocals and James Carmichael co-producing the global smash, "All Night Long" was an upbeat cocktail of Richie's soulful style with heavy Caribbean sounds and influences, one of the many memorable hit songs from Richie's best selling solo album Can't Slow Down. Released by Motown Records, the all-encompassing album was Richie's magnum opus, from the rock-leaning "Running With the Night" to the chart-crowning "All Night Long," to the romantic country song "Stuck on You."

Richie eventually admitted that the legendary lyrics, "Tom bo li de say de moi ya," and "jumbo jumbo" were gibberish. Lacking the time to rely on a translator, the former Commodore went his own way and made his own lingo. He first called a friend at the United Nations to get some African phrases and was informed, "Lionel, there's 101 African dialects." Richie requested a few words, but when informed it would take a few weeks, he created his own dialect. 

"As long as I am not cursing you out, I am going in the right direction," Richie added cheekily. "What I try to write about are real events. There will always be an easy like Sunday morning. There will always be an endless love. There will always be an all night long." 

To top it all off, Richie had the distinctive honor of performing "All Night Long" during the closing ceremonies at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. 

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