“All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie
Believe it or not, there’s some people out there who say that Lionel Richie is actually a better singer/entertainer than Michael Jackson was. On one hand, such an argument may sound asinine, considering for instance that Richie hasn’t dropped nearly as many hits. But Lionel was one of the hottest of his generation back in the early-1980s. During that time, he managed to put out quite a few tracks which can be classified as legitimate earworms.
“All Night Long”
One of those songs of course would be “All Night Long”. Throughout the years, innumerable tunes have been dropped revolving around this same thesis sentiment, which is encouraging listeners to spend the entire evening partying alongside the vocalist. But few, if any, do so as plainly and effectively as this one.
Basically, what Lionel is envisioning in this case is something like a community block party, where if you’re in the vicinity you pretty much can’t help but to “join the fun” and get to dancing.
Indeed, this song is so rhythmic that Lionel got away with dropping an entire bridge which for the most part doesn’t mean anything. In other words, whereas the majority of the wording of that segment is meant to emulate an African language, in actuality it does not have any translation.
The term “karamu”, which is in fact a word in Swahili, is used earlier during the pre-chorus. That particular term, needless to say, points to partying. And again, the beauty of this outing is that even with Richie scatting, if you will, during the bridge, it’s as if you can still feel what he’s putting forth, which would be an encouragement to dance.
So conclusively, trying to mount an argument that Richie is greater than Jackson would logically be a losing cause. But for a singer whose heyday only really lasted for about half a decade, Lionel did drop an extraordinary amount of songs such as this one, i.e. unforgettable hits that are also pleasing on the ears.
The “African” Language in “All Night Long”
While writing this song, Lionel said that he contacted the UN because he wanted to include something African into the song. According to him, it was at that point that he was enlightened to the fact that the African continent has thousands of different languages and dialects. For example, in the West African country of Nigeria alone, there are more than 500 different indigenous languages spoken. This means that a person from one tribe likely wouldn’t understand the language that another person from a different tribe speaks. To note, Africa has 54 countries and over 3,000 different tribes.
Lionel Richie revealed that he “couldn’t believe” this! He never knew how diverse Africa was. Owing to this, Lionel decided that the best course of action was to manufacture a language that sounded African to include in the song’s lyrics. That being said, it should be noted that a significant percentage of people outside of Africa assume that Africa is a country.
The “African” lyrics in question go like this: “Tam bo li de say de moi ya“. They can be found in the bridge of the song.
When did “All Night Long” come out?
Motown Records issued it as the first single from Lionel’s second studio album, “Can’t Slow Down”. It was released as such on 31st August, 1983.
A very Successful Single
This song did not take long to become a mainstay on radio stations in America. Owing to this, it shot straight to number one on multiple Billboard charts, including the Billboard Hot 100. This gave Richie his third number 1 single on this coveted chart.
“All Night Long” also enjoyed massive success in other countries around the globe, reaching number 1 in these countries too:
- South Africa
In the UK, it was a number 2 hit.
Lionel performed this song live during the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics of 1984 held in Los Angeles. During his performance of the song, he changed some of the lyrics just for the Olympics.
In December of 1983 “All Night Long” was certified “Gold” by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). So far, this hit single has sold over 2 million certified units in just America and the United Kingdom alone.
Did Lionel Richie write “All Night Long”?
Yes. He is the sole credited writer of the song. He proceeded to work with record producer James Anthony Carmichael to produce it.