Hello (Lionel Richie song)

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For other uses, see Hello (disambiguation).
Single by Lionel Richie
from the album Can't Slow Down
B-side "You Mean More to Me"
Released February 13, 1984 (1984-02-13)
Genre Soft rock
Length 4:14
Label Motown
Writer(s) Lionel Richie
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Lionel Richie singles chronology
"Running with the Night"
"Stuck on You"

"Hello" is a song by Lionel Richie. Taken as the third single from Richie's multi-platinum album Can't Slow Down, the song was released in 1984 and reached number one on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks),[1] and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). The song also went to number one in the UK Singles Chart for six weeks.[2] The song later inspired a lawsuit by songwriter Marjorie Hoffman White, who accused Richie of plagiarizing her composition "I'm Not Ready to Go".[3]

The song is memorable for the line "Hello, is it me you're looking for?". That phrase started the song's composition, as James Anthony Carmichael visited Richie, and after the singer greeted him that way, Carmichael replied, "Finish that song." Richie initially felt that the song was "corny" but ultimately "by the time I finished the verse, I fell in love with the song again."[4] The guitar solo on the song was played by session guitarist Louie Shelton. In pop culture, the song is featured in the films Bitter Moon, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Scary Movie 4, Are We Done Yet?, Shrek Forever After, Hard Boiled, Colour Me Kubrick, Happy Feet, Paddington, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. It's also featured in the television shows Family Guy, Seinfeld, Community, and Glee as well in commercials for companies like Yahoo! and IKEA.


The song is written in the key of A minor. The verses follow the chord progression of Am9—Cmaj7/G—Fmaj7—C6/G—Fmaj7. The chorus features a Neapolitan chord (Bb).[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Bob Giraldi, features the story of Richie as a theater and acting teacher having a seemingly unrequited love for a blind student (Laura Carrington) until he discovers she shares the feeling as demonstrated by the discovery that she is sculpting a likeness of his head. The infamous bust used in the video, which bears little resemblance to Richie, has been parodied in popular culture.[6][7] Richie himself complained to the video's director, Bob Giraldi, that the bust did not look like him.[8]


Chart (1984) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report 1
Austrian Singles Chart 3
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 1
French Singles Chart 25
Irish Singles Chart[9] 1
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 5
Swedish Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 1
U.S. Billboard Black Singles 1
West German Singles Chart 2

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 492. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 434–5. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "A Long Island song writer has filed a $1...". UPI. 
  4. ^ "Lionel Richie recalls early distaste for 'Hello' as hit song turns 30". CTVNews. 
  5. ^ "Unsupported Browser or Operating System". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ Jack Mathieson (May 23, 2014). "Student blindfolds himself as he bids to recreate famous Lionel Ritchie sculpture from 1984". dailyrecord. 
  7. ^ Kiernan Maletsky and Gavin Cleaver. "Lionel Richie's "Hello" is the Most Confusing Music Video of All Time". Dallas Observer. 
  8. ^ "Lionel Richie on Hits Tour, Commodores Reunion and the Legend of 'Hello' - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. 
  9. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd. - http://www.fireballmedia.ie (October 1, 1962). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Llego La Voz - Berto La Voz". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved June 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Latin Tropical Airplay 2011-12-31". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. June 17, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ Robinson, Joanna (February 15, 2016). "Watch Demi Lovato Rock a Musical Tribute to Lionel Richie". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ Ng, Philiana (February 15, 2016). "Demi Lovato Delivers Show-Stopping GRAMMYs Performance of 'Hello' During Lionel Richie Tribute". Entertainment Tonight. CBS Corporation. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  14. ^ Bell, Crystal (February 15, 2016). "Demi Lovato's Fire Cover of Lionel Richie's 'Hello' Will Give You Chills". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Billboard Twitter Top Tracks". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. March 5, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"99 Red Balloons" by Nena
UK number one single
March 24, 1984
(for six weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran