There are two Lionel Ritchies.
Lionel Ritchie (Volume 1) was the frontman for that ’70s funk powerhouse band, The Commodores. Their first big hit was — and I have to use this phrase again — that ’70s funk powerhouse number, “Machine Gun.” They went on to score more monster hits with even more funk powerhouse numbers like “Slippery When Wet,” “Lady (You Bring Me Up),” and tonight’s selection, “Brick House.”
36-24-36 — what a winning hand!
But even the band’s downtempo numbers had great hooks, and were slow-dancing favorites during my junior high and high school days.
Lionel Ritchie (Volume 2) was the ’80s schlockmeister of mostly forgettable adult-contemporary fare like “Stuck On You,” “Penny Lover,” and “Ballerina Girl.” I actually had to look those up on Ritchie v2’s Wikipedia page, because I’d either forgotten them or forced myself to forget them.
But whenever “Brick House” comes on in the car, I turn it up to 11 and shamelessly do my best Lionel Ritchie.
Lionel Ritchie (Volume 1), that is.