Get ready to party All Night Long as international pop legend LIONEL RICHIE is heading to Chepstow Racecourse this summer.

The music superstar will perform hits from his extensive and much-loved repertoire as he brings his sensational live show to the venue on Friday, June 30th, as part of a weekend of special gigs.

Lionel is the second headline act revealed for the weekend of music at the prestigious Welsh course. It follows the announcement on Friday that Gold Rush Kid GEORGE EZRA will close the weekend on Sunday, July 2nd. Further announcements will be made soon.

We make no apologies for this being a long feature, there’s a lot to say, a huge career to cover and some amazing hits to remind you about. You’ll also learn there is a really strong connection between Lionel and Wales itself, which we’re sure he’ll celebrate when he gets here next summer.

Incidentally, you’ll notice on the poster that the special guests are pretty amazing too.

SUGABABES are back, and with the original line-up- it’s like the year 2000 all over again.

The trio – Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy – have reunited and reclaimed their name. When they performed at Glastonbury this year there were reports from the festival that so many people showed up to see them, the field had to be closed because of overcrowding.

Sugababes became the most successful British girlbands of the 21st century with six Number One singles, millions of global sales and multiple multi-platinum albums. Along the way they told one of the most spectacular stories of the modern pop era, but it all started in the summer of 2000 with one song, three voices and a mysterious white label 7”.

Siobhan told us……

“The first time Overload was played on the radio they announced it as Sugababes, but they didn’t know anything else about us.

They had no idea who was in the band, what we looked like, how old we were. Nothing. It was a mystery: who are these girls?”

Sugababes

GABRIELLE has never been far from our musical radar. She released her debut single, “Dreams”, in 1993, and it spent three weeks at number one that summer. Her second number one single, ‘Rise’, followed in 2000 and was embraced by fans as an anthem that helped them inspire them to keep the faith that better days would follow in the future.

Her catalogue of hits includes a further eight Top 10 hits, notably ‘Out Of Reach’ (which featured in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’), ‘If You Ever’ (with East 17) and ‘Give Me A Little More Time’.

Gabrielle

KEVIN DAVY WHITE you may remember from X-Factory 17. He was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger and brought something very different to the show was his incredible guitar playing.

Kevin has just won the Urban Music Award for best singer/songwriter.

This summer saw Kevin playing a run of shows as special guest for Texas, Simply Red and Westlife. At present Kevin is in the recording studio finishing his album which will release early next year.

Kevin has been building a live following across Asia, Hungary, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany and definitely an artist to catch on the Lionel Richie date in Chepstow.

Kevin Davy White

The weekend is presented by Chepstow Racecourse with live music promoters Live Nation and Cuffe and Taylor.

Promoter Peter Taylor from Cuffe and Taylor said……..

“Lionel Richie is an undoubted global superstar and we are delighted to be able to announce he will be headlining a night at our special weekend of live music at Chepstow Racecourse.  

With Lionel Richie’s back catalogue of hits, through his solo work and music of The Commodores, fans are going to have an amazing night in the presence of one of the most successful and celebrated music artists of all time.”

Chepstow Racecourse executive director Phil Bell……

 “Adding Lionel Richie to the bill for our weekend of music with the team at Cuffe and Taylor and Live Nation is great news. 

The response to the weekend’s announcement has been huge – so don’t hang around if you’re thinking about buying tickets.”

Where on earth do we begin with Lionel Brockman Richie Jr? We could tell you that in the 80s he was one of the most successful singer songwriters with The Commodores. As a band they churned out hit after hit. Songs which, to this day are still played on the radio and it has to be said at more than a few weddings. Having been blessed to see The Commodores live, I can tell you they were one fantastic band, but of course it was Lionel who always stole the show.

Incredibly, Lionel joined The Commodores in 1968. Their first few albums were very much dance/funk with songs like Machine Gun and Brick House. Over time, Richie wrote and sang more romantic, easy-listening ballads such as EASY, THREE TIMES A LADY, and the breakup ballad SAIL ON. It wasn’t until Lionel inevitably launched a solo career in 1982 and debut solo album.

The Commodores

That album hit No. 3 on the charts and sold over 4 million copies. His 1983 follow-up album, Can’t Slow Down, sold over twice as many copies, propelling him into the first rank of international superstars. He also co-wrote the 1985 charity single WE ARE THE WORLD with Michael Jackson, which sold over 20 million copies. To this day it has had almost 170 million You Tube views.

So let’s do some Lionel facts. Over the course of his career he’s sold over 90 million records worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. He won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Can’t Slow Down, and his other Grammy Awards include Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 1985 and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Truly” in 1983.

Lionel has also been nominated for two Golden Globe awards and won one. In 1982 he was nominated for Best Original Song for the film Endless Love. In 1986 he won the Golden Globe award for Best Original Song for “Say You, Say Me”, featured in the film White Nights. The song also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2016, Lionel received the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s highest honour, the Johnny Mercer Award.

Lionel is of course loved and performed everywhere. No matter what our age, I think we all know at least a few of his tunes. It’s almost like it’s bred into our psyche. The video below proves that. THE LAST SHIP is a musical written by STING. It’s about his life in the North East and time his family and friends spend working in the shipyards. My Grandad worked for those very shipyards so the musical really hit home. During its run in the States – well, take a look and you’ll see what happened HERE…….

We reckon one of his proudest awards must be the KENNEDY CENTRE HONORS (it’s American). It’s an annual honour given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The honours have been presented annually since 1978, culminating each December in a star-studded gala celebrating the honourees in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

When Lionel gets to Chepstow he is, of course going to get one hell of a welcome, there is though a link with Lionel and Wales and a pretty strong one at that. He has become First Global Ambassador and First Chairman of the Global Ambassador Group for THE PRINCE’S TRUST. An organisation we at SOUTH WALES LIFE have very close knowledge, having worked with them for many years, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds along the way.

Lionel is helping the Trust to scale-up and expand its work around the world. As Chair of the new Global Ambassador Group, he will support the charity as it sets to work on a new global remit, tackling issues such as youth education and unemployment, supporting indigenous youth and helping build sustainable communities.

The announcement was made at an event in Barbados engaging and celebrating young people supported by Prince’s Trust International and its delivery partners The Royal Barbados Police Force and Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment. The event was attended by Lionel Richie and The Prince of Wales (as was then).

Lionel told us……

“The Prince’s Trust is known for its excellent work with young people in the UK, and has a wealth of knowledge that can be useful to other organisations in other countries. The Global Ambassador Group will champion the work of this remarkable charity in new countries and, with this new role, I’m committing to helping The Trust across the globe.”  

The Trust has supported more than 900,000 young people across the UK into education, employment or training, since 1976. It is now using this expertise and experience internationally to help organisations overcome the global issue of youth unemployment and to transform lives.

Group Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust, Dame Martina Milburn DCVO CBE told us…. 

“We are thrilled to have a person of Lionel’s stature on board as our founding Global Ambassador. There is so much we can achieve together to help young people, and their communities, all over the world. ”

For more information about this amazing organisation go here – TRUST

Never one to slow down, the ’00s saw Lionel flying high once more with Renaissance, which went platinum in the UK and started a run of five albums that all landed in the UK Top 20. In 2012, he had his first US No.1 album since Dancing On The Ceiling with Tuskegee, a reinterpreted collection of his hits recorded alongside a host of guest stars including Willie Nelson, Shania Twain and Darius Rucker.

Here is one of his biggest hits, we really love this version of ENDLESS LOVE with Shania Twain. It is updated but still feels like the original.

Lionel Richie

Following a coveted Sunday afternoon set at Glastonbury in 2015, Lionel decamped to Vegas for a residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino’s Zappos Theater. He became a judge on American Idol in 2017 and released a live album, Hello From Vegas, in 2019.

And that brings us very nicely onto the Chepstow, which is going to be one of the music highlights of next summer. At the moment there are only two places to see him in the UK next year, with Chepstow being the South Wales date on Lionel’s musical map.

Not only has he shaped popular culture as his music has served as the soundtrack of several generations around the world. His songs have and remain at the forefront of his fan’s milestone moments – first kiss, first wedding dance, first break up, first child. It’s impossible to separate those memories and his music because they are inextricably intertwined. Need more proof?

HELLO LIVE…..

LIONEL RICHIE is getting to Chepstow Racecourse on Friday 30th June. Friday night, with his songs playing All Night Long (sorry), what could better.

Tickets are available HERE, and don’t forget the rest of the bill is amazing too with a set from SUGABABES, GABRIELLE and KEVIN DAVY WHITE.