Lionel Richie’s country comeback

Twenty five years ago, Lionel Riche had a No. 1 album and hits like All Night Long and Three Times a Lady, a country influenced hit. Now a quarter century later he is making headlines again. This time he is releasing Tuskegee, a collection of duets with country music super stars that include Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney and many others. This time it is not Motown; it is the country music crowd that he is catering to.

Named after his hometown in Alabama, Tuskegee is a hit selling over 1.2 million albums far exceeding any other artist in 2012 and topping the charts. He is also touring the country music venues and earning more than $787,600 per performance. It is the industries sixth-highest gross this year to date. Country music CDs are much more lucrative than any other medium in the music industry and generates more fan attendance at tours. So far this year, 73 percent of the country sales came from CDs. Previously Richie released a Wal-Mart exclusive CD, Endless Love, a duet with Shania Twain just before Valentine’s Day. It was a precursor to his new album. Those who listened to album say that he should have been a country star all along.