Commodores / Lionel Richie

Gold

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It's inarguable that Lionel Richie's presence in the Commodores was the lifeblood of their creative and commercial success during their prime years. Not only the group's unofficial captain, he was also one of the most successful producers and songwriters for Motown during their second golden age. The proof is certainly more than one disc would allow for, so someone over at Universal had the good sense to release this 32-song two-disc set, which is easily the most thorough retrospective of Richie's work assembled to date. This is a vast improvement over 2004's Definitive Collection (but comparable to the two-disc non-U.S. version): the removal of some of Richie's more recent work in favor of minor hits is a welcome change for fans wanting Richie's lesser-known hits from his solo career and from the Commodores. Combining his work with the Commodores with his solo outings was a smart move on Motown's part, as it helps to give listeners a wider perspective on just how important Richie's contributions were to soft rock and pop music. All the songs might not be instantly recognizable to the ears of casual listeners, but they are no less enjoyable and infectious.

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