Lionel Brockman Richie; Jr. (born June 20; 1949) is an Academy Award and Grammy award-winning American singer; songwriter; record producer; and occasional actor; who has sold more than 100 million records.Back as a student in Tuskegee; he formed a succession of R&B groups in the mid-1960-s. In 1968 he became the lead singer and saxophonist with the Commodores. They signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968 for one record before moving on to Motown Records; being schooled as support act to the Jackson Five. The Commodores became established as a popular soul group. Their first several albums had a danceable; funky sound (with such tracks as -Machine Gun- and -Brick House-).