2022 American Music Awards: Lionel Richie wins Icon Award as Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth perform tribute

Virgin Radio

21 Nov 2022, 11:10

Lionel Richie

Credit: Getty

Legendary singer Lionel Richie has bagged the 2022 AMA Icon Award and made history as the only artist to have graced the stage in every decade since the ceremony started.

The award was presented by the king of Motown, Smokey Robinson, and the musician joked that when he first met Richie he was "the guy with the biggest afro in the Commodores".

Smokey said: "He's had a solo career second to none... Simply put, there have been few careers that have had as much diversity as Lionel Richie."

Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Jimmie Allen and Charlie Puth

Credit: Getty

Accepting the gong, Richie thanked his family and colleagues, and gave this advice to young stars, he said: "I started out here at the AMAs. And my career, to this day 40 years later, I'm back at the AMAs.

"What I want to say and take this time to do is to talk to the young superstars. God has given you a light. That light is special, that light is only given to a few.

"When you hear the word 'hip,' it means today. When you hear the word 'inspiring,' it means forever. If you get a chance to have that light on you, understand what God has in store."

The Easy singer continued: "He's not trying to tell you that your car looks great, your clothes look great. He/she/mother/God is trying to tell you that you are chosen to inspire. Take this opportunity. That light is on you. Inspire."

Following his speech, Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth marked the occasion by performing a medley of Richie's biggest hits on the piano, which Puth joked was like a 'musical tennis match of Lionel Richie copyright'.

Wonder sang Three Times a Lady, All Night Long (All Night), Brick House and Jesus Is Love, and added: "This is a great night because we're here to honour a great man."

Puth took on tunes Easy and Say You, Say Me, then the pair were joined by Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Ari Lennox, Jimmie Allen, Yola, Dustin Lynch and Muni Long to end with We Are the World.

The AMA Icon Award is "given to an artist whose body of work has made a global influence over the music industry and the world".

Richie has 18 AMA wins, has sold more than 125 million albums, has four Grammy Awards and 12 No. 1 hits under his musical belt.

"I'm immensely grateful for a career that has taken me to places I never imagined that I'd go, from arenas worldwide to studio sets to the AMA stage," he said before the show.

"I can recall one of the first times I got to perform at the AMAs. It was to sing We Are the World among the most iconic musicians of my generation, so it is surreal to be receiving this recognition 36 years later."

Here's more on the legend and his upcoming country music album.