Happy 70th Birthday to singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer Lionel Richie. After deciding on a music career instead of the priesthood, Richie sang and played saxophone for The Commodores in the 1980s, on blockbuster hits like Brick House, Easy, and Three Times a Lady. His 1982 debut solo album, Lionel Richie, contained the Grammy winning No.1 song Truly, and the top 5 hits You Are and My Love. He also co-wrote the 1985 charity single We Are the World with Michael Jackson. Say You, Say Me, featured in the film White Nights, won Ritchie the Academy Award for Best Original Song—and with over 90 million records sold worldwide, he’s one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. WATCH Jimmy Kimmel to find out what he’s doing when he turns 70, and hear Ritchie’s stories about Prince—and Prince Charles… (1949)

The R&B Legend, who is currently on a 33-date North America tour, played an amphitheater near Chicago this week and his high school class from the city’s south side showed up to celebrate his big birthday. Also in the audience was the Worldwide Lionel Richie Fan Club who joined him to “party, fiesta, forever—All Night Long.”

Richie has helped to raise over $3.1 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in honor of his grandmother who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 80s, but survived and lived until she was 103 years old. Richie tells Kimmel that he is banking on genes to live a long life, as his other grandparent lived to be 98. Watch the interview below…

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Alexander Graham Bell installed the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (1877)
  • The so-called red telephone was established between the White House and the Kremlin to link the two superpowers, after lessons were learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis (1963)
  • 50 years ago today, David Bowie recorded ‘Space Oddity’ at Trident Studios in London (1969)
  • The Steven Spielberg movie Jaws was released, about a giant man-eating shark whose presence was signaled by a terrifying 2-note soundtrack hook (1975)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court declared that executing mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel (2002)
  • The non-profit WikiMedia Foundation was set-up to operate the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, among other global collaboration projects, by co-founder Jimmy Wales (2003)

And, on this day in 1995, Greenpeace activists bolstered by international pressure forced UK’s Shell Oil into a dramatic reversal of its decision to dispose of a massive oil rig by submerging it beneath the sea.

Photo by eric_aa, CC

After changing its mind, Shell moored the rig and began dismantling the structure at a cost of £43m, compared to a cost of £4.5m to dump the structure under the sea. The scrap was eventually used to build the foundations of a new ferry terminal. The public outcry led to a change of management and a revamp of Shell’s ethical standards. On top of that, all the governments of the north east Atlantic region agreed afterward to ban future dumping of steel-built oil installations.

Also, Happy Birthday to Brian Wilson, who turns 77 today. As the multi-talented leader of the Beach Boys, he co-wrote over 25 top forty hits and by 1967 had become an influence on The Beatles and others, particularly with the album, Pet Sounds. His unique approaches to song composition, arrangement, and recording are why that album is ranked #2 on the Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, according to industry leaders who created the list for Rolling Stone. (1942)

Wilson was one of the most famous examples of the outsider musician. The first to use a studio as his own instrument, at 21-years-old he received the freedom to produce his own records with total creative autonomy. With his technical genius, he ignited an explosion of like-minded producers who created the “California Sound”, and supplanted New York as the center of record producing.

In 2016, he penned an autobiography called “I am Brian Wilson”, that reveals how he felt about psychedelic drugs, which he believes led to a mental breakdown, and the woman who saved him—now his wife of over 20 years. The story was also dramatized in the 2015 film, Love and Mercy, starring John Cusack.

Other Notable Birthdays: Nicole Kidman (52), John Goodman (66)

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