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Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ Tops the Billboard 200 Charts

Lionel Richie
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

When Lionel Richie went country, quite a few people raised their eyebrows. Today, those raised eyebrows are reaching skyward for another reason — the legendary soul artist’s debut country album, ‘Tuskegee,’ has climbed to the top of the all-genre 200 Billboard chart.

Just two weeks after the highly-anticipated album of country duets dropped on March 26, ‘Tuskegee’ climbed to No. 1 on the country charts, and trailed only Madonna on the 200 Billboard chart. Now total sales are up to almost 423,000, making Richie’s country duets record the best-selling country album so far this year.

“I knew I was going to do a country album one day,” Lionel told the Boot. “But I was just trying to figure out for the life of me, what we were going to do to make it different, unique. Someone said to me, ‘Lionel, why don’t you do ‘Lionel Does Gershwin’?’ I thought, I just don’t know if I feel comfortable, that’s not my thing. But what does feel comfortable to me is ‘Lionel Does Lionel.’ It started out that I was going to do one, maybe two duets. Then it became a whole album of duets. Then the floodgates opened and it was just, why didn’t we think of this 40 years ago? It was perfect, absolutely perfect.”

Despite Richie’s successful history as a singer and musician, this latest country album is his first chart-topping album since he released ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ in 1986.

Richie also gave props to the talented country artists who contributed to the hit album, including Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Jennifer Nettles, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Jimmy Buffett and more.

It’s hard to go up when you’re already sitting at the top, but Richie doesn’t plan to stop and enjoy the view. Plans for a second volume are already in the works — and we can’t wait to hear about it.

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