And Finally Artist News

Lionel Richie terrorised by Michael Jackson’s animals while writing We Are The World

By | Published on Wednesday 14 March 2018

Lionel Richie

Earlier this week we heard of Michael Jackson speaking about his songwriting with Prince from beyond the grave. Now Lionel Richie has spoken about how hard it was to actually collaborate with the late star when he was still alive. Not least because of Richie’s own involuntary screaming.

“Michael loved to collect animals”, Richie told US TV show ‘The Talk’, recalling the time in the mid-80s when they came together to write ‘We Are The World’. “So right in the middle of writing this song we’re eating downstairs and there’s this dog barking hysterically, and then we heard, ‘shut up, shut up!’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘What’s going on, Michael?'”

Sensing Richie’s confusion, Jackson quickly allayed his fears. “He said, ‘That’s the bird. That’s the bird having an argument with the dog’. So we went back into the kitchen and there’s the bird in the cage and the dog is barking at the bird and the bird is going, ‘shut up, shut up'”.

So, that was weird, but all fine and so far there’s been no screaming. Things changed when they went back to the studio and Richie was “laying on the floor [with Jackson] working on the lyrics”.

“All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye the albums that were against the wall were falling down”, he recalls. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well what could this be?’ I look over and there is an albino python and [Jackson] goes, ‘There he is Lionel, we found him. We knew he was in the room somewhere Lionel, but we weren’t sure. He wants to come out and play with you'”.

Cool. Who doesn’t like to play with a python? Especially one that’s been lost for an unknown period of time and is now probably hungry. Not Lionel Richie, that’s who. “I was screaming like the last woman in a horror movie. I was screaming so loud. He kept saying, ‘Why are you screaming?’ I said, ‘Baby, that’s a snake. He might be your pet, but I’m from Alabama. That’s a snake!'”

So now I might think of Lionel Richie screaming at a snake whenever I hear ‘We Are The World’. For a bit anyway. Before I default back to picturing Bob Dylan in a less animated fashion.

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