His hair is fucking crazy, bordering on crazy awesome. However, throughout the decades he has made efforts to tone it down. That mustache, on the other hand, has stuck around like his daughter's herpes. We're not insinuating Nicole Richie is a slut, by the way, it's just that she's been within 15 feet of Paris Hilton. Being closer than 15 feet to Paris Hilton is like eating a bowl of venereal diseases with a tall glass of HIV.
Enough with the rambling introduction, though, let's take a look at the four stages of Lionel's mane.
1970s: The Afro
During his stint with the Commodores, Lionel maintained afros of varying afro-tude. Some were small and reserved, others were unruly and helmety. One thing was constant ... He looked silly as hell. But it was the '70s, there were even white guys sporting silly-ass afros and Jewfros. So this first stage wasn't too bad. But after leaving the Commodores for his solo career, he let the fame go to his head in the form of really shitty hair.
1980s: The Pharaoh-fro
Looking like a nicely molded Pharaoh headdress, this 'do had the ability to make him look like a ridiculous black version of John Oates. At this point, he was rolling out more hits than a 'roided-out baseball player. You know that song everyone always references in the form of a terrible pun when speaking of Lionel Richie? Yeah, that's right, the 1980s number-one single "All Night Long." What about the one with the creepy rape vibe where in the music video he's stalking some blind girl talking about how he can "see it in her eyes"? Yup, "Hello," another 1980s number-one hit. Or how about that song a bunch of celebrities always sing for TV disaster benefits? Exactly, "We Are The World." A motherfucking 1980s number-one single.
That hair was atrocious, but it gave him powers, because each and every one of his number-one singles happened in the '80s.
1990s: The Urban Studies Professor
We can already see the huge change between the Pharoah-fro and this 'do. When the clock struck midnight and 1990 rolled around, Richie looked at his reflection in the platinum champagne chalice being held up by the four imported high-class African sex slave that he purchased with the income of his chart-shattering singles and thought to himself, "What the fuck?" Four minutes later, his sophisticated new look was complete. And while he looked remarkably better, Lionel had no number-one singles in the '90s.
2000s: The "Who We Were Looking For"
There we go, that's a Richie that doesn't make us laugh. The '80s Richie was Steve Urkel whereas 2000s Richie is Stefan Urquelle. Once again, though, no number-one singles in the new millenium.
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So do you notice a pattern? The goofier the dude looks, the more hit songs he creates. Could it be that his godly songwriting abilities stem directly from his hair follicles? Should Richie go back to looking like an extra in a blaxploitation film about some black cop using the power of song to clean up the pimp-riddled streets?
-- Orlando Winters