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Music icon Lionel Richie opens up to USA TODAY’s Bryan Alexander about the ’80s outfit he’ll never live down, his favorite songs and more before his All the Hits tour with Mariah Carey.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES —  Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey singing their top songs in concert is an event that could go All Night Long.

That’s why Richie, 68, is calling his upcoming 22-stop tour  with “very special guest” Carey, 47, the All the Hits Tourofficially kicking off July 21 in Oakland, Calif.

“Mariah’s coming with her stack (of hits), and I’m coming with my stack, and we have to get in and get out or someone is going to die,” says Richie.

Fully recovered from February knee surgery that delayed the tour, Richie is rested and ready to hear the fans shout as each chart-topper starts.

“Then they start singing along even louder than I am,” says Richie. “That amazes me the most as a writer.”

We asked Richie to rank his hits (and one ’80s outfit):

Q: Out of all of your love songs, what’s the best for loving?

A: Hello is definitely the pick-up line of life. So they move in with Hello. You have to have strategic shots, right? Truly is the closer. Three Times a Lady, it means it’s just all over. But if you don’t start with Hello, you’re going to lose. Like a big dog.

Q: Which song brings the most tears?

A:  This is not fiction here, but at funerals (people) play All Night Long and Dancing on the Ceiling. Do you think that applies? And you start thinking, how did I get to a funeral? But that was their favorite song.

Even though they are up-tempo, happy songs, it’s what people remember. It’s happy tears.

Q:  What’s your top apology for an ’80s outfit?

A: My Dancing on the Ceiling (video) outfit. Every time I see it I just go, ‘Really? I did put that on.’ And I did. The outfit and the hair. You know, if I could re-do…