Born in Tuskegee, Alabama and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Lionel Richie's first love was tennis before he went on to become one of the most accomplished R&B musicians of all time. He was so good at his sport of choice that he was able to obtain a scholarship to attend the Tuskegee Institute. After graduating with a degree in economics, Richie went on to become singer and saxophonist of The Commodores--a group that would help invent and bolster the disco sound. After growing weary of the confines of a band, Richie decided to strike out on his own and release an LP in 1982. Since then, Richie has managed to remain a fairly recognizable figure of the mainstream music scene with his characteristic vocals and easily identifiable singing style.