Lionel Richie plays the hits at Mohegan Sun

No matter what happens in our miserably troubled world, Lionel Richie can at least rest happily knowing he wrote and sang "Easy," which is possibly the most perfect R&B ballad ever. What could be better than that mellow chorus: "That's why I'm easy / I'm easy like Sunday morning ..."?

And to think it almost never happened!

Yep, up until the Commodores showed up in the studio to record "Easy," they'd never heard Richie's lyrics. They set up gear, rolled tape, moved through the first verse and then Lionel kicked smoothly into the original refrain: "That's why I'm easy / I'm easy like a strung-out Bourbon Street hooker - "

"Whoa!" Producer James Anthony Carmichael shut off the recorder. "Lionel, are you sure that's the metaphor you wanna use?" The band mumbled and cast sour looks at their leader.

Richie scratched his head. "Let me try another idea ..."

Yes, it all worked out, and "Easy" is just the best of the dozens of immortal soul and R&B tunes Richie has written over the years - and you'll hear them live when his "All the Hits All Night Long" tour comes Saturday to the Mohegan Sun Arena.

As a bonus, CeeLo Green opens.


Lionel Richie, 8 p.m. Saturday, Mohegan Sun Arena; with CeeLo Green; $65 and $85;

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