"Endless Love" is a song written by Lionel Richie and originally recorded as a duet between Richie and fellow soul singer Diana Ross. In this ballad, the singers declare their "endless love" for one another. It was covered by soul singer Luther Vandross with R&B singer Mariah Carey and also by country musicsinger Kenny RogersBillboard has named it the greatest song duet of all time.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 About the record

About the record[edit][edit | edit source]

Ross and Richie recorded the song for Motown, and it was used as the theme for the Franco Zeffirelli's film Endless Love. Produced by Richie and arranged by Gene Page, it was released as a single from the film's soundtrack in 1981. While the film Endless Love was not a success, the song became the second biggest-selling single of the year (first was "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes) in the U.S. and reached number 1 on the Hot 100, where it stayed for nine weeks from August 15 to October 10, 1981. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart, and reached number 7 in the UK.

The soulful composition became the biggest-selling single of Ross' career and her 18th career number-one single (including her work with The Supremes), while it was the first of several hits for Richie during the 1980s. Ross recorded a solo version of the song for her first RCA Records album, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, the duet version being her last hit on Motown. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Richie, and was the second song with which Ross was involved that was nominated for an Oscar. It also won a 1982 American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single.

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (1981) Peak


Australian Kent Music Report 1
Canadian Singles Chart[1] 1
Dutch Singles Chart 100
Norwegian Singles Chart 8
Swedish Singles Chart 5
Swiss Singles Chart 6
UK Singles Chart 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 1
U.S. Billboard Black Singles 1

End-of-decade charts[edit][edit | edit source]

End of decade (1980–1989) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
Preceded by

"Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield

Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Ross/Richie version)

August 15, 1981 - October 10, 1981

Succeeded by

"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" byChristopher Cross

Preceded by

"I'm in Love" by Evelyn King

Billboard Hot Soul Singles number-one single (Ross/Richie version)

August 22, 1981 - October 3, 1981

Succeeded by

"When She Was My Girl" by The Four Tops"

Preceded by

"Touch Me When We're Dancing" by The Carpenters

Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single (Ross/Richie version)

September 5, 1981 (3 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" byChristopher Cross

Preceded by

"You Drive Me Crazy" by Shakin' Stevens

Australian Kent Music Report number-one single (Ross/Richie version)

October 5, 1981 - October 26, 1981

Succeeded by

"You Weren't in Love with Me" by Billy Field

Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey version[edit][edit | edit source]

"Endless Love"
Single by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
from the album Songs
Released August 29, 1994
Format CD singlecassette single7" single
Genre PopR&B
Length 4:21
Label Epic
Writer(s) Lionel Richie
Producer(s) Walter Afanasieff
Certification Platinum (Australia)

Gold (New Zealand, U.S.)

Luther Vandross chronology
"Never Let Me Go"


"Endless Love"


"Always and Forever"


Mariah Carey chronology
"Anytime You Need a Friend"


"Endless Love"


"All I Want for Christmas Is You"


"Endless Love"MENU   0:00 Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey's "Endless Love" from Songs----
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Walter Afanasieff produced Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey's cover of the song for Vandross' Epic Records-released album Songs, and it is known for being Carey's first "high-profile" duet (an earlier duet, "I'll Be There," was with the then-unknown background singer Trey Lorenz). At the 1995 Grammy Awards, the song was nominated in the new category of Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, losing to "Funny How Time Slips Away" by Al Green and Lyle Lovett.Columbia Records later included the song on Carey's compilation album Greatest Hits (2001) and then again on her next compilation album, The Ballads(2008). It was released as the second single from Songs in 1994.

Recording[edit][edit | edit source]

Sony Music Entertainment President Tommy Mottola suggested that Vandross record Songs, an album of cover versions. Featuring Vandross' versions of songs like Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With," Heatwave's "Always and Forever," and Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," the album was shaping up to be a major career accomplishment. To give the album a bigger boost, Mottola's then-wife, Mariah Carey, came up with the idea to remake "Endless Love" as a duet with her. Lionel Richie and Diana Ross had originally recorded "Endless Love" in 1981, and the song spent nine weeks at number 1. Although Luther's album was already set to contain one Lionel Richie composition, "Hello," it was obvious that having the most-popular female singer on the Sony label singing on the album would be a benefit.[2]

Critical reception[edit][edit | edit source]

Allmusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine highlighted this track.[3] Entertainment Weekly's Jeremy Helligar wrote that if Luther wants a No. 1 he needs something less drippy than "Endless Love."[4]

Track listings[edit][edit | edit source]

7" Single[5][6]

  1. "Endless Love" - 4:21
  2. "Endless Love" (Instrumental) - 4:22

Japanese 3" CD Single[7]

  1. "Endless Love" - 4:21
  2. "Endless Love" (Mariah Only) - 4:22
  3. "Endless Love" (Luther Only) - 4:22
  4. "Endless Love" (Instrumental) - 4:22

UK & European CD Maxi Single[8][9]

  1. "Endless Love" - 4:21
  2. "Endless Love" (Instrumental) - 4:22
  3. "Never Too Much (Live) - 5:00
  4. "Any Love" (Live) - 5:22
  5. "She Won't Talk To Me" (Live) - 5:14

Self Made

  1. "Endless Love" (Kenny G Only) - 4:24

Chart performance[edit][edit | edit source]

"Endless Love" debuted on September 10, 1994 at number 31 and peaked at number 2 being held back from the top position by Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You". The song became Luther Vandross' biggest pop hit ever and gave Lionel Richie his first top ten as a songwriter in seven years. It became Vandross's fifth top-ten single and Carey's twelfth. It remained in the top forty for thirteen weeks, and was ranked number 56 on the Hot 100 1994 year-end charts. It was also an improvement over Carey's previous single, "Anytime You Need a Friend," which had missed the top ten. It was certified gold by theRIAA.

The song was a success outside the U.S, reaching the top of the chart in New Zealand (for five weeks) and the top five in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands. It also reached the top 20 in most of the countries. It was certified gold in Australia by ARIA and in New Zealand by RIANZ.

Total sales in the UK stand at 230,000.[10]

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

Two music videos were released for the single; one features Carey and Vandross recording the song in a studio, and the other shows the two performing the song live at Royal Albert Hall. The latter performance is included on the Luther Vandross: From Luther with Love music video collection in DVD format.

Some versions of the song itself were released, in which Carey or Vandross sings solo.

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Lionel Richie and Shania Twain version[edit][edit | edit source]

"Endless Love"
Single by Lionel Richie and Shania Twain
from the album Tuskegee
Released February 7, 2012
Format Digital downloadairplay
Recorded 2011
Genre Countrypop
Length 4:18
Label Universal Music Nashville
Writer(s) Lionel Richie
Producer(s) Nathan Chapman, Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie singles chronology
"Just Go"


"Endless Love"


"Say You, Say Me"


Shania Twain singles chronology
"Today Is Your Day"


"Endless Love"


Lionel Richie re-recorded the song in 2011 as a duet with country singer Shania Twain. It was released as the lead single from his album Tuskegee on February 7, 2012. The recording process of song was documented in the final episode of Twain's reality docudrama series, Why Not? with Shania Twain, which aired on June 12, 2011.

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

A music video for the song was recorded in the Bahamas in February 2012. The video, directed by Paul Boyd, was released to country music channels CMTand GAC on March 23, 2012.

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Weekly charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (2012) Peak


Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[32] 99
US BillboardBubbling Under Hot 100[33] 16
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[34] 12

Year-end charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (2012) Peak


US Adult Contemporary[35] 30

Song appearances[edit][edit | edit source]

The song was included in Adam Sandler's movie Happy Gilmore when Happy and his girlfriend Virginia are ice skating, and the song begins to play. Virginia says to Happy "I thought we were just going to be friends." To which he responds, "What, friends listen to 'Endless Love' in the dark."

In A Night at the Roxbury, there was a wedding going on with the couple singing the song, and the Butabis were dancing.

The song was included as well in the third season of Friends, in which Phoebe walks into Chandler's apartment, to find him singing the song and holding Lionel Richie's first album (even though the song is included on his fourth album, Back to Front).[36]

On an episode of The Steve Harvey Show, Steve and Regina perform the song at a janitor's urging (who thought they were Ross and Richie); at the end of the song, the janitor quips "no wonder you guys haven't had a hit in a while."

On an episode of Glee Matthew Morrison, the Glee Club instructor and Lea Michele as one of his students (Rachel) sing the song as a duet in class with Lea Michele remarking in an interior monologue, "I never noticed before, but Mr. Shue is really cute." This leads to a series of increasingly embarrassing high school crush scenes.

Namibian singer Nianell and South African singer Dozi included it on their duet covers album "It Takes Two" in 2009. [37]

Live cover performances[edit][edit | edit source]

The song has been performed four times on American Idol, by Rickey Smith, Chris SlighDanny Gokey, and Deandre Brackensick. The song was also performed on Australian Idol in 2007 by eventual winnerNatalie Gauci on the Final 7 Birth Year (the contestants performed songs from the year they were born) theme night. It was also performed by Whitney Houston and her brother Gary Houston in some of her 1997-1998 concerts, including the Classic Whitney concert in Washington D.C.

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