For years, Luke Bryan has been covering Lionel Richie during his live shows and telling everyone how much he loves Richie and how much his music influenced him. And though Bryan has met and performed with Richie several times over the years, it was 2017 that brought the country superstar together with his hero on “American Idol.”
To end the year, Bryan was able to reclaim his spot as Richie’s biggest fan by performing a pair of Richie’s hit, “Penny Lover” and “Sail On,” at the Kennedy Center Honors. The Honors are a national celebration of the arts and spotlights the extraordinary careers of five artists whose talent and ingenuity have enriched and shaped cultural life in America.
Bryan shared before the performance that it was likely going to be one of the biggest moments of his life, “Nobody, in my opinion is more deserving than Lionel when you look at his whole body of work as a singer-songwriter, as a band member, as an individual artist, as what he was able to do with charitable stuff through his year. I mean Lionel has always been himself and he embodies certainly what the Kennedy Center Honors is looking for, and the fact that I can stand there on that stage and sing songs from my childhood and my life to one of my heroes in that setting is something I will never forget.”
In another one of those “pinch me” moments for Bryan, Richie recently shared a video of the two of them working on “Sail On” on the piano.