Accompanied by a full band, Stapleton put his signature bluesy vocals on full display throughout the performance while Richie sang along from the side of stage with a smile on his face.
As his performance concluded, Stapleton tipped his hat to Richie, who rose to his feet and bowed to the Kentucky native.
“Say You, Say Me” was written and recorded by Richie for the 1985 film, White Nights. It topped the charts in December 1985 and was Richie’s ninth chart-topping single.
Watch Stapleton’s performance below at the 20:03 mark.
Lionel Richie: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was recorded at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on March 9 and also featured performances by Gershwin Prize honoree Gloria Estefan, Boyz II Men, Andra Day, Luke Bryan, Miguel, Yolanda Adams, and a special performance by honoree Lionel Richie. The event was hosted by actor and comedian Anthony Anderson.
According to a press release, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations of musicians.
“This is truly an honor of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” Richie, an Oscar winner, and four-time GRAMMY recipient, said. “I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”
— Chris Stapleton (@ChrisStapleton) May 17, 2022
Previous recipients of the Gershwin Prize include Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Smokey Robinson, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett and more.
Lionel Richie began his career with the Commodores and went on to have an outstanding run as a solo artist with hits like “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Hello,” and more.
Richie was previously recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree (2017) and included as a MusiCares’ person of the year in 2016.