PIERS MOR­GAN

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SEVEN DAYS -

Din­ner with Lionel Richie at the Sun­set Tower ho­tel in Hol­ly­wood.

He was still buzzing with ex­cite­ment about be­ing con­firmed as the head­line legend act for next sum­mer’s Glas­ton­bury fes­ti­val.

‘If you could choose a su­per­group to per­form with,’ I asked him, ‘from ev­ery artist you’ve ever per­formed with, who would you go for?’

‘Wow!’ he replied. ‘ That’s some ques­tion, like be­ing asked who your favourite child is…’

I or­dered a bot­tle of his favourite Sancerre to loosen his tongue.

‘OK, on key­boards, I’d go for Billy Joel.’ ‘Not Ste­vie Won­der?’ ‘Oh wait… I have to have Ste­vie too, he’s a ge­nius.’ ‘So Billy and Ste­vie?’ ‘And El­ton. I can’t leave El­ton out. I saw him play Bach all evening once at a pri­vate party – he was in­cred­i­ble.’

‘So, Billy, Ste­vie and El­ton on key­boards.’ ‘I for­got Marvin.’ ‘Gaye?’ ‘Are they any other Marvins?’ Lionel’s su­per­group al­ready had four key­board play­ers. ‘Drums?’ ‘Phil Collins. Love that guy.’ ‘Gui­tarists?’ ‘ Nile Rodgers [of Chic fame] is a phe­nom­e­nal gui­tarist; he has to make the cut. Then I’d go for Brian May on lead gui­tar and Paul McCart­ney on bass.’ ‘Male lead singer?’ ‘Fred­die Mer­cury. Not just a great singer, with an ex­tra­or­di­nary range, but such a show­man too.’

‘ No room for Michael Jack­son, Prince or Si­na­tra?’ Lionel sighed, loudly. ‘This is so hard… can I have them as back­ing singers?’

‘ Yes, OK. Fi­nally, fe­male lead singer?’

‘Whit­ney was as­ton­ish­ing at her peak. But I ac­tu­ally think Aretha Franklin is the great­est fe­male singer I’ve heard.’ ‘Not Bar­bra Streisand?’ ‘Well she’s fab­u­lous too, ob­vi­ously. I just did a duet with her of The Way We Were.’

‘I sang that song to her at a din­ner party, on bended knee.’ ‘To BAR­BRA?’ ‘Yes.’ Lionel looked like I’d just told him he had three weeks to live. ‘I’m not sorry I missed that.’ I got home and re­layed his re­ac­tion to Ms Streisand. She replied im­me­di­ately: ‘LOL!’ Which was her ex­act same re­sponse when I sang to her.

‘I danced with Princess Diana,’ said Tom Sel­leck,

‘and was so ner­vous I couldn’t think of any­thing to say. It’s my great re­gret’

A month ago, I booked my usual room at the Car­lyle ho­tel in New York.

Tonight, I ar­rived to find bar­ri­ers out­side the en­trance hold­ing back hun­dreds of scream­ing fans, and a wall of pho­tog­ra­phers.

‘Blimey,’ I said to the 50 po­lice, FBI, snif­fer- dogs and Se­cret Ser­vice stand­ing out­side. ‘You re­ally didn’t need to go all this trou­ble…’

Of course, Prince Wil­liam and his wife Kate had de­cided to stay there too, which turned the whole place into five- star melt­down.

The Car­lyle has prob­a­bly the most fa­mous lifts in the world, manned by im­mac­u­lately uni­formed ‘el­e­va­tor op­er­a­tors’ who’ve worked there, in some cases, for decades.

Michael Jack­son, Princess Diana and Steve Jobs all once shared one at the same time – in what is be­lieved to be the most pow­er­ful lift ride in his­tory. (JFK is widely ru­moured to have se­duced Mar­i­lyn at the Car­lyle but they were never seen in the same lift.)

I stepped into one five min­utes after Prince Wil­liam.

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