BOSTON (CBS) – Lionel Richie will not be performing at the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the 4th of July Monday.

He’ll be replaced by country music superstar Martina McBride.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

In a statement released early Friday morning, Richie said he had to back out at the last minute because of strained vocal cords.

“I am extremely disappointed to cancel my performance with the Boston Pops but must follow my doctor’s orders.  It was such an honor being asked to celebrate the Fourth of July with this legendary orchestra and I hope to perform with them in the future.”

You can watch the celebration on WBZ-TV beginning at 8 p.m., or listen to the festivities on WBZ NewsRadio 1030, beginning at 7 p.m.


Comments (18)
  1. Willow says:

    Love Lionel Ritchie and sorry he had to cancel his performance. Martina McBride is also wonderful, so I’m sure it will be great entertainment.

  2. Michael Sullivan says:

    In recent years, NBC has been televising the NYC Macy fireworks show to the nation. I noticed that the roster of performing artists is getting bigger and more contemporary every year. This year they have Beyonce and others. Perhaps Ms. McBride will help the Boston show ratings-wise below the Mason Dixon line now that they have yet ANOTHER country western performer here, because the long past his prime Mr. Ritchie would have been ratings cyanide. Having perhaps lucked out by this turn of events, I would still like to ask the organizers of this event to perhaps choose someone who will not only appeal to a national ratings demo, but also to the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. Boston. Not Austin. We are fed a steady stream of country lately, and this is not a great country market. How about the winners of American Idol and The Voice next year? It would be interesting to see how he two champions stack up against each other…or the cast of Glee? Or anyone who has been famous as recently as five years ago?

    1. Willow says:

      Michael, you do realize that the winner and runnerup of this years American Idol were both country singers, don’t you? Although it isn’t for everyone, country music by far is more popular then some of the pop music we now hear. Just saying.

      1. Michael Sullivan says:

        Willow, did you really read my post? I said the audience in the south might HELP the shows ratings BECAUSE of the country music, but HERE, BOSTON….the place where the event is held, is NOT country music territory. I did not cast aspersions on the genre, I simply stated a fact which no one who has any knowledge of music, or this area would dispute. This is not the market for country. Just ask the legion of failed country radio stations that tried and failed since the “Country Boom” of the 80s. You do realize that , don’t you? Just saying.

    2. Bokeen88 says:

      You obviously haven’t pais attention to the number of country acts that come to the Boston area and sell out. kenny Chesney fills Gillette every time he plays. Boston’s country station 102.5 has been going gangbusters for the last 5 years. Don’t think of Boston in the 90’s. Country is here in Boston and it is here to stay.

  3. C Green says:

    Pops always rolls out these B list musicians like we are lucky to get them. Boston Symphony sits on a huge endowment – why can’t it spring for a top contemporary singer? So thankful Lionel Ritchie backed out – what a yawn –

  4. guest says:

    No great loss really. While I think that Mr Richie has talent and wish him a speedy recovery, I have never been a fan of his. I had no intention of watch for this reason. I am not familiar with Ms. McBride but maybe now I will tune in.

  5. Jayne says:

    You may be more familiar with Martina than you think.
    Her Hits “This one’s for the Girls” and “In My Daughter’s eyes”
    are widelplayed on radio.
    She has an amazing voice.
    I am looking forward to this!

    1. Willow says:

      Jayne, and also one of her most famous songs, “Independence Day.” It seems quite fitting that she would be invited to perform.

      1. Jayne says:


        Yes, I thought of that one of course right after I posted!
        most appropriate

  6. gregg1956 says:

    I think we traded UP!!

  7. Nicole R says:

    Don,t worry about it Mr. Ritchie. You WON’T be asked back. Your’e once, twice, three times a loser .

  8. Cindy says:

    In the day Lionel Richie was good, sorry he is not well. However I much perfer Martina, she is a great singer. I have seen her in concert way before she was famous and she performs well. They are lucky to have had her fill in.

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