Lionel Richie Recruited for Distinguished Sunday Slot at Glastonbury 2015

"It has a phenomenal history and the alumni of artists who have previously played is incredible so I'm honored to be joining that club," Richie says of playing the long-running fest

Lionel Richie performs during the 2014 Essence Music Festival on July 6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

The Sunday "teatime" slot at the Glastonbury Festival is usually reserved for music royalty, as legends like Leonard Cohen, Brian Wilson, James Brown and Paul Simon have all performed in the long-running fest's closing afternoon set. The first major artist to be announced for next year's Glastonbury, and the performer selected for that distinguished Sunday afternoon slot in June 2015, is Lionel Richie, the Guardian revealed.

"I'm really excited to play Glastonbury next year as it's one of the most iconic festivals in the world," Richie said in a statement. "It has a phenomenal history and the alumni of artists who have previously played is incredible so I'm honored to be joining that club. It will be a really special moment for me and I can't wait to share it with everyone. I can now say 'Yes, I'm playing Glastonbury.'"

"[Richie's] one of the great soul legends. He’s got all the songs, some incredible songs, and I think he will get people on their feet. There will be a lot of love out there for Lionel," organizer Emily Eavis told the Guardian. This past summer, Richie was named "Best of the Fest" on Rolling Stone's 45 Best Things We Saw at Bonnaroo 2014 list. The already-sold-out Glastonbury Festival will take place from June 24th to June 28th.

At this year's Glastonbury, Dolly Parton occupied the Sunday teatime slot, and her performance reportedly drew one of the biggest audiences in Glastonbury's history, NME writes. "In many ways it's its own headline slot. And I'd say Dolly probably opened the door for Lionel," Eavis said. "We got the phone call from his agent saying he was up for coming down, pretty much as we were packing the tents away from this year's festival."

Foo Fighters, AC/DC and Muse are among the frontrunners to headline the 2015 Glastonbury, with betting sites putting 8/11 odds on the Sonic Highways crew headlining one night of the Somerset festival. Among the more intriguing – but significantly less likely – artists receiving Glastonbury odds, according to NME: Led Zeppelin at 16/1, Pink Floyd at 20/1 (even though their new LP The Endless River marks "the end" of the band) and a 25/1 chance that David Bowie ends his decade-long live performance hiatus with a gig at Glastonbury.