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Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling (1986)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.15
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Dancing on the Ceiling” is a song by American recording artist Lionel Richie. It was written by Richie, Mike ...

“Dancing on the Ceiling” is a song by American recording artist Lionel Richie. It was written by Richie, Mike Frenchik, and Carlos Rios for his third studio album of the same name (1986), while production was helmed by Richie and James Anthony Carmichael. Released as the album’s leading single, it became a worldwide hit, reaching the top five in Sweden and Belgium as well as peaking on the top spot on the national singles chart in Norway. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1986, behind “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin and “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and the News.

Music video

The music video was directed by Stanley Donen who also co-produced it with Glenn Goodwin through Glenn Goodwin & Associates. Michael Peters choreographed and Daniel Pearl was the director of photography. Shooting took place during three days at Laird Studios in Culver City and one day on location at the LeMondrian Hotel in West Hollywood. The video reportedly cost somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000 (or around $400,000), making it the most expensive short form music video production at the time.

In the video, which premiered on September 8, 1986, Richie and friends attend a party and dance on the ceiling reminiscent of Fred Astaire’s routine in Donen’s 1951 film Royal Wedding. Donen later said that Richie actually adapted easier and quicker to the rotating room used in the video than Astaire did while shooting Royal Wedding. There is also a reference in the video to The Seven Year Itch when air blows a woman’s skirt over her head. At the end Rodney Dangerfield and Cheech Marin make cameo appearances. The video also features dancer Diane Alexander, who would later become Richie’s second wife.

In the fall of 1986 HBO aired a half-hour TV special, Lionel Richie: The Making of Dancing on the Ceiling, directed by Sandra Hay and Alan J. Kozlowski, which takes a look at behind the scenes of the music video shoot. This documentary was also released on VHS and later as a hidden extra on Richie’s The Definitive Collection DVD.

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