Dancing on the Ceiling
|Dancing on the Ceiling|
|Studio album by Lionel Richie|
|Released||August 5, 1986|
|Producer||Lionel Richie, James Anthony Carmichael, Narada Michael Walden for Perfection Light Productions|
|Lionel Richie chronology|
|Singles from Dancing on the Ceiling|
Dancing on the Ceiling is Lionel Richie's third solo album, recorded beginning in 1985 and released in mid-1986. The album was originally to be titled Say You, Say Me, after the Academy Award-winning track of the same name, but it was renamed after Richie rewrote the album. The album was released to generally positive reviews and warm sales, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and moving 4 million copies. Following the album's release Richie went on a long hiatus, releasing his first album of entirely new material ten years later.
Background and recording
Lionel Richie had risen to prominence as a member of the Commodores during the late 1970s, but after tensions arose in the band he left in 1981. His first two solo albums, Lionel Richie (1982) and Can't Slow Down (1983), were runaway successes: Lionel Richie moved 4 million units, while Can't Slow Down sold 10 million copies and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Dancing on the Ceiling was his third solo album.
Recording of the songs later used on Dancing on the Ceiling began in 1985. The track "Say You, Say Me" was used in that year's White Nights, for which it had won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Work on the album was done while Richie was finalizing his work with "We Are the World".
During early production, the album was intended to be titled Say You, Say Me and released in December 1985. However, Richie found that he did not "want to do those songs" owing to the social conditions he saw, and as such he began rewriting it "to express what [he] felt the world was boxing itself into". Ultimately, the album's title was changed to Dancing on the Ceiling, as the titular song was Richie's next single. Recording for the album took over a year and a half, and Richie later stated that he tried to include a mixture of sounds.
All tracks produced by Lionel Richie and James Anthony Carmichael, except "Night Train (Smooth Alligator)" produced by Narada Michael Walden.
|1.||"Dancing on the Ceiling"||Lionel Richie||Richie, Carlos Rios, Michael Frenchik||4:30|
|2.||"Se La"||Richie||Richie, Greg Phillinganes||5:22|
|4.||"Don't Stop"||Richie||Richie, John Barnes||7:43|
|5.||"Deep River Woman" (backing vocals: Alabama)||Richie||Richie||4:35|
|6.||"Love Will Conquer All"||Richie, Cynthia Weil||Richie, Phillinganes||5:40|
|7.||"Tonight Will Be Alright" (backing vocals: Richard Marx)||Richie||Richie||5:06|
|8.||"Say You, Say Me"||Richie||Richie||4:00|
|9.||"Night Train (Smooth Alligator)" (bonus track, on compact disc and cassette only)||Jeffery Cohen||Narada Michael Walden, Preston Glass, Sade, Ray St. John, Walter Afanasieff||4:59|
|10.||"Dancing on the Ceiling (12-Inch Version)"||Mike Frenchik, Lionel Richie, and Carlos Rios||7:10|
|11.||"Se La (12-Inch Version)" (remix by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero)||Greg Phillinganes and Lionel Richie||8:12|
|12.||"Don't Stop (12-Inch Version)"||John Barnes and Lionel Richie||9:40|
|13.||"Love Will Conquer All" (remix by Shep Pettibone)||Greg Phillinganes, Lionel Richie, and Cynthia Weil||7:01|
Dancing on the Ceiling was released in mid-1986. The album sold some 4 million copies in the US. It became the first album to be simultaneously certified silver, gold, platinum, and double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America since the institution established double platinum in 1984. To promote the album Richie went on a 40-city concert tour, entitled "Outrageous". The first concert was in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dancing on the Ceiling peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200. The title cut was the second biggest single from the album, reaching No. 2 in the US and No. 7 in the UK, falling behind "Say You, Say Me"'s earlier performance. Other Top 10 singles from the album include "Love Will Conquer All" (U.S. No. 9, UK No. 45) and "Ballerina Girl" (U.S. No. 7, UK No. 17). Meanwhile, "Deep River Woman" reached No. 10 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
Dancing on the Ceiling has generally received positive reviews. Anthony Decurtis, reviewing in Rolling Stone, gave the album a positive review, writing that it "sets an impressive standard for mainstream pop craft", encompassing Richie's "finest qualities". He especially praised the track "Say You, Say Me", but found "Ballerina Girl" a "virtual anthology of Richie's worst saccharine excesses".
Music critic Robert Christgau ranked the album a B+. He found that it provided "lulling, almost mantralike entertainment" with "a knack for tune that puts [Richie] over the fine line between lulling and boring". His criticism centered on "Ballerina" for its mawkishness and lack of interest in some of the faster songs. Meanwhile, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of allmusic gave Dancing on the Ceiling four out of five stars, summarizing that, overall, the album was "a solid, enjoyable affair". He considered, however, it a "comedown" after Richie's previous albums, with its songs generally longer than necessary and the lyrics mixing "silliness ... and sappiness".
Following the success of Dancing on the Ceiling, Richie withdrew almost entirely from the music industry for six years, a move which Steve Huey of allmusic suggests was "quitting while he was ahead". He released a compilation album – with some new material – entitled Back to Front in 1992, with his first all-new release, Louder Than Words, following in 1996. As of 2013[update], none of his successive albums have been as successful as Lionel Richie, Can't Slow Down, and Dancing on the Ceiling. A remastered edition of Dancing on the Ceiling was released in 2003, featuring four bonus tracks.
- All data from Discogs, Lionel Richie (1).
- Drums, Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Sheila E., Greg Phillinganes, Paul Leim, Lionel Richie, John Robinson, Narada Michael Walden
- Bass: Joe Chemay, Nathan East, Randy Jackson, Abraham Laboriel, Neil Stubenhaus
- Guitars: Vernon "Ice" Black, Eric Clapton, Dave Cochran, Charles Fearing, Tim May, Steve Lukather, Carlos Rios, Louis Shelton
- Keyboards, Synthesizers: John Barnes, Dave Cochrane, Preston Glass, Michael Lang, Neil Larsen, Greg Phillinganes, Tiger Head Preston, Lionel Richie, Carlos Rios
- Programming: John Barnes, Greg Phillinganes, Narada Michael Walden
- Saxophone: Dave Cochran
|1986||The Billboard 200||1|
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September 27, 1986 – October 10, 1986
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- "Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling (1)". Discogs. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling (2)". Discogs. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Dancing on the Ceiling | Awards". allmusic. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- Decurtis, Anthony (November 6, 1986). "Lionel Richie: Dancing on the Ceiling". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling". allmusic. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Grein, Paul (November 15, 1986). "Richie Sets Multiplatinum Record: Boston has RIAA Top Debut Album". Billboard: 5, 100.
- Huey, Steve. "Lionel Richie". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- Moleski, Linda (October 4, 1986). "Multiplatinum Life: Lionel Can't Slow Down...". Billboard: 24.
- Sloan, Robert (March 1, 2009). "What a Feeling ..I'm Still Dancing on the Ceiling". Sunday Mail. Retrieved February 4, 2013. (subscription required)