Dancing on the Ceiling (Lionel Richie song)

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"Dancing on the Ceiling"
Single by Lionel Richie
from the album Dancing on the Ceiling
B-side Love Will Find a Way
Released June 19, 1986
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1986
Genre Pop, Pop Rock, R&B
Length 4:21
Label Motown
Writer(s) Lionel Richie, Carlos Rios, Michael Frenchik
Producer(s) Lionel Richie, James Anthony Carmichael
Lionel Richie singles chronology
"Say You, Say Me"
"Dancing on the Ceiling"
"Love Will Conquer All"

"Dancing on the Ceiling" is a song written by Mike Frenchik, Lionel Richie and Carlos Rios and performed by Richie on his 1986 album of the same name.[1]

The song reached the top spot on the Norwegian charts.[2]

21st century views[edit]

"This [sense of swagger] isn't entirely a good thing, since it means he indulges in silliness [...]" – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.[1]

In the early 21st century, Blender magazine published a list of the "50 worst songs of all time", with "Dancing on the Ceiling" listed at No. 20.[3]

Despite some negative views expressed since its release, the song remains a regular addition to 80's music nights at clubs and bars.

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Stanley Donen who also co-produced it with Glenn Goodwin through Glenn Goodwin & Associates.[4] Michael Peters choreographed[5] and Daniel Pearl was the director of photography.[6] Shooting took place during three days at Laird Studios in Culver City and one day on location at the LeMondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.[4] The video reportedly cost somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000[5] (or around $400,000), making it the most expensive short form music video production at the time.[4]

In the video, which premiered on September 8, 1986,[7] Richie and friends attend a party and dance on the ceiling reminiscent of Fred Astaire's routine in Donen's 1951 film Royal Wedding.[4] 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.[8] 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.[5] The video also features dancer Diane Alexander, who would later become Richie's second wife.[9][10]

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.


"Dancing on the Ceiling" reached No. 7 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin and "Stuck with You" by Huey Lewis and the News.

Chart (1986) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles 6
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 3
UK Singles Chart 7
France (SNEP)[11] 42

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Dancing on the Ceiling". allmusic. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Lionel Richie - Dancing on the Ceiling (Song)". norwegiancharts.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Blender Magazine - 50 Worst Songs Ever (Music Database :: Dave Tompkins)". Cs.ubc.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d Frank Lovece (October 18, 1986). "Stanley Donen Is Dancin' On Air After Directing Richie Clip". Billboard. 98 (42): 78. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Linda Moleski (September 6, 1986). "Video Track". Billboard. 98 (36): 59. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Daniel Pearl's resumé". Daniel Pearl. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Dancing on the ceiling [copyright notice]". faqs.org. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ Andy Roberts (June 20, 2010). "Happy Birthday, Lionel Richie". TheVine. Archived from the original on July 26, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  9. ^ Summertime, and the Loving Is Anything but Easy for Lionel, Melvin and Stephanie
  10. ^ The Joy and Pain of Celebrity Marriage
  11. ^ "Lescharts.com – Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling" (in French). Les classement single.