Dancing On The Ceiling

Album: Dancing On The Ceiling (1986)
Charted: 7 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Not to be confused with the slower 1930 Rodgers/Hart composition of the same name, the title track of Richie's 3rd solo album is a show opener, and one that sets the mood for the rest of the concert, which in keeping with the major body of his work, is usually a fun affair. The song is about having a good time - and literally dancing on the ceiling. Lyrically, it's far from challenging, but Richie created a very memorable couplet with "Oh, what a feeling, when we're dancing on the ceiling."
  • Richie co-wrote the song with Mike Frenchnik and Carlos Rios, and spared no expense; the video is said to have cost a staggering $400,000! It was one of the most memorable clips of the '80s, using the rotating room effect made famous in the 1951 movie Royal Wedding, where Fred Astaire danced on the ceiling. The film was directed by Stanley Donen, and he was enlisted to do the same effect on Richie's video, which retained its wow factor 35 years later, taking it to another level by having a number of people rotating in the room at the same time, rather than just one. In 2010, the movie Inception used more complex variations on the same effect.
  • Released on the Motown label in 7-inch and 12-inch formats as well as a CD single, the song runs to 4 minutes 21 seconds, and was backed by "Love Will Find A Way". >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
  • The direct-to-video "The Making Of 'Dancing On The Ceiling,'" available on laser disc and VHS, sold over 100,000 copies for about $20 each.

Comments: 1

  • David from Orlando, FlThe video alone for Dancing on the Ceiling launched my personal interest in music videos to the stratosphere! Everything from the gravity-defying trick photography techniques to the catchy tune accompanying the storyline (a surprise party for Lionel), along with the camaraderie of the people plus memorable cameos by Cheech Marin and Rodney Dangerfield made for a once in a generation (if not once in a lifetime experience). The rotating room (also referred to as a gimbel machine in a DVD bonus feature on the making of this video in Lionel Richie's video collection) was also used in High School Musical 3 on the Zac Efron solo musical number "Scream" (not to be confused with the Michael and Janet Jackson song). In Zac's case, he performed alone (as did Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding) and the effect was meant to showcase his world "spinning out of control", but still, I couldn't help get a kick out of comparing the two scenarios two decades apart, even if the "Scream" sequence only lasted around ten seconds of the three minute song. Lionel Richie remains my all-time favorite artist for a variety of reasons, mostly the well-written ballads, but it all started with a thrilling dance song and one of the greatest fantasies I have ever seen captured on film.
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