Going all the way back to his days with the Commodores, so many of Lionel Richie’s songs have been about being happy and having a good time. “Dancing on the Ceiling,” the title track from Lionel’s third solo album, is pure joy. It also did quite well on the U.S. and international pop charts in 1986.
The video for “Dancing on the Ceiling” features Lionel Richie doing exactly that at a party. It was directed by Stanley Donen, known for his work on such Hollywood classics as Singin’ in the Rain and On the Town. The ceiling dancing was made possible by a rotating room. Donen used the same technique in his 1951 film Royal Wedding, which starred Fred Astaire. Donen said that Lionel adapted to the rotating room more quickly than Astaire had.
According to Billboard, the production cost somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000, making it the most expensive short form music video at the time. HBO aired a half-hour TV special called Lionel Richie: The Making of “Dancing on the Ceiling.” The documentary was also released on VHS and laser disc, selling over 100,000 copies.
As you’re enjoying the party, watch for cameo appearances by a couple of famous comedians!