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Flashback Video: 'Dancing on the Ceiling' by Lionel Richie

Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.

This issue we will cover "Dancing on the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie. This was the lead single released in July of 1986 from Richie's third solo album of the same name. It was a worldwide hit reaching #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September of that year while also reaching the Top 10 in at least eleven other countries.

The music video for "Dancing on the Ceiling" premiered on September 8, 1986 and reportedly cost near $500,000 making it the most expensive short form music video production at the time. Shooting took place during three days at Laird Studios in Culver City and one day on location at the LeMondrian Hotel in West Hollywood. "Dancing on the Ceiling" was directed by Stanley Donen probably because of his experience directing Fred Astaire's ceiling dance number in the 1951 film Royal Wedding. Donen is probably best known for co-directing 1949's On the Town and 1952's Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelly as well as many other Hollywood musicals through the '50s and '60s. He had never directed a music video before or again after.

In the video for "Dancing on the Ceiling", Lionel Richie and his band enter the hotel and head upstairs to perform the song at a party. First Richie begins to walk up the wall and literally dance on the ceiling and by the end of the video all the guests are able to join him. As with Astaire in Royal Wedding and also by "Turbo" in 1984's Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, this special effect is achieved by creating a rotating room and adjusting the camera to make it look like they are upside down. It really allows for some fun shots. The video includes cameo appearances by Cheech Marin and, at the very end, Rodney Dangerfield ("I shouldn't have eaten that upside down cake!"). Here is the music video for "Dancing on the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie...

In the fall of 1986, HBO aired a half-hour TV special called Lionel Richie: The Making of Dancing on the Ceiling which takes a look at behind the scenes of the music video shoot and was later released on VHS as well. If interested in learning more, you can watch that entire special right here...

In 1987, "Dancing on the Ceiling" won the Favorite Pop/Rock video at the American Music Awards.

Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!

1 Comment

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