July 1986: Lionel Richie Releases "Dancing on the Ceiling"

Lionel's on the ceiling again
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(YouTube)

By 1986, Lionel Richie was among the biggest stars in music. His 1983 album, the appropriately titled Can't Slow Down, came packed with hits, including Hot 100 chart-toppers "Hello" and "All Night Long (All Night)." Needless to say, expectations were high when it came time for the artist to release album number three.

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It was on July 15, 1986, when Lionel Richie released "Dancing on the Ceiling," the lead single and title track of the album, which would follow in early August of that year. The upbeat party tune danced its way up the charts, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 for the week of September 13, 1986. The song remained at #2 for two weeks in a row, blocked from the top spot first by Berlin's "Take My Breath Away (Love Theme from "Top Gun")" and Huey Lewis and the News' "Stuck With You."

The track came with an elaborate and expensive music video, which cost somewhere in the ballpark of $500,000. The sky-high budget made it the priciest video ever at the time. Utilizing a rotating room inspired by Fred Astaire's performance in movie Royal Wedding, the wild clip came with cameos from Cheech Marin and Rodney Dangerfield.

In fall 1986, HBO aired Lionel Richie: The Making of Dancing on the Ceiling, a half-hour special documenting the details of the video shoot. The special was turned into a wildly popular VHS release, and was later added as a hidden extra on a special edition version of Lionel Richie's The Definitive Collection that came with a DVD inside.

When Richie performed the song during a triumphant set at Glastonbury 2915, even event security was inspired to become part of the show with a surprise dance routine. Watch it below.

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"Our family is devastated," shared Bonnie Pointer's sister, Anita.
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Lionel Richie had just flown the Commodore coop when he got the call to perform the biggest solo gig of his life. 

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