The Heat Is On

Album: Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack (1984)
Charted: 12 2

Songfacts®:

  • As MTV was picking up steam in America, movie producers started putting extra effort into their soundtracks, as a properly placed original song could become a huge hit from a blockbuster film, creating nice bit of synergy. A great example is Beverly Hills Cop, which gave us "Neutron Dance," "New Attitude" and "Axel F."

    "The Heat Is On" was written for the film by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey, and they needed a popular artist to sing it. The Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack album was on MCA Records, which Glenn Frey recently signed with. MCA asked several of their male rock singers to audition for the lead vocal for the song. At first Frey thought this wasn't something "rock stars" did, but he decided to go along, just for fun, never thinking they'd pick him. Harold Faltermeyer was impressed by Frey's vocal (the instrumental tracks were already recorded) and shocked Frey by using his version. It was Frey's biggest solo hit, reaching #2 in the US, where it was stymied by REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Louisville, KY
  • Beverly Hills Cop starred Eddie Murphy as a cop from Detroit who shakes things up in California. Glenn Frey was born and raised in Detroit where he played in bands with names like The Mushrooms and Subterraneans before heading to Los Angeles and joining the Eagles. Another Detroit connection from the movie: Allee Willis, who wrote "Neutron Dance," is from Detroit and went to Mumford High School - notice that in the movie, Eddie Murphy wears a Mumford jacket.
  • The music video for this song was one of the first to use clips from a movie interspersed with performance footage. It did very well on MTV, as it never hurt to put Eddie Murphy on TV in the '80s.
  • In an interview with Tavis Smiley, Frey talked about how he ended up recording this song: "The Eagles are broke up and it's in the middle '80s, and Irving Azoff, my manager, calls me up and said, 'Glenn, you got to come to a screening. We're going to show this movie, this Eddie Murphy movie. It's going to be huge. You've got to get a song in it. Come on.' So I went to the screening and I'm sitting there, and Don was there and Irving was there, and we're waiting for the movie to start, and I look over my shoulder – Quincy Jones. Okay. I look over my shoulder – Stevie Wonder. Look back over here, it's the Pointer Sisters. I'm sitting there going, 'I'm dead. There's no way I'm getting a song in Beverly Hills Cop.'

    So we watched the movie with temp music and it was fabulous and we laughed, and everybody said, 'This movie is going to be huge.' But I never thought I'd get a song in it. So a month or two goes by and then all of a sudden somebody says, 'Hey, we're going to send you a song. See if you maybe want to sing it. It's written by these guys, Keith Forsey and Harold Faltermeyer, the guys in Munich that do the Donna Summer records are going to send you something. See if you want to sing it. So they sent me a demo of 'The Heat is On.' It sounded kind of like a Huey Lewis thing, the saxophone in it. Kind of sounded like something I might do. So I said, 'Okay, I'll do it.' So I met the guys, I came in, I sang it one day, I played guitar and did background vocals the next day and I got a small check, I think 15 grand. I had a little Christmas money, and I was happy."
  • This is a popular song at sporting events, as it lets the visiting team know they are coming under pressure. The St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets have frequently played the song during home games, as have the Ottawa Senators of the NHL.
  • This was one of the biggest '80s hits with a prominent saxophone part, which was played by David Woodford, who is best known for his work with Aerosmith but has also played on songs by Chris Isaak, Rod Stewart and Aaron Neville. Woodford did not appear in the video, however. That part was played by Bev Dalke-Smith, who is an accomplished sax, flute and clarinet player.

Comments: 10

  • Seventhmist from 7th Heaven"A small check" for 15 grand. Guess Frey wasn't impressed with his payoff, which might explain why he turned down an offer to perform another song in "Beverly Hills Cop II." What he threw away, Bob Seger was glad to pick up.
  • Knotwilg from BelgiumThe solo is nothing more than a reversal of the vocal lines plus a pentatonic ending. I always found that this 80s sound was very remote from Eagles material. Now I know why: it's a Faltermeyer song!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1985 {March 10th} "The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100* chart, for the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon...
    Two months later on May 6th, 1985 "The Heat Is On" reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    Between 1982 and 1992 the Detroit rocker, as a solo artist, had twelve Top 100 records, two made the Top 10 and both peaked at #2, the above "The Heat Is On" and "You Belong to the City" for 2 weeks on November 10th, 1985...
    Glenn Lewis Frey passed away at the age of 67 on January 18th, 2016...
    May he R.I.P.
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Top 10 on March 10th, 1985:
    At #3. "Material Girl" by Madonna
    #4. "California Girls" by David Lee Roth
    #5. "One More Night" by Phil Collins
    #6. "Too Late for Goodbyes" by Julian Lennon
    #7. "Careless Whisper" by Wham! featuring George Michael
    #8. "Lovergirl" by Teena Marie
    #9. "Private Dancer" by Tina Turner
    #10. "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood ...
  • Dad Joke from Denver, CoThis song is about why you shouldn't leave the door open in the winter.
  • Ymh4eva from Los Fangeles, CaPretty much the soundtrack of my life. Ooooh-wo-ho, Ooooh-wo-ho! Little known fact: Fry wore his jeans high and tight during the recording sess and you can hear it in every note. Have fun pretending to like jazz, you come huggers. I'm watching ALL movies, not just Sissy Act 2: My Habit is Blacks.
  • Luke Lee from London, UkI always thought Frey wrote this himself. And why was Stevie Wonder at a movie screening?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    The City of Royal Oak, Michigan and the Royal Oak School Board voted Thursday (February 11th, 2016) to name a section of Willis Avenue there as "Glenn Frey Drive" in honor of the late Eagles guitarist, who grew up in the town...
    The honor will be made official at the unveiling February 18th in front of Glenn's alma mater, Dondero High School.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyFrey also plays the guitar solo in the break. After recording his vocal, Frey told Forsey and Faltermeyer that he "often" did guitar solos on Eagles songs (he almost never did) and he'd like to come up with one for this song. They liked the solo and overdubbed it the next day.
  • Randy from Rio De Janeiro, -Anyone know who the woman is pretending to play the saxophone in the video?
  • Harold from University Park, Palol my father always thought that a woman sang this song! XD
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