George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam wrote this song. They met when they both performed at the wedding of Seattle socialite Susan Boeing and began playing clubs in the Northwest US. In 1985, they released an album as Boy Meets Girl and wrote Houston's hit "How Will I Know
." A year after this was released, they had a hit with "Waiting For A Star To Fall
." Speaking with Songfacts, they explained how the song came together and how Houston ended up recording it.
Merrill: "I think the biggest deal for Shannon and me was that we had had this meteoric success with 'How Will I Know,' that was the biggest thing that had ever happened for us in our career, and then to be asked to come up with another one, well, we just looked at each other. We thought, 'Well, that's kind of what this is about, it's not about the one song and goodbye. This is part of the fun of it, this is gonna be something that we want to continue, so we just went to work.'"
Rubicam: "That song got written pretty quickly, as I recall. We had a funky little garage studio at the time, and we just hung out in there one afternoon and wrote the song, and I know we tweaked it the next day, and started recording it on our little Teac 4-track deck that we were using."
Merrill: "Yeah, we were doing a lot of ping-ponging."
Rubicam: "And then a friend of ours had a larger, more comprehensive studio, so we recorded the demo there and the demo we made of 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' was kind of a rock version."
Merrill: "Shannon nailed the vocal on that one. I'm really proud of that demo, I think it still holds up. Our bass player, Leon Gaer, just really nailed it. I think that really contributed to when it was played for Clive (Davis), I know that it really came across strongly."
Rubicam: "It was fun, too. We recorded the song, mixed it, and then George literally ran to the airport with it and met Clive, who was getting on a plane, because he wanted it. And we thought, 'Well, best get it to him in person and we'll have more of an impact,' So he took it with him and listened to it on the plane."
Merrill: "I gave him a cassette, by the way. I said, 'You know, Clive, we're feeling great about this, and we're in the midst of doing a Boy Meets Girl album, and if you could get back to us on it and let us know if you don't want it for Whitney, we'd like it for the Boy Meets Girl album.' He had had a quick listen to it, he just looked at me and he said something I can't repeat."
Rubicam: "Yeah, he was very friendly. He meant they were gonna keep it, no way could we have it back."