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"I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" is the first single from Whitney Houston's second studio album Whitney. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden, and written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the band Boy Meets Girl, who had previously written the number-one Whitney Houston hit "How Will I Know." The original arrangement was more of a country tune, but was transformed by Walden to make it a dance song.

The song received mixed reviews from critics, who compared the musical arrangement to her own "How Will I Know" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." The song won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 30th Grammy Awards. The single was a commercial success, topping the charts in 13 countries including Australia, Italy, Germany and the UK. In the US, it became her fourth consecutive number one single and sold over one million copies, making it her biggest hit in that country at the time. It was eventually surpassed by her version of "I Will Always Love You", five years later in 1992.

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody" was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, who wrote Houston's 1985 song "How Will I Know." "How Will I Know" became successful, and as a result, they were asked to come up with another song for Houston's then-new album. Originally the song that gave Merrill and Rubicam their British top ten success as Boy Meets Girl, "Waiting For a Star to Fall" was intended by the duo to be a song for Houston. The duo sent it to Arista Records, but they passed on it citing it was not suitable for Houston. Undeterred by this minor setback, the pair continued working on finding a song that would be ideal for Houston, and were inspired to come up with "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." Later on, Rubicam explained the idea behind the song:

I pictured somebody single wishing that they could find that special person for themselves. It wasn't, 'I wanna go down the disco and dance,' really. It was, 'I wanna do that dance of life with somebody.' That was the thought behind the song. So we sent our demo version off to Clive Davis and he loved it.

But, the song did not impress the producer, who again was Narada Michael Walden, who had produced "How Will I Know." He took a little more persuading with regard to the song's potential, and at first was not too keen on having Houston record it, as he felt it was too "country and western sounding." He said of it,

reminded me of a rodeo song with Olivia Newton-John singing. I love Olivia Newton-John, but for Whitney Houston it didn't seem right. I felt the song needed a much more funkier feel. I slept, dreaming about it, woke up in the morning thinking about it, wondering what am I gonna do with this dance song. So, we just jumped in the water and lo and behold a magic record was born, Houston just knocked it out and then I knew we had a good record.

The video for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" was directed by Brian Grant. The video features Houston in a pink dress and a continuous shot of a purple backdrop that never changes its angle of vision. In the intro of this video, Houston just finishes a performance onstage. She walks backstage, and the scene is intercut with more vivid, colorful images of her. The song then explodes into its beginning, with myriad locations and various outfits by Houston, as dancers trying to impress her as she dances. Towards the end of the song she manhandles a guy, who has a mixture of a look of shock and surprise asking him "Don't you wanna dance say you wanna dance". The music video was in heavy rotation on music channels MTV, VH1, and BET during the song's run.

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