Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance with Somebody - 1987

Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - A 1987 Pop Anthem

Whitney Houston released "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" in 1987, and it quickly became one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. This upbeat track not only showcases Houston's powerful vocals but also embodies the era's spirit with its vibrant rhythm and infectious melody. Let's dive into the history, impact, and lasting legacy of this timeless hit.

Background and Release

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" was the lead single from Whitney Houston's second album, Whitney. Written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, the duo behind Houston's hit "How Will I Know," the song was produced by Narada Michael Walden. It was released in May 1987 and became an instant success, topping the charts in several countries.

Music and Lyrics

The song features a lively dance-pop and R&B sound, characterized by its upbeat tempo and vibrant synthesizers. The lyrics express a longing for companionship and the joy of dancing with a loved one, capturing the essence of youthful optimism and the desire for emotional connection.

Reception and Awards

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody" received critical acclaim and was a commercial juggernaut. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and achieved similar success worldwide. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1988, further cementing Houston's status as a global superstar.

Music Video

The music video, directed by Brian Grant, is as memorable as the song itself, featuring Houston's charismatic performance, vibrant colors, and energetic dance sequences. It played a significant role in popularizing the song and remains a quintessential example of 1980s pop culture.


Over the years, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" has remained a beloved classic, frequently covered by artists and featured in movies, TV shows, and commercials. It symbolizes Whitney Houston's unparalleled talent and the enduring appeal of 1980s music.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" released? (1987) (!1985) (!1989) (!1991)

Who wrote "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"? (George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam) (!Dolly Parton) (!Michael Jackson) (!Lionel Richie)

Which album features "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"? (Whitney) (!Whitney Houston) (!I'm Your Baby Tonight) (!My Love Is Your Love)

What Grammy Award did the song win? (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) (!Record of the Year) (!Song of the Year) (!Best Music Video)

Who directed the music video for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"? (Brian Grant) (!David Fincher) (!Spike Lee) (!John Landis)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Whitney Houston's second album called? (Whitney) (!Whitney Houston) (!I'm Your Baby Tonight) (!My Love Is Your Love)

In what year did Whitney Houston win her first Grammy? (1986) (!1987) (!1988) (!1989)

For which song did Whitney Houston win her first Grammy? (Saving All My Love for You) (!I Will Always Love You) (!Greatest Love of All) (!I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me))

How many Grammy Awards did Whitney Houston win throughout her career? (!More than 10) (!Less than 5) (!Between 5 and 10) (Exact number varies; please check the latest sources)

Which genre is Whitney Houston primarily associated with? (Pop and R&B) (!Country) (!Rock) (!Classical)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What does the singer want to feel in "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"? (The heat with somebody) (!The rain on her skin) (!The beat of the heart) (!The touch of a hand)

What is the singer searching for in the night? (Someone who loves her) (!A place to hide) (!A lost memory) (!A path to follow)

Which phrase repeats throughout the song to emphasize the singer's desire? (I wanna dance with somebody) (!I wanna feel the heat) (!Somebody who loves me) (!Don't you wanna dance)

How does the song describe the feeling of loneliness? (Like the night is gonna catch up with me) (!Like a shadow in the dark) (!Like a whisper in the crowd) (!Like a song without a melody)

What does the singer claim she needs in the song? (A man who'll take a chance) (!A new beginning) (!A moment of truth) (!A friend in the night)


Year of Release 1987
Album Whitney
Grammy Award Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Songwriters George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam
Music Video Director Brian Grant

Open Tasks


  1. Research the 1980s music scene: Look into other hits from the 1980s and compare their themes and musical styles to "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."
  2. Create a playlist: Make a playlist of songs that embody the spirit of the 1980s, including "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."
  3. Art project: Design an album cover for "Whitney" that captures the essence of the song "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."


  1. Analyze the lyrics: Write an analysis of the lyrics of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," focusing on themes of longing and connection.
  2. Compare and contrast: Compare "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" to another Whitney Houston hit in terms of musical style, lyrics, and impact.
  3. Music video analysis: Analyze the music video for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," discussing its visual style, choreography, and how it represents the 1980s.


  1. Cover the song: Record your own cover of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," focusing on bringing a new interpretation to the song.
  2. Write a research paper: Explore the impact of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" on pop music and its role in defining the musical era of the 1980s.
  3. Develop a dance routine: Choreograph a dance routine inspired by the music video and perform it.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the impact of Whitney Houston's music on future generations: How has Whitney Houston influenced modern pop artists?
  2. Analyze the evolution of dance-pop music: Using "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" as a starting point, discuss how dance-pop music has evolved over the years.
  3. Examine the role of music videos in the 1980s: How did music videos like the one for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" change the way songs were marketed and perceived?
  4. Evaluate the significance of Grammy Awards in an artist's career: Discuss the impact of winning a Grammy on Whitney Houston's career and on artists in general.
  5. Explore the theme of longing in pop music: How do songs like "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" express themes of longing and desire, and why are these themes so prevalent in pop music?

OERs on the Topic


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