By Mark Nobes

Glenn Frey was the founding member of rock band The Eagles, who split-up in 1980 and reunited again in 1994. During this period, Frey had a string of solo hit singles in the U.S, although he achieved only two Top 40 hits in the UK.

His first hit, "The Heat is On", was from the soundtrack to the hit movie Beverly Hills Cop (starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley). However, Frey did not write the song, he simply provided the vocals.

Glenn Frey's second hit was the follow-up single "Smuggler's Blues" which was released in 1985. It was lifted from the album The Allnighter.

"The Heat is On" was written by Harold Faltermeyer (who also wrote Axel F) and Keith Forsey. The B-side featured a track by Harold Faltermeyer called "Shoot Out".

Frey received an invite to view an early screening of Beverly Hills Cop and was later sent a demo of the song to see if he was interested in providing the vocals. These were recorded in just a day and the next day Frey added played the guitar solo and also added backing vocals. Apparently, he was paid $15,000 for his work.

Glenn Frey sadly passed away on January 18, 2016.

The Heat is On, Japanese vinyl sleeve ft. Beverly Hills Cop/Eddie Murphy

Japanese vinyl

Who played saxophone On "The Heat is On"?

Some people believe it was the saxophone and clarinet player Beverly Dahlke-Smith, as she appears in the song's video. However, it was actually David Woodward, a session musician who has played for Aerosmith and Chris Isaac.


UK 7 Inch Vinyl - MCA 941

A. Glenn Frey -"The Heat Is On" - 3:45

B. Harold Faltermeyer - "Shoot Out" - 2:44

UK 12 Inch Vinyl - MCAT 941

A. "The Heat Is On" (Extended Mix) - 6:04

B. "Shoot Out" - 2:44

The U.S. 12 inch (MCA 23540) did not include "Shoot Out". Instead, it featured three versions of "The Heat Is On", including the Extended Version (6:04), Dance Version (5:40) and Dub Version (2:39). Remixes were by Brian reeves.

Chart Performance

The single entered the UK singles chart at #77 on 17th Feb 1985, and climbed steadily to reach #12 on 14th April, while the charity single "We Are The World" by USA For Africa was at No.1.
"The Heat is On" reached #2 in the U.S. on March 16th 1985, and spent a total of 26 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100.
The song also reached #2 on Australia's Kent Music Report chart, #2 on the VG-Lista chart in Norway, #5 on Sweden's Topplistan Chart, #5 on the Swiss Hitparade and #8 on Canada's Top Singles chart (RPM).


The official video from 1984 shows clips of the making of the film and also Frey and his band playing the song. These are mixed with action sequences from the movie.


The lyrics were penned by Keith Forsey and Harold Faltermeyer. "The Heat is on" is a slang term for being under pressure during a period of heightened activity. The lyrics reflect the pressure and risks involved while working as an undercover cop, as in the line "You can make or break, you can win or lose. That's a chance you take, when the heat's on you". 
Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley on the front sleeve of
Glenn Frey on the rear vinyl sleeve of
Beverly Hills Cop title card