According to the The Heat is On Songfacts it was decided a popular artist was needed to sing this song. The Beverly Hills Cop soundrack 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. Co-writer 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.
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