This was the second single from the Footloose soundtrack, following the "title track," which was recorded by Kenny Loggins. The song "Footloose" came out a few weeks before the movie was released, and the video, which got lots of airplay on MTV, built up a great deal of anticipation for the film. "Let's Hear It For The Boy" benefited from exposure in the movie, and like the title track, it went to #1 in America. In the film, the song was used in a scene where Kevin bacon tries to teach Christopher Penn how to dance, and Penn is having a hard time.
Dean Pitchford, who had previously worked on Fame, wrote the screenplay for Footloose and composed the lyrics to all the song in the movie. He wrote this song with Tom Snow; the pair had previously written "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," which ended up being a hit for Melissa Manchester. Pitchford and Snow wrote a different song that was originally used in the scene - it was called "Somebody's Eyes," and was written in a minor key. As production continued, the movie's director, Herbert Ross, felt the song wasn't working with the scene, so Dean decided to write another one with Tom. This time, they went for an uplifting song with a girl singing about a wonderful boyfriend, even though he's far from perfect. When they came up with the "Let's hear it for the boy" line, they wrote the song around that title.
Once the song was written, Pitchford asked Deniece Williams and her producer George Duke to record the song. Kenny Loggins was onboard for the title track, which gave the project credibility, and Williams loved the song and the story idea for the film - she grew up in a small Indiana town with a religious environment similar to the one described in Footloose. Williams already had two #1 R&B hits to her name - "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" with Johnny Mathis, and "It's Gonna Take A Miracle." "Let's Hear It For The Boy" became her third R&B chart topper; the Footloose soundtrack had #1 hits on the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary ("Almost Paradise") charts.
Dean Pitchford told us that he gets very particular about vocal performances of his songs - he even had Barbra Streisand redo her tracks on his song "If I Never Met You." When Williams recorded this the first time, Pitchford thought it sounded too girlish, so she flew from Los Angeles to New York to quickly do another take under deadline pressure. She ended up doing the proper take late that night after a long flight, but it was worth it. When she saw the film, she thought the scene where they used her song was incredible. "If I had come to the film without the music in and they asked me what segment I wanted my song to be in, I would have chosen that segment," said Williams.
George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the duo Boy Meets Girl sang backup. They had a hit in 1988 with "Waiting For A Star To Fall." and also wrote Whitney Houston's songs "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." Shannon told us: "Jazz/funk keyboardist George Duke produced the record, Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford were also monitoring the session as the writers of the song, very creative and wonderful people."
George and Shannon continue to record as Boy Meets Girl and released an album in 2003 called The Wonderground.