Happy Birthday, Ray Parker Jr.! Seven Songs That Aren't "Ghostbusters"

Categories: Miles-tones

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Today Ray Parker Jr. turns 55 years old, and many happy returns to the man. Likely the only thing most of us know about him is that he penned the ever-catchy theme to Ghostbusters... though Huey Lewis claims Parker just ripped off "I Want a New Drug" with the tune. You can certainly hear the similarities, and the two parties settled out of court on the matter.

Parker isn't just a one-trick pony, though. He's had a very nice career penning Top 10 hits, playing with legends like Stevie Wonder and The Spinners, and just all-around living the good life of a working musician who knows his way around a good line.

So for those of you that may only associate him with paranormal '80s comedies (Or to a lesser extent a pretty silly cartoon) I thought I'd introduce some of his other work. Happy birthday, Mr. Parker. You bring good things to life.

Art Attack:

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7. "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)"
Parker scored his first major hit in 1981 with his band Raydio in the form of this soul ballad. "A Woman Needs Love" has a wonderfully message to the men of the world... if you're a cheating dick don't be surprised if your woman doesn't seek solace in the arms of, say, a smooth singer with a snappy sense of dress. Seriously, I bet Parker could have made a whole new wardrobe out of recycled panties after this song came out.


6. "The Other Woman"
One of the things that made Parker such a star was the way he embraced the world of the music video. Indeed, he was one of the first black artists to really do so. He made two music videos for "The Other Woman" in 1982, and I decided to go with the one full of vampires and dancing skeletons because why the hell would anyone go with anything else?

You also have to admire the bravery of Parker going with sexy Caucasian vampires as his playmates at a time when interracial marriage in America had only been legal for about 15 years. Of course, that interracial aspect is also why MTV wouldn't play it.


5. "The Right Key"
Yes, that is indeed Jack Wagner of freakin' General Hospital, and he is absolutely nailing that track. Wagner and Parker worked together on an album in the late '80s that remains sadly unreleased. Wagner performed some of the songs, such as "The Right Key," in venues like The Pat Sajak Show, and of course many of the tracks have leaked out into the Internet. C'mon, MCA, just put the damned thing on iTunes, will ya?

Rewind:

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2 comments
MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

The jazz turn is good for Mr. Parker. He was always a better guitarist than lyricist/singer. That said, "Jack and Jill/A Woman Needs Love," are still bad jams. Good stuff, Mr. F.

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