Ray Parker Jr. Felt It Would Be ‘Impossible’ to Do This in the ‘Ghostbusters’ Theme Song
Director Ivan Reitman asked Ray Parker Jr. to do something very specific when he wrote the theme song for Ghostbusters. Subsequently, Reitman’s demand was a major challenge for Parker. Interestingly, Parker said he wouldn’t have been able to write music for Ghostbusters if it wasn’t for Stevie Wonder.
How Stevie Wonder paved the way for Ray Parker Jr.’s song ‘Ghostbusters’
/Film reports Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac could have been selected to write the Ghostbusters song. Parker also thinks Kenny Loggins had the opportunity to write a song for the film. Ultimately, Gary LeMel, the vice president of Columbia Pictures, decided Parker should write music for the film.
Parker revealed Wonder was a major influence on him. Parker said he didn’t know what he was doing at the beginning of his career, but Wonder taught him how to write, mix, and record songs. Parker said he wouldn’t have been able to write “Ghostbusters” if not for Wonder’s mentorship.
The curveball that Ray Parker Jr. faced when creating the theme song
Reitman presented Parker with a challenge while he was working on “Ghostbusters.” “There were certain things I knew that had to happen,” he said. “The director had the tempo and what kind of music he wanted. Then he threw the curveball saying he wanted the word ‘Ghostbusters’ in the actual song, which is just about an impossible word to sing. That’s what made the project so hard.”
Parker composed the music for “Ghostbusters” before he wrote its lyrics. Parker added the word “Ghostbusters” to the song in an unusual way. “I remember in the actual film, there was a commercial where you see the Ghostbusters and the phone number underneath at the bottom of the commercial,” he said. “And that to me gave it away. The trick is I never say the word ‘Ghostbusters.’ I’m just gonna say, ‘Who ya gonna call?’ and then the crowd says ‘Ghostbusters!’ because that’s who they want to call to solve their problems.”
How the public reacted to ‘Ghostbusters’
Parker’s approach to the song seems to have hit the right chord with the public. “Ghostbusters” reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. It is Parker’s only No. 1 hit. It remained on the chart for 21 weeks.
The Ghostbusters theme song was a hit in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, the song reached No. 2 in the U.K., remaining on the chart for 43 weeks. None of Parker’s other singles reached the top 10 there.
In addition, Alvin and the Chipmunks performed a cover of “Ghostbusters.” Parker told /Film he felt he’d made it when Alvin and the Chipmunks performed the song because he grew up listening to their music. While “Ghostbusters” was a challenge for Parker to write, it seems like it paid off for him.