It's impossible to think of "Ghostbusters" without Ray Parker Jr.'s ubiquitous pseudo-jingle that scored the hit 1984 comedy.
Parker may be best known for the smash, but the guitarist-composer carved out a career that shouldn't be defined only by a tune about oddball parapsychologists.
Born in Detroit, Parker started cutting his teeth as a musician while a teenager.
The aspiring guitar player scored a gig as a member of the house band at Detroit's famous 20 Grand nightclub, despite being a high school student. The Detroit hot spot often showcased acts from Tamla and Motown Records and after being taken by Parker's skills, the Spinners added the youngster to their touring group.
He eventually became a session musician for the breadth of talent working with the songwriting and production team Holland–Dozier–Holland. By the late ‘70s Parker had already written songs, or did session work, for Stevie Wonder, the Carpenters, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs and the Temptations.
Moving from Detroit to Los Angeles only increased Parker's profile. He landed gigs with Herbie Hancock, Leon Haywood, Barry White, Diana Ross and Tina Turner. He even appeared in the Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier classic, "Uptown Saturday Night," as a guitar player naturally.
In 1977 he formed R&B-disco-funk outfit Raydio alongside Vincent Bohnam, Jerry Knight and Arnell Carmichael and inked a deal with Arista Records the same year.
Raydio broke out with "Jack and Jill," from its 1978 self-titled debut. The single hit Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was certified gold. The group continued to find success with several Top 10 R&B hits and eventually became known as Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio. The group split in 1981 and Parker went on to launch a solo career.
Parker scored a handful of Top 40 hits during the ‘80s, including the "The Other Woman," "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You" and "Jamie," but it was his theme song for the "Ghostbusters" soundtrack that broke big due to its catchy production and singalong chorus: "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!"
"Ghostbusters" stayed at No. 1 for three weeks and landed an Academy Award nomination for original song; it lost to Stevie Wonder. The music video for the 1984 single also broke new ground, being one of the first movie-themed videos to get heavy airplay on a then-fledgling MTV.
Parker was never able to match the success of "Ghostbusters" but he did release a handful of solo efforts after. His last album was 2006's "I'm Free."
— Gerrick D. Kennedy for the Los Angeles Times March 10, 2014