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Guitarist/songwriter/producer Ray Parker Jr. had hits as Raydio (the million-selling "Jack and Jill," "You Can't Change That"), Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio ("Two Places at the Same Time," "A Woman Needs Love [Just Like You Do]"), and Ray Parker Jr. (the number one R&B and pop gold single "Ghostbusters"), and he co-wrote hit songs for Rufus and Chaka Khan (the number one "You Got the Love" from fall 1974) and Barry White ("You See the Trouble with Me" from spring 1976).
Born May 1, 1954, in Detroit, Michigan, Parker started out as a teenaged session guitarist playing on sessions recorded for Holland-Dozier-Holland's Hot Wax and Invictus Records, whose roster listed Freda Payne, Honey Cone, Chairmen of the Board, 100 Proof Aged in Soul, Laura Lee, and 8th Wonder. He also played behind the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Spinners, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and other Motown acts when they appeared at the Twenty Grand Club. In 1972, Wonder called Parker to ask him to play behind him on a tour that he was doing with the Rolling Stones. Parker thought it was a crank call and hung up the phone. Wonder called back and convinced Parker that he was the real deal by singing "Superstition" to him.
Later, Parker played on Wonder's albums Talking Book (1972) and Innervisions (1973). Moving from Detroit to Los Angeles, Parker got into session work, playing on sides by Leon Haywood, Barry White, and arranger Gene Page and working with Motown producer Clarence Paul on Ronnie McNeir's 1976 Motown debut, Love's Comin' Down, and he appeared in the picnic scene in the Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier comedy classic Uptown Saturday Night.
Deciding to become a recording artist, Parker got a deal with Arista Records in 1977. Not confident on his singing ability, he put together a band that included vocalist Arnell Carmichael, bassist/singer Jerry Knight (who later had his own solo hit with "Overnight Sensation" and as half of Ollie & Jerry, and co-produced hits by the Jets), guitarist Charles Fearing, Larry Tolbert, and Darren Carmichael. However, on record, Parker played most, if not all of the instruments -- although Arnell et al. were paid a retainer so they'd be available if Raydio had a hit record and needed to tour.
His first LP, Raydio, went gold, peaking at number eight R&B in spring 1978. The LP included the number five gold R&B hit single "Jack and Jill" (lead vocal by Jerry Knight), "Is This a Love Thing," and the charting single "Honey I'm Rich." The hits continued with Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio's number four gold Rock On (the single "You Can't Change That" was number three R&B, number nine pop in the spring of 1979); the number six gold R&B Two Places at the Same Time from spring 1980 ("Two Places at the Same Time" was number six R&B in spring 1980); and the number one gold record A Woman Needs Love from 1981 ("A Woman Needs Love [Just Like You Do]" -- the first song Parker sang all the way through without trading vocals -- held the number one R&B spot for two weeks and went number four pop in spring 1981). Then, the Ray Parker Jr. album The Other Woman held the number one R&B, number 11 pop spot in spring 1982 ("The Other Woman" was number two R&B for four weeks).
One of Parker's biggest hits and best-loved songs, "Ghostbusters" was initially submitted for the background score of the Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis/Bill Murray/Ernie Hudson comedy. Director Ivan Reitman thought that the song should be released as a single. The "Ghostbusters" music video is one of the funniest and most star-studded videos ever made (breakdancing Bill Murray style). "Ghostbusters" parked at the number one R&B spot for two weeks and the number one pop for three weeks on Billboard's charts in summer 1984. Around this time, Huey Lewis sued Columbia Pictures and Ray Parker Jr. for copyright infringement, claiming that "Ghostbusters" was a ripoff of his recent hit, "I Want a New Drug." Lewis received an out-of-court settlement.
Parker also wrote and produced hits for New Edition ("Mr. Telephone Man" -- Parker originally recorded this with Jr. Tucker for his 1983 self-titled Geffen album), Randy Hall ("I've Been Watching You [Jamie's Girl]," the refreshing "Gentleman"), Cheryl Lynn ("Shake It Up Tonight" from In the Night), Deniece Williams (the 1979 ARC/Columbia LP When Love Comes Calling), Brick (the 1981 Bang LP Summer Heat), and Diana Ross ("Upfront" from her 1983 RCA LP Ross).
Parker left Arista for Geffen and then MCA before returning to Arista because of his relationship with Arista president Clive Davis.
Ray Erskine Parker, Jr. (born May 1, 1954) is an American guitarist, songwriter, producer and recording artist. Parker is known for writing and performing the theme song to the motion picture Ghostbusters, for his solo hits, and performing with his band Raydio as well as Barry White.
Early life and career 
Parker was born in Detroit to Venolia and Ray Parker, Sr. He has two siblings: his brother Opelton and his sister Barbara. His father died of cancer on March 12, 1992 at age 82; his mother died of Alzhemer's on December 18, 1993 at age 83.
Parker is a 1971 graduate of Detroit's Northwestern High School. He was raised in the Dexter-Davison neighborhood on its West Side.
Parker gained his reputation during the late 1960s as a member of the house band at the legendary 20 Grand nightclub. This Detroit hot-spot often featured Tamla/Motown acts, one of which, the (Detroit) Spinners, was so impressed with the young guitarist's skills that they added him to their touring group. Parker was also employed as a teenaged studio musician for the emergent Holland-Dozier-Holland's Invictus/Hot Wax stable and his choppy style was particularly prevalent on "Want Ads", a number one single for Honey Cone.
In 1972, Parker was a guest guitarist on Stevie Wonders funk song "Maybe Your Baby" from Wonder's album Talking Book (1972).
In 1973 he was a sideman in Barry White's The Love Unlimited Orchestra, before creating Raydio, an R&B group, in 1977, with Vincent Bohnam, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael. Parker appeared briefly in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night as a guitar player. Parker also wrote songs and did session work for The Carpenters, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder (an association which prompted a permanent move to Los Angeles), Deniece Williams, Jean-Luc Ponty, Leon Haywood, Temptations, The Spinners, Boz Scaggs, David Foster, Rhythm Heritage, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Honey Cone, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner and Diana Ross. According to TVOne's UNSUNG documentary, Ray Parker, Jr. originally wrote the number one 70s dance single "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" by British popular artist Leo Sayer. But, Ray was never given credit as promised.
Raydio scored their first big hit, "Jack and Jill", from their self-titled album in 1978 with Arista Records. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning a million-selling Gold single in the process.
Their successful follow-up hit, "You Can't Change That" was released in 1979, from the Rock On album. The song was another Top 10 hit, peaking at #9 on the Billboard chart during the summer and also selling a million copies.
In 1980, the group became known as Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio, and the group released two more albums: Two Places at the Same Time in 1980 and A Woman Needs Love in 1981.
In 1981, he produced on the then emerging hard funk sound on the single "Sweat (till you get wet)" by Brick.
During the eighties Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio had two Top 40 hits ("Two Places at the Same Time" - # 30 in 1980 and "That Old Song" - # 21 in 1981) and their last and biggest hit "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)", released in 1981, went to # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, and # 1 on the R&B Charts for two weeks in 1981.
Solo years 
Raydio broke up in 1981, while Parker continued with his solo career, scoring six Top 40 hits, including the hit single "The Other Woman" (Pop # 4) in 1982 and "Ghostbusters" in 1984. Other hits from this period included "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You" (Pop # 12) and "Jamie" (Pop # 14).
In 1984, Parker appeared in "Pryor's Place", a short-lived live-action comedy series hosted by Richard Pryor, presumably sharing his own childhood experiences with children and teens. Parker appeared in the opening title sequence of each show, singing the program's theme song.
Parker was one of the first black artists to venture into the then-fledgling world of music videos. In 1978, Hollywood producer, Thom Eubank produced several music videos of songs from his first album entitled, Raydio on Arista Records. The hit single, "Jack & Jill" was the first released to air on Wolfman Jack's Saturday night television show, The Midnight Special. The music videos were also transferred to film and projected in movie theaters all over Europe. He also made two different videos for his hit "The Other Woman". The first was Halloween-themed and centered around a haunted castle with dancing corpses and vampires. The second was more performance-oriented, with Parker performing the song against an outer space background with backup singers. Parker made the performance-oriented video because MTV refused to play his Halloween-themed video due to its depiction of an interracial relationship. Parker's "Ghostbusters" video, helmed by the film's director Ivan Reitman, was one of the first movie-themed videos to find success on the then-young MTV, and paved the way for big movies and hit music videos working in tandem.
Parker also wrote and produced hits for New Edition ("Mr. Telephone Man"), Randy Hall, Cheryl Lynn ("Shake It Up Tonight"), Deniece Williams ("I Found Love") and Diana Ross. He also performed guitar on several songs on La Toya Jackson's 1980 debut album. In 1989, he also wrote "Ghostbusters", a rap performed by Run-D.M.C., for the movie Ghostbusters 2. 1989 also saw Parker Jr. work with actor Jack Wagner (General Hospital) on an album for MCA Records that was eventually shelved and never released. A single from the Jack Wagner sessions, "Wish You Were Mine", featuring an intro rap by Parker, Jr. was released on an MCA 1990 Pop/Rock Promotional Sampler CD. With Jim Morgan and Tom Szczesniak he composed the theme tune to the 1991-3 adaptation of Herge's Adventures of Tintin.
In 2006, Parker returned and released a new CD titled: I'm Free. Of his first single called Mismaloya Beach: "I think it was the longest running instrumental on Smooth Jazz radio", says Parker. I'm Free showcases a newfound beginning for Parker and embraces a variety of musical styles including Urban, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae.
Ghostbusters theme song controversy 
"Ghostbusters" was the title track of the Gold-selling soundtrack of the hit movie Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. The single was at #1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and at #1 for two weeks on its Black Singles chart. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1984 but lost to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red.
Parker was accused of plagiarizing the melody from the Huey Lewis and the News song "I Want a New Drug", which had been released on their Sports album the previous year. Lewis sued Parker and Columbia Pictures, and the three settled out of court in 1985. Parker's song secured him a 1984 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
In 2001, Parker filed a suit against Lewis for breaching part of the settlement which prohibited either side from speaking about it publicly. Lewis had implied in a VH1 Behind The Music special that Parker had paid a financial settlement as part of the original agreement. The case did not make it to court; no public statement has been made as to whether the parties agreed to settle this case out of court, or if Parker simply dropped the suit.
Parker also made acting appearances on the 1980s sitcom Gimme a Break starring Nell Carter, the CBS Saturday morning kids' show Pryor's Place (1984), Disorderlies (1987), Enemy Territory (1987), Charlie Barnett's Terms of Enrollment (1986) (V) aka Terms of Enrollment (USA: short title), Berrenger's (2 episodes, 1985): "Power Play" (1985) TV episode and "The Seduction" (1985) TV episode and Uptown Saturday Night (1974). He was also a production assistant for the film Fly by Night (1993). He made guest appearances on 21 Jump Street and Kids Incorporated.
In early 2009, Parker appeared in a television advertisement for 118 118, a British directory enquiries provider. This featured Parker singing a 118-specific version of the Ghostbusters theme song. On 15 April 2009, Parker's 118 theme song was available as a downloadable ringtone from the 118 118 mobile website.
Personal life 
At age 40, in 1994, Ray married his wife, Elaine. They have four sons: Ray III (Little Ray), Redmen, Gibson and Jericho.