Episode 12 | Ray Parker Jr.
You know Ray Parker Jr. as the artist who wrote and recorded Ghostbusters, but what you don’t know is his back story and what it took for him to get there. From the streets of Detroit to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Parker’s journey is one of a kind.
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.
What’s Going On
At 16, he recorded and co-wrote his first songs with Marvin Gaye. 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, Parker was a guest guitarist on Stevie Wonder’s funk song “Maybe Your Baby” from the Talking Book album. He went on to become the lead guitarist for Stevie Wonder when Wonder served as the opening act on the Rolling Stones 1972 tour.
In 1973, he became a sideman in Barry White’s The Love Unlimited Orchestra, before creating Raydio, an R&B group, in 1977. Raydio quickly scored 2 Top 10 hits, each selling over a million copies. Parker also wrote songs and did session work for artists including The Carpenters, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Deniece Williams, Bill Withers, The Temptations, The Spinners, Boz Scaggs, David Foster, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross. Ray Parker is a unique artist, multi talented, and a force to be reckoned with.