Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

First Hit #1: August 11, 1984

We go from a very complicated song to a very simple one. Ghostbusters functions as a simple advertising jingle for the Ghostbusters in question. The lines are simple, memorable, and instantly recognizable. The call and response of the chorus is easy to pick up and also gives an easy solution to the problem presented – ghosts, admittedly, which aren’t really a problem in the real world. Yes, in the real world when something strange is going on in your neighborhood we don’t have actual Ghostbusters, but there’s a reason that Who You Gonna Call is a cultural touchstone. It’s direct, it’s fun, it’s memorable, it’s the perfect advertising jingle. Plus you’ve got the wonderfully ’80s instrumental sections that just work really well for montages, and the end result is the ideal song to call you to a comedy called Ghostbusters. I don’t think any other decade did soundtrack hits nearly as well as the ’80s.

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One Response to Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

  1. RBerman says:

    It’s actually doubly mercenary: First by virtue of being an advertising jingle for an imaginary service whose comedic appeal probably seems baffling apart from the movie that spawned it (the first comedy/horror/action movie, paving the way for the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Second by plagiarizing Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” so boldly. 1984 was Huey Lewis’ big year, so it’s a trifle miffing that he missed the #1 slot while an unauthorized cover of one of his songs did not. The curious twist is that the Huey Lewis song has a prominent guitar line, while “Ghostbusters” does not, despite Ray Parker Jr. being a well-known studio guitarist. Since the whole verse of the song sits on a single chord, I suppose you could spin it as the most successful pop-funk song not by Michael Jackson.

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