7 Songs You Didn’t Know “Ghostbusters” Writer Ray Parker Jr. Wrote for Other Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Long before writing, performing, and producing the theme song to the original Ghostbusters movie in 1984, Ray Parker Jr. began playing guitar for band leader Bohannan and ended up touring with the Motown group The Spinners. By the age of 16, Parker Jr. was already performing as a session musician for Marvin Gaye

Parker Jr. was later hired as a session guitarist by the famed Motown songwriting trifecta of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), playing for Stevie Wonder, Barry White, and many more before co-writing his first No. 1 hit “You Got the Love” with Chaka Khan for her group Rufus.

Throughout the 1970s alone, Parker Jr. did session work and wrote songs for Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, The Carpenters, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Deniece Williams, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bobby Womack, The Temptations, Tina Turner, and Rod Stewart among many more.

Later forming his own funk and R&B group Raydio, which topped R&B charts with their hit “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do),” Parker Jr. continued to write and play with artists before embarking on a solo career with his 1982 debut, The Other Woman. The title track, his debut single as a solo artist, went to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and segued into Parker Jr. scoring his first No. 1 hit with “Ghostbusters” for the 1984 Ivan Reitman-directed supernatural comedy. The song also earned Parker Jr. an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Throughout his very dynamic career as a singer, songwriter, and producer, here’s a look at seven songs Ray Parker Jr. wrote, produced—and may have even played on—for other artists from the ’70s through 1980s.

1. “You Got The Love,” Rufus with Chaka Khan (1974)
Written by Ray Parker Jr. and Chaka Khan

Parker Jr. earned a No. 1 R&B hit with “You Got The Love,” which he co-wrote with Chaka Khan for her former group Rufus. The song also hit the pop charts and appeared on Rufus’ second album, Rags To Rufus. The album reached No. 4 on the charts and also featured the Stevie Wonder-penned hit “Tell Me Something Good,” which earned Rufus their first Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Smilin’, smilin’
Comes as no surprise
Smile ain’t hidin’
What I see in your eyes?

The story goes, oh, much deeper
Then the eye can see, yes it do
Stop runnin’ a game
I can tell you’re avoiding me

2. “Ocean of Love,” Nancy Wilson (1974)
Written by Ray Parker Jr.

The late actress and soul and blues singer, Nancy Wilson, worked with dozens of songwriters over her career spanning nearly 60 years, including Carole King. She also covered many greats in between—Marvin Gaye, Paul McCartney and Wings, and Cole Porter. For her 1974 album, All In Love Is Fair, Ray Parker Jr. offered up the track “Ocean of Love,” about a woman pleading with her man to treat her right—Treat me right and the ocean will seize you / Only sometimes, sometimes if the waves are right / And the water will plеase you.

Only you like the stars shine
And you both want to rule my mind
All that I’m concerned about
Is what goes on deep down in the ocean of love

3. “You See The Trouble With Me,” Barry White (1976)
Written by Ray Parker Jr. and Barry White

Released on Barry White’s fifth album, Let the Music Play, “You See The Trouble With Me” was the only track on the album that was co-written with Parker Jr. The remainder of the album was written and produced entirely by White. “You See the Trouble With Me” peaked at No. 14 on the R&B chart.

I’m like a blind man who lost his way
I can’t see nothin’
I’m like a deaf man who can’t relay
Yeah, I can’t hear nothin’

You see the trouble with me
I can’t do nothin’ without my baby
And as plain as can be
It’s gonna drive me crazy

4. “Joy to Have Your Love,” Patti LaBelle (1977)
Written by Ray Parker Jr., Jeffrey E. Cohen, James “Budd” Ellison

The opening track of Patti LaBelle‘s 1977 self-titled solo debut, following 16 years with her group LaBelle, “Joy to Have Your Love” was written by Parker Jr. He also appears on the album ballad “You Have a Friend”,” (still one of LaBelle’s signature songs), on bass, guitar, and backing vocals.

I used to go to the show all alone
I sit through it two times
I couldn’t go home
Then my darling you came along
And made my life a happy song

5. “Stars in Your Eyes,” Herbie Hancock (1980)
Written by Ray Parker Jr., Herbie Hancock, Gavin Christopher, Lisa Capuano

Monster was jazz composer and musician Herbie Hancock’s dip into disco-era waters. His 29th album, Monster, features musicians Carlos Santana, Sheila E., and Chicago’s Bill Champlin on backing vocals and the pulsating “Stars in Your Eyes,” which he co-wrote with Parker Jr.

Looking at you sitting there
Your mind a million miles away
Might as well be talking to the walls
Maybe they’ll hear what I’ve got to say

It’s the same old story
About somebody with a dream
Looking for the glory
No matter how far the future seems

6. “Up Front,” Diana Ross (1983)
Written and produced by Ray Parker Jr.

For Diana Ross’ 14th solo album, Ross, Ray Parker Jr. wrote and produced two tracks, including the soulful ballad “Love or Loneliness,” then did a complete 180 with the next track “Up Front.” The uptempo dancer is written from the perspective of someone who wants to be upfront about their wants and needs from the very beginning of a relationship.

I wanna get it straight up front
Let’s tell each other what we want
So we can both decide up front
If we like it or we don’t

Just as long as I’m single
I’m gonna do what the heck I please
And I don’t feel it’s fair
For you to be restricting me

If you want a serious commitment
You gotta first make one yourself
If you want it one sided
You’d better find somebody else

7. “Mr. Telephone Man,” New Edition (1984)
Written and produced by Ray Parker Jr.

Released on New Edition’s second album, Ray Parker Jr. brought his song “Mr. Telephone Man,” which was originally recorded by teen singer Junior Tucker in 1983, to the group to cover. The New Edition version was the foursome’s third No. 1 single on the Black Singles chart, following “Candy Girl” and “Cool It Now,” and also hit No. 12 on the Hot 100.

Featuring lead vocals by Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, and Ricky Bell, and a rap by Michael Bivins, “Mr. Telephone Man” follows a conversation with a phone operator and a guy who can’t believe his lover hung up on him. Instead, he just thinks there’s something wrong with their telephone connection.

Mr. Telephone Man
There’s somethin’ wrong with my line
When I dial my baby’s number
I get a click every time
Mr. Telephone Man
There’s somethin’ wrong with my line
When I dial my baby’s number
I get a click every time

Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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