Happy 60th Birthday to Ray Erskine Parker, Jr.

Ray Parker, Jr 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, and Barry White.

According to wikipedia, 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 studio musician as a teenager 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 Wonder’s 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 in the church picnic scene. 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.

His first bona fide hit as a writer was “You Got the Love”, co-written with Chaka Khan, recorded by Rufus. The single hit Number One R&B and #11 Pop in December, 1974.

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 Goldsingle 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 1980s, 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.

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.

 

 

SOURCE: wikipedia


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