Monday, November 8, 2010

Today In Oldies 11/8/2010

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Everything Oldies.......your 24 hour Oldies news source! 

Where In The World Is.........Ray Parker Jr.?

Ray Parker Jr. has had a long and illustrious musical career, being a successful sideman, bandleader, musician, songwriter, and singer.  Born in Detroit, Michigan, he was obviously heavily influenced by the Motown sound.  In the early 70's, he began playing alongside some of Motown's biggest names in the house band at the legendary 20 Grand club in Detroit.  He so impressed one of the biggest acts on the label at the time, The Spinners, that he was asked to tour with them as a guitarist.  Other notable appearances for Parker as a sideman include a stint in Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra and an appearance in a guitar player in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night.  He also worked with dozens of artist both inside and outside Detroit, including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, The Temptations, and Diana Ross.

The chart hits began to come when Ray Parker Jr. formed Raydio in 1977.  They scored with their first single, "Jack and Jill", from their debut album.  It hit #8 in 1978.  They repeated the feat a year later, with "You Can't Change That".  By 1980, as the unquestioned leader of the band, Parker, Jr. put his name ahead of the band itself, becoming Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio.  In that incarnation, they landed their biggest hit, "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)", a Top 5 smash in 1981.  Raydio disbanded that same year, but the hit well had not dried up just yet.

Ray Parker, Jr. turned his attention to his solo career with immediately successful results.  His first solo single was a hit!  "The Other Woman" sent Ray Parker, Jr. back to the Top 5, hitting #4 in 1982.  "Jamie" and "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You" were also Top 20 hits, but his biggest hit was yet to come. 

In 1984, he was asked to contribute a song for the feature film Ghostbusters starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis.  The title song he concocted was one of the biggest hits that year, hitting #1 for 2 weeks.  It won a Grammy and was nominated for a Best Song Oscar (losing to another #1 song from a movie that year, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You").  The song was also the subject of a legal battle, as Parker was sued by Huey Lewis for plagarism, claiming his song sounded a little too much like Huey Lewis And The News's hit, "I Want A New Drug", released six months before "Ghostbusters".  The case was settled out of court in 1985, but Parker countersued Lewis in 2001 for violating a confidentiality agreement when Lewis revealed to VH1's Behind The Music that Parker had paid Lewis a sum of money as part of the settlement. 

Parker would hit the Top 40 twice more following "Ghostbusters", and he also parlayed his music success into some acting work in the 80's, appearing on the TV shows Gimme A Break, 21 Jump Street, and Kids Incorporated.  He has continued to record and tour extensively, becoming a mainstay on "smooth jazz" radio stations across the country.  He also continues to capitalize on the Ghostbusters franchise, as he recently contributed music for the video game based on the movie (featuring the voices of the original stars of the movie) and reworked the title song for a British TV commercial for a telephone directory assistance service.  You can find out more by visiting his official website.

From the heyday of MTV.....a smash for Ray Parker, Jr., and a video that plays like an episode of The Hollywood Squares near the end......

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

What day of the week is the only one not mentioned in the Beatles' hit "Lady Madonna"?

Check back @ Everything Oldies tomorrow for the answer, and leave a comment here with your best guess!

Thursday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

By now, most of Generation X knows that "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles was the first video ever played on MTV when the channel went live on August 1, 1981.  What was the second?

Answer: "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar


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