The 30 Best Movie Songs of the Last 40 Years – Part II

20 Jul

13. Ghostbusters, by Ray Parker Jr., from Ghostbusters (1984)

Writing a commercially successful song called Ghostbusters cannot be an easy thing to do, yet somehow Ray Parker Jr. pulled off that feat in 1984. Part pop song, part advertising jingle, this insanely catching track came out of nowhere to set the charts alight like they were hit by crossed streams from a proton pack. Legend says that Parker was only given a few days to pen the track and was struggling to meet his deadline. Salvation came when he saw a plumbing advertisement on TV at 4.30am that reminded him of the TV ads from the film, and he wrote the song from there. The enthusiastic chorus of girls who scream ‘Ghostbusters!’ in the refrain? The only people Parker could find to record it in order to meet his deadline: his girlfriend and her mates.

Stats: Number 1 in the US, number 2 in the UK and Australia; Academy Award nomination; Golden Globe nomination.

Penalty Points: Parker was sued by Huey Lewis and the News (who, incidentally, turned down the chance to write a song for the film), because they claimed Parker plagiarised their song I Want a New Drug. The parties settled out of court.

Bonus Points: Thirty years later, no matter their age, gender, or nationality, you could walk up to a total stranger in the streets, say, “Who you gonna call?” and 100 times out of 100 they would reply, “Ghostbusters!”  That is truly awesome.

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