Ghostbusters (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One of European variants of non-US artwork
Single by Ray Parker Jr.
from the album Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album
B-side"Ghostbusters" (Instrumental)
ReleasedJune 8, 1984
Length4:06 (soundtrack version)
3:46 (edit)
Songwriter(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Producer(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Ray Parker Jr. singles chronology
"Woman Out of Control"
Alternative release
Side A of the US single
Side A of the US single

"Ghostbusters" is a song written by Ray Parker Jr. as the theme to the film of the same name, and included on the film's soundtrack. Debuting at number 68 on June 16, 1984, the song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11, staying there for three weeks (Parker Jr.'s only number one on that chart), and at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart on September 16, staying there for three weeks. The song reentered the UK Top 75 on November 2, 2008 at No. 49 and again on November 5, 2021, at No. 38.

The song was nominated at the 57th Academy Awards for Best Original Song but lost to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You". A lawsuit accusing Parker of basing the song's melody on Huey Lewis and the News's song "I Want a New Drug" resulted in Lewis receiving a settlement.


Parker was approached by the film's producers to create a theme song, although he only had a few days to do so and the film's title seemed impossible to include in any lyrics. However, when watching television late at night, Parker saw a cheap commercial for a local service that reminded him that the film had a similar commercial featured for the fictional business.[3] This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion.[citation needed]

Lindsey Buckingham, on his interview disc Words & Music [A Retrospective], stated that he was approached to write the Ghostbusters theme based on his successful contribution to National Lampoon's Vacation, "Holiday Road". He declined the opportunity as he did not want to be known as a soundtrack artist.[citation needed] Glenn Hughes and Pat Thrall also submitted a demo that was ultimately rejected. The Hughes and Thrall version was later rewritten and used as the track "Dance or Die" for the 1987 film Dragnet.

The theme is estimated to have added $20 million to the film's box-office gross.[4]

Music video[edit]

Parker on "Ghostbusters": "I was the last resort. I really didn't think I could do it."[5]

The music video for the song was directed by Ivan Reitman, who also directed the Ghostbusters film, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson. It features a young woman played by actress Cindy Harrell[6] who is haunted by a ghost portrayed by Parker, roaming a nearly all-black house interior (with vibrant neon designs outlining the sparse architectural and industrial features) until the woman finally calls the service.[citation needed]

Directed by Reitman, the "Ghostbusters" music video was No. 1 on MTV and features cameos by celebrities Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Melissa Gilbert, Ollie E. Brown, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk and Teri Garr. None of the actors were paid for participating but did so as a favor to Reitman.[7][8][9]

The video concludes with Parker and the stars of the film, in full Ghostbuster costume, dancing down the streets of New York City. Times Square was closed in order to film the scene, although a sizable crowd may still be seen in the background.[3] The Ghostbusters also perform the same dance in the closing credits to The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series, as well as in a trailer for the 2009 Ghostbusters video game.[citation needed]


Shortly after the film's release, Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker Jr. for plagiarism, alleging that Parker had copied the melody (primarily the bassline) from Lewis's 1983 song "I Want a New Drug".[7][9] The case was settled out of court in 1985 for an undisclosed sum and a confidentiality agreement that prohibited discussion of the case. According to Parker, there were several lawsuits at the time, because "when you sell that many records, I think everybody wants to say that they wrote the song."[9][10] Parker later sued Lewis for breaching the confidentiality agreement in a 2001 episode of VH1's Behind the Music by reasserting that Parker stole the song. Regarding his case against Lewis, Parker said, "I got a lot of money out of that."[9]

In a 2004 article for Premiere magazine, the filmmakers admitted to using the song "I Want a New Drug" as temporary background music in many scenes. They also noted that they had offered to hire Huey Lewis and the News to write the main theme but the band had declined. The filmmakers then gave film footage, with Lewis's song in the background, to Parker to aid him in writing the theme song.[11]


Credits sourced from Mix and Roland.[12][13]

Track listing[edit]

7-inch Arista / ARI 8391 (US), ARIST 580 (UK)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Ghostbusters" – 3:46
Side two
  1. "Ghostbusters" (Instrumental) – 4:07[14]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 11, 1984, two months after the film's release, and remained there for three weeks. It spent a total of 21 weeks on the charts.[8][15]

Other versions[edit]

Run-D.M.C. version[edit]

Single by Run-D.M.C.
from the album Ghostbusters II
ReleasedJuly 12, 1989
GenreHip hop
6:00 (12" mix)
Songwriter(s)Ray Parker Jr., Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, Jason Mizell
Producer(s)Jam Master Jay, Davy D
Run-D.M.C. singles chronology
"Run's House"
"Ghostbusters" / "Pause"
"What's It All About"

For the soundtrack of the film's 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, Run-D.M.C. recorded a hip hop version of "Ghostbusters", featuring new lyrics.[60] It was released on 7-inch vinyl and cassette as a standard single, as well as on 12-inch vinyl and CD as a double A-side maxi single with the track "Pause" from Run-D.M.C.'s fifth studio album, Back from Hell.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video begins with Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts climbing out of a limousine in front of a large crowd, with Run-D.M.C., dressed in the standard beige Ghostbusters' uniform, accompanying them. The group then performs the song on stage to a packed audience for the remainder of the video, intercut with clips from the film. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson also cameo at the beginning of the video as security personnel.

Track listings[edit]

7" single / cassette

  1. "Ghostbusters" – 4:07
  2. "Ghostbusters" (Ghost Power Instrumental) – 4:07

12" single

  1. "Ghostbusters" – 6:00
  2. "Ghostbusters" (Dub Buster) – 4:10
  3. "Pause" – 6:00
  4. "Pause" (Dub Version) – 3:32
  5. "Pause" (Radio Version) – 3:46

CD single

  1. "Ghostbusters" – 6:00
  2. "Pause" – 6:00
  3. "Pause" (Dub Version) – 3:32
  4. "Pause" (Radio Version) – 3:46


Chart performance for "Ghostbusters" by Run-D.M.C.
Chart (1989) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[61] 56
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[62] 34
UK Singles (OCC)[63] 69

The Rasmus version[edit]

Finnish rock band The Rasmus recorded a cover of the song which is included on their debut album Peep and EP album 3rd, both from 1996, as well as their compilation album Hellofacollection by 2001.

Mickael Turtle version[edit]

Single by Mickael Turtle
Songwriter(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Mickael Turtle singles chronology
"Super Freak"

In 2005, the original song was covered by the animated character Mickael Turtle, reaching No. 5 in France on December 3, 2005, and No. 23 in Switzerland on January 15, 2006.[64]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Ghostbusters" (radio edit) – 2:26
  2. "Ghostbusters" (extended club original mix) – 5:07
  3. "Ghostbusters" (who's that remix long voix) – 6:15
  4. "Ghostbusters" (extended club instrumental mix) – 5:07
  5. "Ghostbusters" (Who's that remix long dub) – 6:12
  6. Mickael The Turtle – Teaser Video


Chart (2005) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[65] 58
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[66] 21
France (SNEP)[67] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[68] 56
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[69] 23
Year-end chart (2005) Position
France (SNEP)[70] 50


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[71] Gold 200,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.

Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott version[edit]

"Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)"
Single by Fall Out Boy featuring Missy Elliott
from the album Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
ReleasedJune 23, 2016
Producer(s)Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy singles chronology
"Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)"
"Young and Menace"
Missy Elliott singles chronology
"This is For My Girls"
"Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)"
"I'm Better"

"Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)", a version of the song by American rock band Fall Out Boy, featuring hip hop recording artist Missy Elliott, was released on June 23, 2016, from the soundtrack of the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters. The cover received negative reviews from critics, who criticized its musical structure.[72][73][74]

Walk the Moon version[edit]

Another cover version of the song appears on the soundtrack album to the Ghostbusters reboot film. Unlike the very different song first released by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott, Walk the Moon's version is much closer to the original song.


Chart (2016) Peak
Scotland (OCC)[75] 70


Over the years, a handful of local and national businesses across North America and around the world have done parodies of the Ghostbusters theme for advertising or promotional purposes, and used an instrumental version of either the original theme or a remake. The most notable parodies were used by CBS station KMOX-TV (now KMOV) in St. Louis, AutoNation, and the Carpet Mart chain of Central and Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania among others.[76][77][78] In the UK, the 118 118 directory assistance telephone service also used the Ghostbusters theme in one of their ads, and featured Ray Parker Jr. performing the parody.[79] In Romania, Automobile Dacia released a television advertisement in 2018 for one of its models, the Duster, accompanied by the song, in an instrumental version, but with people in various costumes singing "Go, Duster!" when in the standard song the chorus says "Ghostbusters!".[80]

American musician and comedian Neil Cicierega uses the song in Bustin, released on his 2017 album Mouth Moods.[81] It takes Parker Jr.'s vocals and edits them to feature many innuendos, most notably by repeating the titular line "Bustin makes me feel good" to use it as slang for ejaculation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graff, Gary (June 8, 2014). "'Ghostbusters' At 30: A Soundtrack Appreciation". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  2. ^ Breihan, Tom (August 28, 2020). "The Number Ones: Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Ghostbusters". Stereogum. Retrieved July 29, 2023. And underneath all this jubilation, a simple, electric, instantly familiar synth-rock jam pulses away.
  3. ^ a b "Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. - Professor of Rock". Professor of Rock. 2018-10-25. Archived from the original on 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  4. ^ Austin 1989, p. 78.
  5. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1984-08-19). "Ray Parker Jr. Going Like Ghostbusters". Los Angeles Times. pp. 72 (Calendar section).
  6. ^ Ryan, Mike (June 6, 2014). "Who Ya Gonna Call? The Inside Story Of The 'Ghostbusters' Music Video". ScreenCrush.
  7. ^ a b "Ghostbusters (1984)". American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on January 13, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Lau, Melody (July 14, 2016). "15 Things You Might Not Know about the Ghostbusters Theme Song". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Pizzo, Mike (July 14, 2016). "The Freaky Legacy of the Ghostbusters Theme Song". Medium. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  10. ^ Matloff, Jason (February 24, 2014). "An Oral History of Ghostbusters". Esquire. Archived from the original on April 26, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  11. ^ "Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters Exclusive! Inside story of a comedy classic". Premiere Magazine. June 2004.
  12. ^ "Classic Tracks: Ray Parker Jr.'s 'Ghostbusters'". September 2006. Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  13. ^ "All Access: Ray Parker Jr". Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Ghostbusters". Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992: 23 years of hit singles & albums from the top 100 charts. St Ives, N.S.W, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 229. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  18. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 8517." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6792." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  21. ^ [Nanda Lwin (1999). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Music Data Canada. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  22. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in French). Les classement single.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Ghostbusters". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  24. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Ray Parker jr.".
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Ray Parker Jr." (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  26. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Top 40 Singles.
  28. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". VG-lista.
  29. ^ John Samson. "Ghostbusters in South African Chart". Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  30. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  31. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Singles Top 100.
  32. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Swiss Singles Chart.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "Ray Parker Jr Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  35. ^ "Ray Parker Jr Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  36. ^ "Ray Parker Jr. Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  37. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  38. ^ "Ray Parker Jr Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  39. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  40. ^ "Kent Music Report No 548 – 31 December 1984 > National Top 100 Singles for 1984". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via
  41. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  42. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984: Singles". Ultratop (in Dutch). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  43. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9638." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  44. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984". Dutch Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  45. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - Single 1984". MegaCharts (in Dutch). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  46. ^ "End of Year Charts 1984". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  47. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1984: Singles". Swiss Charts Portal (in German). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  48. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1985). "Top 100 singles: 1984". BPI Year Book 1985 (7th ed.). British Phonographic Industry. pp. 46–47. ISBN 0-906154-06-5.
  49. ^ "Talent Almanac 1985: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 96, no. 51. December 22, 1984. p. TA-19. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  50. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984". Cash Box magazine. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  51. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts: 1984". (in German). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  52. ^ "Kent Music Report No 599 – 30 December 1985 > National Top 100 Singles for 1985". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Imgur.
  53. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  54. ^ "The UK's biggest selling singles of all time". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 24 June 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  55. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  56. ^ "French single certifications – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  57. ^ Copsey, Rob (September 19, 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  58. ^ "British single certifications – Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  59. ^ "American single certifications – Ray Parker, Jr. – Ghostbusters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  60. ^ "Revisiting Run-D.M.C.'s hip-hop version of the Ghostbusters theme". The A.V. Club. 9 July 2016.
  61. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 241.
  62. ^ "Run DMC – Ghostbusters". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  63. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  64. ^ "Ghosbusters", by Mickael Turtle Retrieved December 16, 2007.
  65. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 187.
  66. ^ "Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  67. ^ "Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in French). Les classement single.
  68. ^ "Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  69. ^ "Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters". Swiss Singles Chart.
  70. ^ 2005 French Singles Chart Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  71. ^ "French single certifications – Mickael The Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  72. ^ Brennan, Collin (July 9, 2016). "Ray Parker Jr. responds to Fall Out Boy's catastrophic Ghostbusters theme song". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  73. ^ Busis, Hillary (June 23, 2016). "What Have We Done to Deserve Fall Out Boy's Ghostbusters Theme Song?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  74. ^ Roberts, Randall (June 23, 2016). "Exactly how bad is Fall Out Boy's new 'Ghostbusters' theme song?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  75. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  76. ^ KMOV "Channel 4 Newsbusters" Promo - YouTube
  77. ^ Autonation Ghostbusters ad - YouTube
  78. ^ Carpet Mart Ghostbusters Commercial - YouTube
  79. ^ 118 118 Uk Ghostbusters parody with Ray Parker Jr - YouTube
  80. ^ Dacia Duster Ghostbuster (Go Duster) commercial - YouTube.
  81. ^ Heins, Scott (25 September 2015). "Flashback Friday: Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" Is Reborn As The Brilliant "Bustin"". okayplayer. Retrieved March 6, 2021.

Works cited[edit]


External links[edit]