Ghostbusters (song)

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Single by Ray Parker Jr.
from the album Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album
ReleasedMay 1984
Songwriter(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Producer(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Ray Parker Jr. singles chronology
"Woman Out of Control"
Ghostbusters soundtrack singles chronology
On Our Own

"Ghostbusters" is a song written by Ray Parker Jr. as the theme to the film of the same name starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Debuting at #68 on June 16, 1984, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11, 1984, staying there for three weeks, and at number two on the UK Singles Chart on September 16, 1984, staying there for three weeks. The song re-entered the UK Top 75 on November 2, 2008, at No. 49.

It 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, regarding Parker's plagiarism of Huey Lewis and the News's song "I Want a New Drug", resulted in Lewis receiving a settlement. The drums used in this song are the famous LinnDrum drum machine effects, which had its samples heavily edited to give the song both a serious and eerie feeling at the same time.


According to Parker, he was approached by the film's producers to create a theme song for the film, though 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.[2] This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion.

Lindsey Buckingham claims to have been approached to write the Ghostbusters theme based on his successful contribution to Harold Ramis's National Lampoon's Vacation (the song "Holiday Road"). He turned down the opportunity as he did not want to be known as a soundtrack artist. He mentions this on the "Words & Music" interview disc.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Ivan Reitman, the same director as the Ghostbusters film, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson. It features a young woman, played by actress Cindy Harrell,[3][4] 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. It also contains footage from the film and features cameos from many celebrities of the day, including 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; all of whom exclaim the song's "Ghostbusters!" refrain when shown. Chase appears again after Garr, but chokes on his cigarette when he tries to exclaim "Ghostbusters!"; Franken also pops up in the house before the separately framed cameos begin.

The video concludes with Parker and the stars of the film, in full Ghostbuster costume, dancing down the streets of New York City. The crew closed down Times Square to film the scene.[2] 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.


When the theme song of Ghostbusters was released, Huey Lewis sued Columbia Pictures and Ray Parker Jr. for copyright infringement, stating that Parker's song was too similar to Lewis's "I Want a New Drug." Lewis had been approached to compose the main theme song for the film.[5][6] The three parties settled out of court. Details of the settlement (specifically, that Columbia paid Lewis a settlement) remained confidential until 2001, when Lewis commented on the payment in an episode of VH1's Behind the Music. Parker subsequently sued Lewis for breaching confidentiality.[7]


In popular culture[edit]

The song is referenced in both the films and the cartoon series.

The song appears in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. It is played fully in the end credits of the game (on the Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP versions), and on the PS3 Cross Menu Bar screen when a user is on the disc icon for more than 3 seconds.

The sketch comedy series Key & Peele parodied the song in a 2015 sketch in which Ray Parker Jr. advertises a CD box set, Ray Parker Jr.'s Greatest Hits, consisting of theme songs he wrote and unsuccessfully submitted for other movies, all done with the combination of literal lyrics and uptempo music of "Ghostbusters".[8]

In 2014, Nickelodeon parodied the song to promote the premiere of the Bubble Guppies episodes "Bubble Scrubbies" and "Swimtastic Check Up".

The song was featured in the second episode of the second season of the Netflix series Stranger Things, when the main characters dress up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween.

Remixes of the song can be found online, where Youtube artists like The Living Tombstone (the creator of many fan-made songs about the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise) remix the song.

Track listing[edit]

7": Arista / ARI 8391 (US), ARIST 580 (UK)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Ghostbusters" – 3:46
Side two
  1. "Ghostbusters" (Instrumental) – 4:07[9]
  • The slightly longer instrumental version contains two extra sections with additional instrumentation, which aren't present in the vocal version. One of these sections gives the song a proper ending, unlike the vocal version which fades out.

12": Arista / ARIST 12-580 (UK)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Ghostbusters (Searchin' for the Spirit)" – 5:27
Side two
  1. "Ghostbusters (Dub Instrumental Version)" – 5:33

12" Promo: Arista / ADP-9223 (US)[edit]

Side one
  1. "Ghostbusters" (Extended Version) – 6:08
Side two
  1. "Ghostbusters" (Dub Version) – 5:35
  2. "Ghostbusters" (Short Version) – 4:03

3" CD: Arista / A10D-142 (Japan)[edit]

  1. "Ghosbusters" – 4:09
  2. "Ghostbusters (Instrumental)" – 4:12

Charts and certifications[edit]

Run–D.M.C. version[edit]

Single by Run-D.M.C.
from the album Ghostbusters II soundtrack
ReleasedJuly 12, 1989
GenreHip hop
6:00 (12" mix)
LabelMCA, Profile Records
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 film's 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, a remixed version of the "Ghostbusters" song was recorded featuring a rap by Run–D.M.C.. It was released on 7" vinyl and cassette as a standard single, as well as on 12" 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. They are accompanied by Run–D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay dressed in the standard beige Ghostbusters' uniform, who then perform 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 make cameos 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

The Rasmus version[edit]

Single by The Rasmus
from the album Peep
ReleasedSeptember 9, 1996
GenreAlternative rock
LabelWarner Music Group
Songwriter(s)Ray Parker Jr.
Producer(s)The Rasmus, Teja Kotilainen

The 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.

The Rasmus official website described the cover as:

The idea of having to Ray Parker's "Ghostbusters" in a different interpretation [on the EP 3rd] came about when the boys joked and shouted "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters" to each other. This song is the only cover song Rasmus ever made. All other songs are in their own production.

Mickael Turtle version[edit]

Mickael Turtle Ghostbusters Single.jpg
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.[40]

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)[41] 58
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[42] 21
France (SNEP)[43] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[44] 56
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[45] 23
End of year chart (2005) Position
France (SNEP)[46] 50


Country Certification Date Sales certified
France[47] Silver December 1, 2005 125,000

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
FormatDigital download
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, off the film's remake motion picture original soundtrack, which was released on July 15, 2016. This version had received negative feedback from fans.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

1."Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)"3:07

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 (Official Charts Company)[48] 70

Dacia version[edit]

In 2018, Automobile Dacia, which is usual to release television spots with cars and people singing as they see them, released a spot for one of its models, the Duster, accompanied by the song, in an instrumental version, but with people in funny disguises singing "Go, Duster!" when in the standard song the chorus says "Ghostbusters!".[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graff, Gary (June 8, 2014). "'Ghostbusters' At 30: A Soundtrack Appreciation". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. - Professor of Rock". Professor of Rock. 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  3. ^ "The Inside Story Of The 'Ghostbusters' Music Video".
  4. ^ "Cindy Harrell at IMDB".
  5. ^ "Back to the Future: 13 things you may not know". The Daily Telegraph. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  6. ^ Hutchinson, Sean (14 July 2016). "20 Things You Might Not Know About 'Ghostbusters'". Mental Floss. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  7. ^ Vanhorn, Teri (March 23, 2001). "Ray Parker Jr. Suing Huey Lewis Over 'Ghostbusters' Comment". MTV News. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Eddy, Cheryl (September 10, 2015). "On Key and Peele, Ray Parker, Jr. Has a Theme Song for Every Movie, Ever". Gizmodo.
  9. ^
  10. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Canadian Adult Contemporary peak". Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Canadian Top Singles peak". Retrieved 20 October 2014.[dead link]
  14. ^ [Nanda Lwin (1999). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Music Data Canada. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  15. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in French). Les classement single.
  16. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  17. ^ Irish Singles Chart Archived January 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  18. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: P". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Ray Parker Jr." (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  20. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". VG-lista.
  23. ^ John Samson. "Ghostbusters in South African Chart". Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  24. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  25. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Singles Top 100.
  26. ^ " – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Swiss Singles Chart.
  27. ^ a b c d e f Ray Parker Jr. Retrieved 31 December 2016. Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ a b c d e f g Ray Parker Jr. Billboard awards on Allmusic. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "End of Year Charts 1984". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  30. ^ 1984 Swiss Singles Chart Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ US Billboard Top 100 Singles of 1984
  33. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  34. ^ "Canadian certifications – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  35. ^ "Les Singles de Platine :" (in French). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  36. ^ "French certifications – Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters" (in French). InfoDisc. Select RAY PARKER JR. and click OK. 
  37. ^ Copsey, Rob (September 19, 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  38. ^ "British certifications – Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 April 2012. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Ghostbusters in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "American certifications – Parker, Ray, Jr. – Ghostbusters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  40. ^ "Ghosbusters", by Mickael Turtle Retrieved December 16, 2007.
  41. ^ " – Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  42. ^ " – Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  43. ^ " – Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters" (in French). Les classement single.
  44. ^ " – Mickael Turtle Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  45. ^ " – Mickael Turtle – Ghostbusters". Swiss Singles Chart.
  46. ^ 2005 French Singles Chart Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  47. ^ French certifications Archived July 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  48. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  49. ^ Dacia Duster Ghostbuster ( Go Duster ) commercial - YouTube.

External links[edit]