b. Ray Erskine Parker, Jr., 1st May 1954, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Ray Parker is an accomplished guitarist, singer, producer and songwriter.
He is best known, (perhaps, inappropriately in artistic terms), as the singer and songwriter of the theme to the movie ‘Ghostbusters’.
He is also well known as the leader of the group Raydio, who recorded the chart hit ‘Jack and Jill’.
Born in Detroit in 1954, Ray’s parents were Venolia and Ray Parker, Sr. (both now deceased).
20 grand nightclub - detroit
Ray attended the Northwestern High School in Detroit, and after graduation, during the late Sixties, played in the house band at the 20 Grand nightclub.
The club was frequented by many of the Motown performers of that era, one of whom, the Motown Spinners, recruited a young Ray to their backing group.
As his skill set developed, Holland-Dozier-Holland used him more and more as a studio musician for their Hot Wax/Invictus imprints.
Ray played on the song ‘Want Ads’, for the group Honey Cone.
ray (left) with stevie wonder and wonderlove in 1972
He became part of Stevie Wonder’s ensemble, during Stevie’s most creative period.
Ray played on Stevie’s 1972 album ‘Talking Book’ on the track ‘Maybe Your Baby’.
first cosins jazz ensemble (album rear cover - ray on left) - 1977
In 1977, Ray was a member of the group the First Cosins Jazz ensemble for a short period.
By the mid Seventies, he constructed a group called Raydio, which gave him a greater freedom of artistic expression.
raydio - 1977 / hold on - 1979 / two places at the same time - 1980 / a woman needs love - 1981
The group, formed in 1977, comprised of Ray, Vincent Bohnam, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael.
Raydio’s first big hit, ‘Jack and Jill’, was taken from their self-titled album in 1978 for the Arista imprint.
‘Jack and Jill’ reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
‘You Can't Change That’ followed in 1979, which was lifted from the group’s ‘Rock On’ album, reaching number 9 on the Billboard chart.
By 1980, the group changed their name to Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio.
Two further albums were released, namely ‘Two Places at the Same Time’ (in 1980) and ‘A Woman Needs Love’ (in 1981).
The group’s final hit, ‘A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)’, was released in 1981, reaching number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.
the other woman - 1982 / woman out of control - 1983 / sex and the single man - 1985 / after dark - 1987
Ray went solo in late 1981, and achieved six Top 40 hits.
These included ‘The Other Woman’ (number 4 pop) in 1982, and ‘Ghostbusters’ in 1984.
i love you like you are - 1991 / i'm free! - 2009
As a session artist, he has performed with the likes of The Carpenters, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Deniece Williams, Jean-Luc Ponty, Leon Haywood, the Temptations, The Spinners, Boz Scaggs, David Foster, Rhythm Heritage, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Honey Cone, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner and Diana Ross.
Ray is married. His wife is, Elaine, and the couple have four sons: Ray III (Little Ray), Redmen, Gibson and Jericho.
In 2014, Ray is due to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Raydio (Arista Records 1977)
Rock On (Arista Records 1979)
with Ray Parker Jnr. And Raydio:
Two Places At The Same Time (Arista Records 1980)
A Woman Needs Love (Arista Records 1981)
The Other Woman (Arista Records 1982)
Woman Out Of Control (Arista Records 1983)
Sex And The Single Man (Arista Records 1985)
After Dark (Geffien Records 1987)
I Love You Like You Are (MCA Records 19910
I'm Free! (Columbia Records 2009)