An Ode to The Ghostbusters (1984) Soundtrack
Some of my earliest and clearest childhood memories are dancing to the Ghostbusters theme song with my family. My Dad would put on the vinyl and a strobe light, and in complete strobing darkness we would have a family dance party.
I’ve continued to listen to the soundtrack throughout my life. And am now lucky enough to have the exact same record my Dad used to play for us. The Ghostbusters main theme, simply titled Ghostbusters…is still so good.
It was written by Ray Parker Jr. for the film. Parker was only given a few days to write the theme. He felt like it would be an impossible task to write a hit song that included the word “Ghostbusters.” That is until he caught a late night infomercial and was inspired to create an advertising jingle. The film debuted at #68 on the charts but soon reached the #1 spot and stayed there for three weeks.
The music video for “Ghostbusters,” was directed by Ivan Reitman (who directed the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. The music video has an incredibly star-studded cast, all of whom appeared because of their friendships with Reitman. No payment exchanged hands.
The Ghostbusters theme song was even nominated for best Original Song at the Academy Awards that year, losing to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” The song was so successful it’s estimated to account for $20M of the film’s $282M gross revenue. Though it wasn’t without drama of its own. Parker lost a lawsuit to Heuy Lewis and The News who claimed “Ghostbusters” plagiarized their song “I Want a New Drug.”
Regardless, the song has a permanent place in my heart and my childhood memories. When we rewatched the film for our History of Ghostbusters episode, I realized that the theme song had a much larger and more lasting impact on me than the film itself did when I was little. And I’ll say it again, it’s so, so good.