80’s Mania Mondays: It Feels Better When I Sneak

Today’s artist has been a working musician since his teen years, sitting in the house band at the 20 Grand nightclub in Detroit with Hamilton Bohannon. As a session guitarist, he worked with Stevie Wonder, Barry White & The Love Unlimited Orchestra, The Carpenters, Deniece Williams, The Temptations and Herbie Hancock, among many others. He’s co-written songs with Rufus & Chaka Khan, whose “You Got The Love” proved to be his first big hit as a songwriter. All of this before he formed the group that started his claim to lasting fame: the band Raydio. Raydio had several pop hits; notably “Jack And Jill,” “You Can’t Change That,” and “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)”. By the time the last hit made the pop top 10, the band was called Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio, and by 1982, the band had broken up and Parker had gone solo.

Today’s 80’s Mania Monday’s song is Parker’s solo debut single, and the title of his debut solo album, “The Other Woman.”

Parker’s solo career started out pretty hot, with this song peaking in the pop top 5, as well as going to #2 for four weeks on the R&B chart. His best known song would be the theme to the movie Ghostbusters, a #1 song in both pop and R&B. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” I wonder what else was nominated….anyway, Parker’s “Ghostbusters” would end up in court, when Huey Lewis & The News sued, claiming the song’s main riff sounded too close to that group’s “I Want A New Drug.” A settlement was reached out of court.

As for “The Other Woman,” it had a more rock-ish feel than any of Parker’s hits with Raydio. It also showed that Parker had gotten comfortable as a lead vocalist; though he sang parts of Raydio’s “Jack And Jill,” he was not the lead vocalist in the band. He made two videos for “The Other Woman”: MTV refused to play the first version set in a haunted castle, reportedly due to its depiction of an interracial relationship. A second version, more performance oriented, did make the cut. During his most popular period, he also produced songs for R&B group Brick, singer Cheryl Lynn and also worked with New Edition on their song “Mr. Telephone Man.”

Hope you enjoy “The Other Woman” and my small tribute to Ray Parker Jr., who is still active almost fifty years since those days at the 20 Grand nightclub in Detroit. Thanks as always for reading and listening.

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