When Sony dropped the trailer for the new Ghostbusters movie a few weeks ago, there were multiple references to the original 1984 film, including proton packs, the Ecto-1, and plenty of slime. But perhaps the most obvious callback was the trailer’s soundtrack: a simple piano version of Ray Parker Jr.’s iconic theme song.
In this exclusive clip from the upcoming music documentary Hired Gun, Parker discusses how he was initially reluctant when Columbia Pictures called him and asked him to write the theme song for Ivan Reitman’s new comedy. The “sort of retired” musician first said no, especially because Reitman insisted on using the word “Ghostbusters” in the song, but he ended up composing the track in just a few days.
“To this day, people ask me, ‘Are you tired of hearing people say, who you gonna call?’” Parker says. “Well, no! It’s like, am I tired of holding the best lotto ticket or the best thing to ever happen? No.”
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“Ghostbusters” went on to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars. Huey Lewis and the News later accused Parker of plagiarizing the “Ghostbusters” melody from their song “I Want a New Drug,” and Parker and Columbia Pictures settled out of court. The settlement included a confidentiality agreement, and Parker sued Lewis when he discussed the lawsuit in a 2001 Behind the Music special.
Directed by Fran Strine, Hired Gun delves into the musicians who tour and record with well-known superstars, never becoming household names on their own. The film screens Friday at South by Southwest.