Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Ghostbusters (song)

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Recorded  1983
Length  4:06
Writer(s)  Ray Parker Jr.
Genre  Dance-pop
Label  Arista
Released  May 1984 (U.S.) August 13, 1984 (UK)

"Ghostbusters" is a song recorded 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".


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. This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion. Huey Lewis sued Parker over the similarities between "Ghostbusters" and Lewis' "I Want a New Drug". The matter was settled out of court.

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

The music video for the song was directed by the same director as the Ghostbusters film, Ivan Reitman, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson. It features a young woman, played by actress Cindy Harrell, 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 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 Ray Parker Jr. for plagiarism, stating that Parker's song was too similar to "I Want a New Drug". Lewis had been approached to compose the main theme song for the film, but had to decline because of his work on the soundtrack for Back to the Future. The two parties settled out of court. Details of the settlement (specifically, that Columbia Pictures paid Lewis a settlement) were 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.


  • Ray Parker, Jr. – vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, drums
  • Irene Cara – background vocals
  • In popular culture

    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".

    7": Arista / ARI 8391 US

    1. "Ghostbusters" — 3:46
    2. "Ghostbusters" (Instrumental) — 4:07

    The slightly longer instrumental version contains two extra sections with additional instrumentation, which aren't present the vocal version. One of these sections gives the song a proper ending, unlike the vocal version which fades out.

    12": Arista / ARIST 22580 United Kingdom

    1. "Ghostbusters" (Extended Version) — 6:08
    2. "Ghostbusters" (Dub Version) — 5:35
    3. "Ghostbusters" (Short Version) — 4:03

    Run–D.M.C. version

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Their version was eight on the Finnish singles chart for one week in 1996 and thus became one of the greatest songs from the album Peep. The song is still popular when they perform live, as it is seen as a classic for their older fans. No official music video has been made for the song, but a live video from 1996 has become popular among fans, and therefore they are sometimes mistaken for a music video.

    When they play the song live set they often confuse with the song Playboys under the name "Pelleily," which is Finnish and roughly means that jam ma (in a fun way).

    At The Rasmus official website of 1999 could find the following description of the song:

    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

    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.

    Track listing

    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

    Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott version

    "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.

    Walk the Moon version

    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 Elliot, Walk the Moon's version is much closer to the original song.


    Ghostbusters (song) Wikipedia