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Thread: Ray Parker Jr.

  1. #1

    Ray Parker Jr.

    I rarely ever see him mentioned on this forum so I thought i'd start a thread about him

    Brother ray is a Detroit native who served as a sideman for Stevie Wonder and several other artists. He also produced and wrote songs for many others. He also claims to have at least co-written Leo Sayer's hit "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", but was screwed out the songwriting credits. (I believe him because not only does he play guitar on it, the song recording has his musical signature stamped all over it.)

    In 1978, he signed with Arista and was forced to create a band that he called Raydio, featuring some of his buddies. As Raydio, he went on to have several high charting crossover hits including "Jack & Jill", "You Can't Change That", "Two Places At The Same Time", "A Woman Needs Love", plus many other soul hits. In 1982, he dropped "Raydio" and went solo with more hits like "The Other Woman", "Girls Are More Fun", "Let Me Go", and "Ghostbusters", over which he was sued by Huey Lewis because he copped the riff from his song "I Want A New Drug". However, Huey Lewis violated the settlement by discussing it later.

    He has recorded at least twelve albums, and is still active. I like his brand of music because he writes from the average man's point of view. He is straight-forward and pulls no punches with his lyrics.

  2. #2
    I went to high school with a kid who absolutely loved Ray Parker, Jr. Most of us were huge Parliament, Cameo and Heatwave fans but he was always arguing about how great Raydio and Ray Parker, Jr. were. I was kind of hit or miss with him back then but the hits were home runs. I'm a bigger fan now than I was 40 years ago. Man, that sounds like a long time ago.

    The instrumental "For Those Who Like To Groove" was the jam in my junior year. And the first Raydio album had "Jack and Jill" and "Going Thru School And Love", which are two of my favorite records from that era of my life. Raydio was instantly recognizable because the bass was effected with a wah effect that rivaled Bootsy's.


    I have three of his/their albums but only a greatest hits CD and the CD doesn't have all of his good songs on it. If I recall, he was actually doing sessions with established artists when he was a teenager. I remember when he actually caused a stir when he performed "Bad Boy" and threw the lyrics "whip me, spank me" and people inferred that he was talking about masochism. Those would be the tamest lyrics in any of today's songs and not even get a blink.

    The Huey Lewis lawsuit was a joke. Parker's legal team showed where the disputed riff was originally heard in M's "Pop Muzik". If I was him, I would have given M attribution via a writer's credit and let Lewis cut his own throat with the lawsuit. How the judge or jury ruled against him when it was clear that Lewis riffed the song originally is beyond me.

    By the way: If you watch "Uptown Saturday Night", he's playing with a band at a picnic scene late in the movie.

  3. #3
    I have heard of Ray before, but don't know much about him or his music. I think I know more now so thanks guys!

    I do intend to check him out though. Sounds like some great music to be found.

    Did Ray work with Barry White in the 70s too or have I just made that up?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I have heard of Ray before, but don't know much about him or his music. I think I know more now so thanks guys!

    I do intend to check him out though. Sounds like some great music to be found.

    Did Ray work with Barry White in the 70s too or have I just made that up?
    Nothing is falsified,Ray played guitar on many of Barry White's sessions. They also wrote a song together that was released as a single,"You See The Trouble With Me". It wasn't a huge hit and came at a time when B.W.' s great run as a hitmaker was coming to an end.

  5. #5
    Freda Payne's Band of Gold hit had an array of artists on it. Lead Guitar was Ray Parker Jr. Future members of Tony Orlando & Dawn (Joyce Vincent Wilson and Telma Hopkins) sang background along with future Supreme Sherrie Payne, who is Freda's sister.

  6. #6
    Rays the real deal musically and lives an interesting whirlwind life LOL. I had the privilege of putting a project together with Ray and gained a lot of respect. Talented, focused, and a great family man too...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post


    [The instrumental "For Those Who Like To Groove" was the jam in my junior year.
    It was a huge jam around here too!


    I remember when he actually caused a stir when he performed "Bad Boy" and threw the lyrics "whip me, spank me" and people inferred that he was talking about masochism. Those would be the tamest lyrics in any of today's songs and not even get a blink.
    I never heard of any controversy, as it was 1982, and Toni Basil had her #1 hit "Mickey" with it's highly sexually suggestive lyrics "Any way you wanna do it, i'll take it like a man". Read whatever you want into that. But, the other new song on that greatest hits album was "The People Next Door", where he sings about hearing the two lesbian lovers next door making him horny: "makin' strange noises, sounds like a choo-choo train."

    The Huey Lewis lawsuit was a joke. Parker's legal team showed where the disputed riff was originally heard in M's "Pop Muzik". If I was him, I would have given M attribution via a writer's credit and let Lewis cut his own throat with the lawsuit. How the judge or jury ruled against him when it was clear that Lewis riffed the song originally is beyond me.
    I have my theories. But, it also makes me wonder why the Marvin Gaye estate doesn't go after Ed Sheeran. His hit "Thinking Out Loud" is a direct rip off of Gaye's "Let's Get It On". But, I digress...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Rays the real deal musically and lives an interesting whirlwind life LOL. I had the privilege of putting a project together with Ray and gained a lot of respect. Talented, focused, and a great family man too...
    I like that he also produces and engineers his own recordings and (can and does) plays all of his own instruments. A true one-man record production company.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by soulster View Post
    It was a huge jam around here too!



    I never heard of any controversy, as it was 1982, and Toni Basil had her #1 hit "Mickey" with it's highly sexually suggestive lyrics "Any way you wanna do it, i'll take it like a man". Read whatever you want into that. But, the other new song on that greatest hits album was "The People Next Door", where he sings about hearing the two lesbian lovers next door making him horny: "makin' strange noises, sounds like a choo-choo train."



    I have my theories. But, it also makes me wonder why the Marvin Gaye estate doesn't go after Ed Sheeran. His hit "Thinking Out Loud" is a direct rip off of Gaye's "Let's Get It On". But, I digress...
    I made the same point about "Thinking Out Loud" on the Soulful Detroit forum and some of the same people who were rejoicing over the Gaye family's court win against Pharrell and Alan Thicke put me on full blast, saying that there was no similarity between the Sheeran song and "Let's Get It On". I can't unhear it. If Tom Petty got Sam Smith for "Stay With Me" sounding like "I Won't Back Down" and Phil Spector won against George Harrison ("He's So Fine" vs "My Sweet Lord"), nobody can tell me that "Thinking Out Loud" isn't pretty close to different words sung over a "Let's Get It On" Karaoke track. But since those folks are always the smartest in the room, I stay out of that forum.

    By the way, I never understood how Petty (whom I love) prevailed.

    But Parker was and is remarkable. I used to like Raydio but at some point, he grew confident in his own voice and sang his own songs. Great decision.

    And "Mickey" is battling for #1 alongside "99 Luftballoons" and anything by Falco/After the Fire on my list of worst hits of the '80s. Seriously, if I ever heard it in a club back then, i probably would head out for another club.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    3,650
    Truly an underrated artist. I used to love this ballad by him

  11. #11
    Any huge Ray fans from Detroit in here? I am collecting photos and footage for a new project about his life, so that more people can learn about him!

  12. #12
    You see the trouble with me was massive in the UK... reaching No.2.

    His 1987 After Dark album needs the expanded remaster treatment.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by WYGC2019 View Post
    Any huge Ray fans from Detroit in here? I am collecting photos and footage for a new project about his life, so that more people can learn about him!
    Ray has his own biographical film coming out that he's been working on for the past year...

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by WYGC2019 View Post
    Any huge Ray fans from Detroit in here? I am collecting photos and footage for a new project about his life, so that more people can learn about him!
    Ray who worked with me on The Funk Brothers Walk Of Fame presentation. Ray was instrumental in helping fund the project...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by WYGC2019 View Post
    Any huge Ray fans from Detroit in here? I am collecting photos and footage for a new project about his life, so that more people can learn about him!
    Ray at his Own Walk Of Fame ceremony...

  16. #16
    I've always enjoyed Ray Parker Jr's work going all the way back to the Raydio days.

  17. #17


    Ray Parker Jr. has been an indispensable contributor to soul music from the age of 15. He started with Bohannon at that age at The 20 Grand backing Motown acts. In addition to his Motown session work, he was fundamental to the development of the Invictus Hot Wax Stage Coach sound and is all over the records from that HDH stable. Without Ray, the Invictus sound would have been less distinctive.

    His relationship with Lamont Dozier has been very long and he participated in Lamont's ABC output, both for Lamont himself, as well as Lamont’s productions on Richard Popcorn Wylie, Clarence Carter, ZZ Hill and The Originals. He also worked a lot with Johnny Bristol.

    All this was behind the scenes, until he eventually became visible when Raydio was formed. Personally, I think the Raydio work gave Ray a public profile but his contributions over the decades significantly outshine the Raydio project.

    His relationship with Lamont extended to his engineer brother Reggie Dozier, with whom he built his own recording studio.


    Ray’s career was kicked off by Bohannon, and if you listen to Checkin’ Out (Double Clutch), you will here Marvin Gaye giving due credit to Bohannon, Ray and Melvin (Wah Wah).
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 08-23-2019 at 06:32 PM.

  18. #18
    Ray was present on the majority of Bohannon’s many albums, not just as a guitar player but also composer etc. Here’s one composed and arranged by Ray...


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