Did Ray Parker Jr. Rip Off Huey Lewis and the News with Ghostbusters Theme Song?
Did you know that in 1984 Huey Lewis (of Huey Lewis and the News fame) sued Ray Parker Jr. (Ghostbusters theme song) for ripping off his 1983 hit “I Want a New Drug”?
The case was settled out of court but there are a couple of interesting details.
Ivan Reitman, the late, great director of Ghostbusters was apparently a big Huey Lewis and the News fan and before he had a song to accompany his movie, actually filmed the montage in the middle of the film to “I Want a New Drug”.
Allegedly he asked Huey Lewis and the band if he could use the track for Ghostbusters but they were already tied to Back to the Future, providing the songs “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” for the classic time travelling adventure.
After asking around 50 artists to submit songs that could potentially be used and not liking any of them, the producers of Ghostbusters approached Ray Parker Jr. with only a couple of days left before the deadline. They told him what kind of thing they were after (beat, bass line, guitar riff etc) and he got to work.
The rest, as they say is history but his song was so similar to Huey Lewis’s that he ended up getting sued.
In his defence, he was given a brief and delivered exactly what was asked for. The blame surely has to lie with Reitman and the producers for essentially asking for a song that sounded so much like the one they wanted from the start but couldn’t get.
Either way, it all turned out ok and who could imagine Ghostbusters without that classic theme song now?!
I found this cool mashup of the two songs on YouTube. Although the Huey Lewis track is quite a bit different in places you can't deny that over all they sound very similar!
“I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts” 👻