There are certain things that I will never be able to fully explain to my daughter. Here’s one:
The theme song to the film Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. went to #1 on the Billboard singles chart and stayed there for three weeks.
This is not a song like Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, which, for all its sappiness, does not specifically reference icebergs, diamonds and the sinking of an ocean liner and therefore has an understandable life beyond the movie.
This is a song that only makes sense if you have seen the film. It’s a song about Ghostbusters, an occupation that only exists within the movie.
This is a song with lyrics like:
If you've had a dose of a freaky ghost You'd better call - Ghostbusters!
And yet somehow this theme song became a number one hit in 1984.
I can hear Clara now:
“Daddy, how did the theme to Ghostbusters become the most popular song in America for a entire month when there were plenty of other songs that did not rely on a specific movie for context? I don’t get it. You had Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Police, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bon Jovi and dozens of other great musicians making great music in 1984 and the Ghostbusters theme song topped them all for an entire month?”
What can I say to something to a question like that?
She would be right. It’s inexplicable.
Instead of attempting to provide an answer (because there is no answer), I’ll attempt to distract her with this nugget of trivia about the song:
The song was nominated for an Academy Award in the best original song category and won a Grammy. But you won’t find the music video on the home video version of the movie Ghostbusters due to a plagiarism suit brought by Huey Lewis in 1984. Lewis charged that the tune to Ghostbusters was essentially the same as I Want a New Drug by Huey Lewis and the News, which had come out six months earlier. The suit was settled out of court in 1985, with one of the stipulations being that neither party would ever discuss the suit in public.
And because the world depends upon bizarre coincidence, Huey Lewis was originally asked to come up with a theme song for Ghostbusters but turned down the project, after which the producers approached Ray Parker, Jr.