Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio: Retrospective

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Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio

Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio, you’re bound to hear great songs from the group as well as Ray Parker when he went solo.

Check out their history, their music videos and all their music on demand below.

While Detroit native Ray Parker Jr. was already a successful studio musician in the 70’s working with artists like The Carpenters, Rufus and Chaka Khan, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder (an association which prompted a permanent move to Los Angeles), Deniece Williams, Bill Withers, Michael Henderson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Leon Haywood, The Temptations, The Spinners, Boz Scaggs, David Foster, Rhythm Heritage, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Honey Cone, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross, it was the group he assembled in 1977 that’d take him to the stratosphere.

Parker created Raydio which would include band members Vincent Bohnam, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael.

The boys were on a roll straight out of the gate. Immediately after getting the band a record deal with Arista Records, they scored with their first release “Jack and Jill” in 1978. The song peaked at number on on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and went to number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. It would be the band’s first gold record. Not bad for your first release.

Next up was “You Can’t Change That” in ’79 which was on their “Rock On” album. That song would hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

By late 1980, the group had become known as Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio, and they released two more albums: Two Places at the Same Time (1980), and A Woman Needs Love (1981). These spawned another two Top 40 single hits (“Two Places at the Same Time” – #30 in 1980; and “That Old Song” – #21 in 1981). Their last, and biggest hit, “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do),” was also released in 1981, and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After acknowledging the band had come to a crossroads and with Parker wanting to go solo, they quietly broke up in 1981 and from there, Parker would soar to new heights as the king of suave.

From that point on he scored six top 40 hits including “The Other Woman” which was embroiled in controversy due to the music video. Seems MTV was still in it’s ‘we can only play white music stage’ not to mention the video to “The Other Woman” included a white woman! The song hit number four on the pop charts with no help from the ‘woke’ MTV. Parker was light years ahead of most other artists.  LIke Rick James, Parker truly understood how important the visual accompaniment to a song was once we got to the music video era.

Ghostbusters would be the big one, the theme from the blockbuster 1984 movie would hit number one for four weeks and solidify him as an 80’s icon. Granted, Huey Lewis sued him for his use of “I Want A New Drug” to create the song but, all in all, it’s still and awesome fun song, video and memory and Parker has so many other great hits to his name and a sound all his own, we’ll just move on from that point.

Other members of the band would go on to success including Jerry Knight who would sign with A&M and have two R&B hits in 1981 with “Overnight Sensation” and “Perfect Fit”. He’d also go on to write for others including The Jets hit “Crush On You”. He and Ollie E. Brown (Raydio’s session drummer) also went on to become Ollie and Jerry whose 1984 hit “Breakin, No Stoppin’ Us” was the anthem for all breakers in the movie “Breakin”.

Parker’s solo career was red hot, he’d also go on to write hits for Cheryl Lynn, Diana Ross, New Edition and more.

In 2014, Parker received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to music.

Below you can enjoy all the videos, interviews and documentaries regarding this super talented group of guys you’d hear right here on The Beat!

Click here to visit Ray Parker Jr. on Facebook


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