Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


"DEAR JERRY: My wife and I need you to settle a tiny debate involving "Ghostbusters."

Which came first, "Ghostbusters," the song from the '80s, or the movie of the same title? I claim the film came first.

Futhermore, I believe that the term "ghostbuster" — meaning one who's job it is to rid a place of ghosts — was not created by either the movie writers or the recording. I recall hearing the term well before the 1980s. About this, my wife strongly disagrees, saying it is too modern or trendy a word to be any older than the '80s film.

We have a wager on this and dishwashing duties for one week hinge on your reply.
—Eric and Judith Weller, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR ERIC & JUDITH: I sense the urgency surrounding this situation, especially if the dishes are piling up while you await a decision.

Pass the detergent and towel to Judith — you are right on both counts.

The main reason Ray Parker's "Ghostbusters" record (Arista 9212) went to No. 1, is partly because the movie became a blockbuster. In fact, it was the No. 1 box-office film of 1984.

Fascinating though etymology may be, it is not my primary area of expertise. Having laid out that disclaimer, I can tell you that in the 1953 comedy, "Scared Stiff," starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Dino does discuss using the services of a ghostbuster with regard to a potentially haunted house.

Whether or not that incident represents the birth of the term does not change the assignment of dirtbusting those dishes.

Ghostbustin' Ray Parker Jr. came from the group Raydio, but he isn't the only one. Jerry Knight left Raydio to team up with Ollie Brown — as Ollie & Jerry — and invade the Top 10, in 1984, with "Breakin'...There's No Stopping Us" (Polydor 821708).

As for Raydio, before being billed as Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio, they had just two hits, but both made the Top 10: "Jack & Jill" (Arista 0283) and "You Can't Change That" (Arista 0399).

DEAR JERRY: I thoroughly enjoyed the piece you did on the song by the Statler Brothers about the movies; however, nowhere in the column did I see the actual title. Did I miss it? Please tell me, as I can't wait to hear what kind of a melody is used to put all those film titles to music. Also, when did it come out?
—Noel Mercer, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR NOEL: Suitably titled "The Movies," this Top 10 bound single came out in early 1977 (Mercury 73877). It is also available on several different Statler Brothers albums.

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