The Second Disc

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Friday Feature: “Ghostbusters”

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For whatever cosmic reason, 1984 was a huge cosmic intersection for pop music and film. Prince exploded into the national consciousness with Purple Rain, Kenny Loggins continued his run as America’s go-to soundtrack guy with his contributions to Footloose. Stevie Wonder called The Woman in Red to say he loved her, Harold Faltermeyer helped make Eddie Murphy a superstar with “Axel F.” from Beverly Hills Cop. Even Phil Collins had a soundtrack hit, against all odds.

And then there was “Ghostbusters.” A ridiculously popular song from an unlikely musician (Ray Parker, Jr. – an in-demand session player who’d worked heavily with Barry White and Stevie Wonder), the tune stayed on top of the Billboard charts for three weeks in a row. One can debate the merits of the song and why it was so successful – I would posit that its success derives from the catchiness and the amazing hilarity of the film it was attached to – but it’s a fantastic success story nonetheless. Of course, it’s not without its share of controversy; Huey Lewis famously sued Parker for seemingly lifting the melody from “I Want a New Drug” for “Ghostbusters” (the two do sound incredibly similar). The pair settled out of court, but Parker bought Lewis to court again when The News-man discussed details of the confidential settlement for an episode of VH-1’s Behind the Music.

Of course, Ghostbusters had its own soundtrack LP, a grab bag of cuts from Air Supply, The Thompson Twins and Mick Smiley (only otherwise known for writing Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” and playing bass on Billy Idol’s “Hot in the City” – he in fact has recorded no other music under his own name). And then there’s that great, underrated score by the man who wrote the score to The Magnificent Seven!

The Second Disc came, saw and kicked ass to bring you a look at Ghostbusters on record. Read on after the jump!

Various Artists, Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album (Arista AL8-8246, 1984)

  1. Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr. – 4:05
  2. Cleanin’ Up the Town – The Bus Boys – 2:58
  3. Savin’ the Day – Alessi – 3:23
  4. In the Name of Love – Thompson Twins – 3:19
  5. I Can Wait Forever – Air Supply – 5:09
  6. Hot Night – Laura Branigan – 3:21
  7. Magic – Mick Smiley – 4:20
  8. Main Title Theme (Ghostbusters) – Elmer Bernstein – 3:00
  9. Dana’s Theme – Elmer Bernstein – 3:32
  10. Ghostbusters (Instrumental) – Ray Parker, Jr. – 4:48

The “Ghostbusters” 45 (Arista AS 1-9292) was backed with the instrumental as heard on the soundtrack, while the 12″ single (Arista ADP 9223 (U.S.)/601 460 (U.K.)) was given a longer remix and backed with a dub. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few gimmicks involved in the release of the single, from the 45 that was shaped like the infamous No-Ghost Logo (Arista ARISD 580 (U.S.)/ARIST 580 (U.K.)), to a limited edition clear-green vinyl 12″ (Arista X 13168). (There was also a U.K. 12″ single – Arista ARIST 12 580 – that had a shorter remix subtitled “Searching for the Spirit” with a running time of around 5:30.)

Given the worldwide success of “Ghostbusters,” it seemed almost insignificant to release another single – but believe it or not, there was. A 12″ promo of “Cleanin’ Up the Town” was released (Arista ADP-9230, 1984) with a longer version of the song as the A-side (running time 4:58). (“In the Name of Love” was already a single two years before Ghostbusters – hitting No. 1 on Billboard‘s Dance Chart – however, this was the first LP appearance of the single version of the song. Previous singles, and the U.S.-only album In the Name of Love, used the 12″ version.)

By the time the film hit the two-decade mark, the soundtrack was a staple in stores everywhere, the most recent pressing being a bare-bones reissue on the Collectables label (COL-CD-8436, 2005). In 2006, Legacy reissued the LP (Arista/Legacy 82876 75985-2) on CD with two bonus tracks: The Trammp’s “Disco Inferno,” which played in a party scene, and the 12″ mix of “Ghostbusters.”

Although Ghostbusters was driven by its pop songs, Elmer Bernstein’s score was pretty memorable as well. Relying on a bouncy piano-driven riff in places, as well as the use of an ondes Martenot for the more ghostly sequences, the score became something of a cult classic and was heavily bootlegged in the years following the film’s release. Finally, in 2006, Varese Sarabande released a limited edition set of the complete score, including an alternate cue and two tracks intended for the original soundtrack album but unused. All 3,000 copies sold out rapidly following this release.

Elmer Bernstein, Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande VCL 0306 1046, 2006 – original film released 1984)

  1. Ghostbusters Theme – 3:00 **
  2. Library and Title – 3:02 *
  3. Venkman – 0:31
  4. Walk – 0:30
  5. Hello – 1:36
  6. Get Her! – 2:01
  7. Plan – 1:25
  8. Taken – 1:08
  9. Fridge – 1:01
  10. Sign – 0:54
  11. Client – 0:35
  12. The Apartment – 2:45
  13. Dana’s Theme – 3:31 **
  14. We Got One! – 2:02
  15. Halls – 2:01
  16. Trap – 1:56
  17. Meeting – 0:38
  18. I Respect You – 0:54
  19. Cross Rip – 1:07
  20. Attack – 1:30
  21. Dogs – 0:57
  22. Date – 0:45
  23. Zool – 4:12
  24. Dana’s Room – 1:40
  25. Judgment Day – 1:19
  26. The Protection Grid – 0:42
  27. Ghosts! – 2:15 *
  28. The Gatekeeper – 1:12
  29. Earthquake – 0:33
  30. Ghostbusters! – 1:13 *
  31. Stairwell – 1:14
  32. Gozer – 2:48
  33. Marshmallow Terror – 1:25
  34. Final Battle – 1:30
  35. Finish – 2:13
  36. End Credits – 5:04 *
  37. Magic – 1:37 +
  38. Zool – 3:12 +
  39. We Got One! (Alternate) – 2:04 *

* includes music not used in the film
** previously released on soundtrack LP
+ intended for release on soundtrack LP

Written by Mike Duquette

July 16, 2010 at 12:01

Posted in Features, Reissues, Soundtracks

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