Today’s POP RESCUE from, quite frankly, obscurity, is the 1985 third album Sex And The Single Man from Ray Parker Jr.
Well, everyone knows Ray Parker Jr…. he was the guy who released the theme song to the Ghostbusters movie – a song which has continued to appear on nearly every single 80s compilation since its release in 1984.
Ray Parker Jr was already an established US artist by the time that the Ghostbusters song came along, but this album, with it’s somewhat odd/cringeworthy title, was his first album in the post-Ghostbusters era of his career.
I had to get my hands on a copy of this album, which also meant I had to stray from CD to an original vinyl version of it.
So.. here goes…
The album features 8 tracks, and opens with the great Girls Are More Fun. This became the lead single, and it is a great piece of 80s pop. It certainly feels like it belongs to the Ghostbusters sound, and should have been a much bigger hit. Sadly, it only reached #46 in the UK single charts – despite its funny video (see below), which involves Ray being chased by two men through various locations. There’s lots of 80s hairspray, and a funny scene at the start with Ray trying to convince a woman that he really is the man in the Ghostbuster’s video that’s playing at a bar. The woman, unimpressed, replies ‘Yeah, and I’m Irene Cara‘ and walks off, which is funny, but funnier when you realise that it is actually Irene Cara. At just over 2.5mins in, Ray dresses as a woman. Once you’ve seen that, you’ll never un-see it.
Second track, Good Time Baby, reminds me a lot of Prince in 1985, and should have been a single.
Everybody Wants Someone starts with some dramatic 80s beats, before switching to some 80s synth and Ray’s ballad vocals. ‘Everybody wants somebody else to blame it on when they know they’re wrong’ he sings. Thankfully, he doesn’t need to blame anyone – it’s a soaring song – complete with some great female vocals (it’s not clear whose).
The first half of the album closes with I’m A Dog. An odd title, but as an up-beat tempo track about cheating on someone goes, it’s a great little track.
The gentle ballad One-Sided Love Affair, opens the second half of the album. It’s not completely dissimilar to Lionel Richie‘s hit – Hello, and became the second single. Sadly it didn’t chart in the UK. The strings section on this slow ballad reminds us all of his serious side. It’s 110% 80s, but it’s a great start to side two.
The title track is up next – Sex And The Single Man – and it’s a rocky affair – and befitting of the guitar-wielding image we have of him on the cover. ‘Sex and the single man living life as best I can’ he sings, ‘…it’s tough being a single man’. This is a rocky bachelor track, and I’m surprised this hasn’t been covered by someone else.
I’m In Love is probably the weakest track here, aside from having nice harmonies. The album returns to form though with the closing track Men Have Feelings Too.
Despite having a stronger career in the US, this album stalled there too.
Essentially, this album is massively underrated, and certainly deserves a re-issue on CD and digital, as it is a fantastic slice of 80s music.
I’ve emailed the current owners of record label Arista, to request its digital release. Aside from Japan, the album is only available on vinyl.
where is ray parker jr. now?
Ray, now 60, continues to live in the US. He has rarely troubled the UK charts since Girls Are More Fun, aside from a single in 1987 which took him to #13 in the UK.
During the 00s he released a new album, appeared at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, and appeared in the 118 118 UK commercials. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in March 2014.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1985 UK CHART POSITION: Didn’t chart 😦
- POP RESCUE COST: £6.25 (from an Amazon re-seller)