A Hired Gun Playlist for San Francisco: 10 Ray Parker Jr. Gems
In anticipation of our upcoming screening of Hired Gun, filmmaker Fran Stine’s new documentary about often-unsung session musicians, we’ve put together this playlist of one of the film’s major players: GRAMMY-winning guitarist/songwriter/producer Ray Parker Jr. RPJ started out as a guitarist-for-hire and quickly became a sought after songwriter and producer years before scoring his most famous hit, the title track for the original Ghostbusters film. Here are 10 can’t-miss tracks that Ray played on, wrote, and/or produced throughout the past 46 years.
“Want Ads” - Honey Cone (1971)
That’s Ray Parker Jr.’s signature rhythm guitar driving this early 70s R&B smash. He played on the session while still a teenager.
“Maybe Your Baby” - Stevie Wonder (1972)
RPJ is a guest guitarist on this slithery funk classic from Stevie’s masterful Talking Book album.
“You Got the Love” - Rufus/Chaka Khan (1974)
RPJ’s first hit as a songwriter, co-written with Chaka Khan for the Rufus album Rags to Rufus.
“All You Get From Love is a Love Song” - The Carpenters (1977)
This groovy cover of the percussion-heavy 1975 Righteous Brothers tune features RPJ on guitar, as well as another legendary session player, saxophonist Tom Scott.
“Ready or Not” - Herbie Hancock (1979)
On his Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now album, Hancock opted for a frisky dance music sound fueled by this track, co-written by RPJ and Jeffrey Cohen. Recorded in San Francisco at the Automatt.
“Two Places at the Same Time” - Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio (1980)
Not his biggest hit with Raydio, but one of his sexiest songs, showcasing Parker’s trademark purr.
“Sweat (Til You Get Wet)” - Brick (1981)
RPJ is credited as co-writer and producer on this funk workout for the band Brick.
“Shake it Up Tonight” - Cheryl Lynn (1981)
RPJ produced this Top 5 Soul hit, later sampled by Chubb Rock.
“I Still Can’t Get Over Loving You” - Ray Parker Jr. (1983)
An 80s synth-pop/New Romantic delectable, wherein RPJ demonstrates his stylistic versatility yet again.
Rum Punch - Ray Parker Jr. (2006)
Spirited party track from his most recent collection, I’m Free.