Ray Parker Jr., legendary singer and songwriter of the iconic Ghostbusters theme song, reveals that he turned down working on the Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs. The Ghostbusters franchise began with the 1984 comedy and quickly gained a significant fan following. A sequel came in 1989, and since then, the franchise has continued with cartoons, comics, and video games. In 2016, Ghostbuster received a female-led reboot, and in 2021, a new sequel to original films releases with Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
While Ghostbusters has remained iconic throughout the years, perhaps the most recognizable element of the franchise is the original theme song was composed by Parker Jr. The song - which famously asks, "Who you gonna call?" - won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance as well as a slew of award nominations upon its release. Given such success, it isn't surprising to learn Parker Jr.'s talents were sought out for Spaceballs, Mel Brooks' 1987 lampoon of the Star Wars franchise.
In an interview with Slash Film, Ray Parker Jr. says that he was approached to work on Spaceballs, but ended up turning the position down. At the time, Parker Jr. says he decided against it because he was "fooling around, doing something, chasing girls or waterskiing." However, Parker Jr. says he's since looked back on the decision with a fair amount of regret, saying he would have liked to meet and befriend Brooks. As such, Parker Jr. adds that if Brooks happens to see the interview, he would love a second chance.
When asked if he ever feels pressured to top Ghostbusters, though, Parker Jr. says he doesn't. At the end of the day, Parker Jr. emphasizes that he just wants to make music, and wasn't particularly concerned with critical acclaim when he was composing the Ghostbusters theme song. It's an incredibly humble point of view from someone whose work and talent has been highlighted in various public forums, from the Grammy Awards to a Key & Peele sketch. Still, this truly shows that music is at the core of who Parker Jr. is - and that any accompanying recognition is simply a footnote.
Still, it's certainly fun to imagine what Parker Jr. would have created for Spaceballs. The film does include a few musical numbers already, as was common in Mel Brooks comedies even before he began adapting his films for Broadway. But a collaboration between Brooks and Parker Jr. could have resulted in something really special, and perhaps just as memorable as the Ghostbusters theme. That being said, if Mel Brooks ever needs to call someone for his next project, Parker Jr. won't turn him down this time.