Was the Ghostbusters Theme Stolen from Huey Lewis?


The Issue: Allegedly, the producers behind Ghostbusters approached Ray Parker, Jr. and asked him to come up with a song that included the name of the film, but was rather simple otherwise. They played Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” for Parker as an example of the sound they wanted, and Parker apparently just lifted the bass line and guitar riff almost directly. Huey Lewis and his people sued for $5 million.

The Ruling: They settled out of court, and the terms of the settlement were confidential until Huey Lewis did VH1’s Behind the Music series in 2001, when he said, “The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker, Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that wants something—they wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. ... [I]t's not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it."

Parker then sued Lewis for breaching the confidentiality agreement. It doesn’t appear that the results of that lawsuit were made public, and it looks like people are keeping their mouths shut this time.

See Also: 11 Artists Accused of Music Plagiarism