Monday, March 21, 2011

Ray Parker, Jr. -- "Bad Boy"

Bad Boy - Ray Parker, Jr.: Greatest Hits

(Debuted December 4, 1982, Peaked #35, 11 Weeks on the Chart)

The YouTube video below features "Bad Boy" played on vinyl through a cheap speaker. Some viewers may wish the quality were better, but I say if that's the way we heard it then, it should be a nice trip down memory lane. At least I didn't pick the other version, which had some pops in the audio as well.

80s fans probably best remember Ray Parker, Jr. for the juggernaut that was "Ghostbusters," but he was a veteran of the music business before that. Beginning as a teenage session artist in Detroit, he was playing guitar with Stevie Wonder and Barry White before he was 20. By the end of the 1970s, he was writing for Rufus and Chaka Khan, producing Cheryl Lynn and Deniece Williams and even hitting the chart as the leader of Raydio ("Jack & Jill," "You Can't Change That"). As the 1980s dawned,  Parker was stepping out to become a more noticeable entity with Raydio as his backup band. "A Woman Needs Love" was a decent hit, but "The Other Woman" -- a paean to infidelity -- was even bigger, going Top 10 in 1982.

"Bad Boy" was something of a followup to "The Other Woman," both as a single and as a concept. In the lyrics, the "strange" has gotten stale and the narrator is ready to come back home if he can. And he's not beneath crawling if it gets him there. He even mentions the previous hit in the lyrics ("now the other woman's left me"), promises to take out the trash and do the dishes and even says she can beat him if it'll help get him home. If that's what a man is forced to do to get back in the good graces of a jilted ex-lover, I suppose payback truly is a bitch.

"Bad Boy" was a bonus track from Parker's Greatest Hits LP, which came out late in '82 to capitalize on the success of "The Other Woman." That's probably why it directly addressed that song.

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