The song was written by Ray Parker Jr. as the theme to the 1984 Ivan Reitman’s American supernatural comedy film of the same name. It was included on the film’s soundtrack. The single was released on June 8, 1984 with the instrumental version of the song on the B-side. “Ghostbusters” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (staying there for three weeks),Canada, South Africa and other countries. In the UK and Australia, it reached number two. The song re-entered the UK Top 75 on November 2, 2008, at No. 49 and again on November 5, 2021, at No. 38. The song was nominated at the 57th Academy Awards for Best Original Song, but lost to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.
The music video for the song was directed by Ivan Reitman and produced by Jeffrey Abelson. It features a young woman ( actress Cindy Harrell) who is haunted by a ghost portrayed by Parker. The video features cameos by celebrities Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Melissa Gilbert, Ollie E. Brown, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, and Teri Garr.
For the soundtrack of the film’s 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, American group Run-D.M.C. recorded a hip hop version of the song, featuring new lyrics.