On this day in music history: May 16, 1981 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1981 – “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” by Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on June 20, 1981. Written and produced by Ray Parker, Jr., is the first chart topping single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Detroit, MI. A successful studio musician since the age of fifteen, Ray Parker, Jr. follows his early studio work in his native Detroit with stints as a member of Stevie Wonder’s band Wonderlove, as part of Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra and as a freelance studio musician after moving to Los Angeles. Forming the band Raydio in 1977, they hit paydirt with the top ten pop and R&B hit “Jack & Jill” (#5 R&B, #8 Pop). The band begins to fracture at the turn of the decade following member Jerry Knight’s departure for a solo career. The inspiration for Parker’s first number one hit comes while hanging out at his recording studio Ameraycan Studios in North Hollywood, CA. Ray overhears a group of women discussing their relationships with men, how their boyfriends were prone to cheat on them, and were likely to do the same to get back at them. In spite of his own reputation as a ladies man, Parker empathizes with the women, writing the song as a cautionary tale that men are not immune to the same treatment. He even makes reference to Raydio’s first hit “Jack & Jill” in the songs lyrics. Lacking confidence in his abilities as a lead vocalist, Ray spends nearly a month working on his vocals for “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” until he feels the finished results are suitable for release. The title track from Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio’s fourth album, it is released as a single in late February of 1981, quickly becoming a big R&B and pop crossover hit. “A Woman Needs Love” is the last record released under the Raydio name, with the band quietly breaking up before the end of 1981, with Ray Parker, Jr continuing on as a solo artist.