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Cover for "America's Greatest Hero", His debut and only Studio album, Which Includes The song "Believe It Or Not" The Theme For "Greatest American Hero", The Show The Album Was Named After.
|Born||June 7, 1955|
|Origin||Ontario, California, United States|
|Genres||Pop rock, soft rock|
Joey Scarbury (born June 7, 1955) is an American singer and songwriter best known for his hit song, "Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)", in 1981.
Childhood and early music career
Scarbury was born in Ontario, California. Growing up in Thousand Oaks, he was continually encouraged in his ambition to sing by his mother. At the age of 14, after being spotted by songwriter Jimmy Webb's father, he was signed to a recording contract with Dunhill Records. Scarbury's first single, "She Never Smiles Anymore," flopped, and he was soon without a record label.
Citing Dan Seals of England Dan & John Ford Coley as an influence, he stayed around the music business throughout the 1970s, first as a backup for artists like country artist Loretta Lynn, and occasionally recording his own material. Although he had a minor chart single with "Mixed Up Guy" in 1971, real chart success eluded him for the rest of the decade.
1980s and The Greatest American Hero
In the late 1970s he started working for record producer and composer Mike Post. Post was hired along with Stephen Geyer to write the theme tune for a new TV series titled The Greatest American Hero, about an average high school teacher who comes into possession of a superhero outfit from aliens.
After recording the full-length version of the song, entitled "Believe It or Not", it was edited down to a minute for broadcast as the theme song for the show. The show's success (along with its catchy theme song) prompted Elektra Records to first release it as a single, shooting up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. A similarly titled album, America's Greatest Hero, was also hastily produced, and it also sold well.
However, Scarbury could not follow the song's success, and after charting at #49 with a follow-up single "When She Dances," he once again disappeared from the charts. He went on to work with Post again in the mid-1980s to record the song "Back to Back" for the television series Hardcastle and McCormick and teamed up with Desiree Goyette to record "Flashbeagle" and "Snoopy" for the Peanuts special It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown. He also performed the opening theme for the television series Jennifer Slept Here but never released another single in the 1980s. Scarbury also sang the theme tune to Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
1990s and songwriting
In 1990, Scarbury found success again as a songwriter. This time his co-written song "No Matter How High" was recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys and was a number-one country music hit. His co-writer was Even Stevens, who previously had found success with co-writing songs for country star Eddie Rabbitt as well as the Kenny Rogers hit "Love Will Turn You Around" from the motion picture Six Pack. In 1993, he teamed up with Jennifer Warnes to record the theme from the short-lived sitcom Almost Home.
Joey was invited to NYC by radio station WPLJ-FM in April, 2005 to perform at the China Club in Times Square for a TV Themes Concert. He was joined on stage by other singers of popular TV themes, including Gloria Loring, Greg Evigan, Gary Portnoy, David Pomeranz and David Naughton.
The song was famously parodied on the season 8 episode of Seinfeld, titled "Susie", by Jason Alexander, playing his character George Costanza. George uses a version of the song as an outgoing answering message, with different lyrics ("Believe it or not, George isn't at home") and mistakes in the melodic line. Since Jason Alexander is a good singer in real life, he was told to sing as poorly as he could after his first take of the song was judged too good to be funny.
Scarbury has released several singles starting in 1969 on Dunhill, followed by releases on Reena, Playboy, Bell, Columbia, RCA, Big Tree, Lionel, and Elektra labels.
- America's Greatest Hero (1981)
- Charting singles
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions|
|US Hot 100||US Adult||AUS|
|1971||"Mixed Up Guy"||73||—||—|
|1981||"Believe It or Not"||2||3||2|
|"When She Dances"||49||—||—|