Joey Scarbury (born June 7, 1955 in Ontario, California) is an adult contemporary singer best known for his hit song, "Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)", in 1981.
Childhood and early music career:
Growing up in Thousand Oaks, California, Scarbury 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.
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, and, as luck would have it, Scarbury was given the opportunity to record it.
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" 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.
The 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.
Scarbury returned to the charts in 2008 with his single "How Do You Sleep at Night", released on Golden Records.