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, and seemed to be destined for stardom. Scarbury's first single, "She Never Smiles Anymore," flopped, and he was soon without a record label.
Scarbury, undaunted by what happened, stayed in music up through the 1970s singing backup for artists like 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. This was to change when 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 dubbed The Greatest American Hero, about a high school teacher who comes into possession of a superhero outfit, and Scarbury was chosen to record it. An extended version of the song (3:15 compared to the television theme's minute-long length), released by Elektra Records, shot up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Scarbury could not follow it up however, and after charting at #49 with the single "When She Dances", Scarbury disappeared again from the charts. Scarbury 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.
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 on this song 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 2008, Joey was back on the radio after a long absence. His single "How Do You Sleep At Night" broke the top 40.
Discography[change | change source]
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.
1 ALBUM: (1981) America's Greatest Hero