As human beings, we live to communicate with our fellow jackholes, therefore the invention of the telephone was a truly wondrous thing. Imagine! Being able to hear a loved one's voice bitch at you from down the road or across oceans -- WILD! This then issued in whole new topics for songwriters to explore: calling up your baby to ask for a date, calling up your baby after the date to go "woo woo woo baby baby baby," calling up up your baby and having an unknown person answer at 3AM, calling up your baby and loudly breaking up, etc. The telephone issued in a vast, new, and instant way for us to communicate...but we are still jackholes, all.
There are probably songs about texting, I suppose, but they've got to suck. I don't even want to know.
Here are a few of my favorite songs from my personal music stash about telephones, telephone calls, and the delight, boredom, misery, confusion, or lovesick sighing that may await on the other end of the magic wire.
Let's start out with the best from the West with X! "Your Phone's Off the Hook But You're Not" is a great line, is it not? Double MEGABONUS here in the video from a couple years ago here at the Moore Theater is that you can see YOURS TRULY, ME in front of guitarist Billy Zoom workin' with mah big ass camera!
Mick Jagger is still not satisfied -- he's got a pick-up problem, too.
There's a audio processing effect on Garage Band on my Mac called "Telephone Wires" that sounds just like the guitar on this song, so I'm
probably incorrect confident that was the inspiration for this even if professional wrestler professional composer Haystack Calhoon Lars Finberg refutes it.
I can't explain the random photos used to make this video. I should do a new one for it, eh.
If this song by Al Green doesn't make you melt into a total pile of butter, you are a robot or dead. Come on, Butter...pick up the phone. Myyyyyyy goodness!
"Call Me" by Reigning Sound is sweet, soul-tinged reference to another era...like when people had landlines.
You are undoubtedly most familiar with '60s baroque-pop band the Left Banke for their mega-hit "Walk Away Renee," but every single song on their first album was a gem, like this.
I bought this song on a split-pea-soup-green-label 45 when it came out, always kinda of a sucker for a song with a little story/mystery to it, a fine melody, and a strange minor piano riff thrown in there. I remember thinking that "Marianne" wasn't anywhere as cool of a name as "Rikki," but I didn't get why they pronounced it "Reek-y."
Speaking of songs I have owned FOREVER, here's another one. For the longest time, this was my favorite song off of the Kinks' brilliant "Face To Face" album, because I thought it was very silly and jaunty and great, and I love Dave Davies' funny voice. I fully understand that many of you will have no idea what a "party line" was. Google it, lazeballs.
I want to make this CLEAR: I truly HATE this next song. I am including it here only as yet another example of how the 1970s TORTURED ME. Why don't YOU be 15 years old and stuck on a damn schoolbus for HOURS while this climbed the charts and the bus driver would turn the radio UP when it came on?!! It is seriously a wonder that I didn't SNAP.
This song was so over-wrought with pathos some feel it was a novelty record, but when I was a kid I was really hoping Sylvia would knock the phone out of her mother's grip and get back together with that lovelorn desperate dude who didn't even have enough money to stay on the stupid pay phone. I am a hopeless romantic.
You want a real weeper? The Carter Family's got it down. Man.
This is SO '80s and I was never a DANZE KLUB kid then, but Pete Shelley knows how to write really catchy songs. I bought it.
This is so early-Beatles (with an exquisite Hollies-style break) that I expect to see Ed Sullivan announcing it. So cute. Have you noticed that the main lyrical theme to these songs is that NO ONE PICKS UP THE DAMN PHONE?
This is a fave from the Maharajahs, again with the Beatles thing going on, with a lil' Stones and Monkees thrown in for good measure. I, too, am mildly irritated when people call and don't leave a message, other than if they were the Grim Reaper or Donald Trump.
And finally, not a song about a telephone and not even a song, but a TELEPHONE. It's NSFW or for the kiddies, and if you are my kiddies reading this, go call your Grandma or something.