Story of the Song: Hanging on the Telephone, Blondie (1978)
Friday 17 September 2010
Stuck on punk's West Coast outpost, The Nerves' fame barely made it out of California. The trio recorded a solitary, self-titled EP in 1976 before breaking up.
By 1978, their primary songwriter, Jack Lee, was facing financial ruin – but one song on that EP was about to change his fortunes. "I remember the day vividly," Lee told Mojo magazine in 2007. "It was a Friday. They were going to cut off our electricity at six o'clock, the phone too."
Before disconnection, that phone rang. It was Debbie Harry asking Lee if she could record "Hanging on the Telephone". Lee agreed, and Blondie rehearsed it before convening to record their third album, the career-defining Parallel Lines. It was produced by Mike Chapman, who described the song as "magic from the beginning". A telephone with a British ring tone was kept as the opener. The song made the top Five in November 1978 and has subsequently been covered by many, including Girls Aloud and Def Leppard. Lee, who went on to pen "Come Back and Stay" for Paul Young, regretted his own version was never a hit, but says he always knew "Hanging on the Telephone" was a special song: "Even people who hated me – and there were plenty – had to admit it was great."
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians