Call Me (Blondie song)
"Call Me" is a song by the American new wave band Blondie and the theme to the 1980 film American Gigolo. Produced and composed by Italian musician Giorgio Moroder, with lyrics by Blondie singer Debbie Harry, the song appeared in the film and was released in the United States in early 1980 as a single. "Call Me" was No. 1 for six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it became the band's biggest single and second No. 1. It also hit No. 1 in the UK and Canada, where it became their fourth and second chart-topper, respectively. In the year-end chart of 1980, it was Billboard's No. 1 single and RPM magazine's No. 3 in Canada.
|Single by Blondie|
|from the album American Gigolo|
|B-side||"Call Me" (instrumental) (U.S.)|
|Released||February 1, 1980|
|Recorded||August 1979, New York City|
|Blondie singles chronology|
Composition and recordingEdit
"Call Me" was composed by Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder as the main theme song of the 1980 film American Gigolo. It is played in the key of D minor. Moroder originally asked Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac to perform a song for the soundtrack, but she was prevented because of a recently signed contract with Modern Records. (Coincidentally, the verse of "Call me" shares the chord progression and melodic outline with Nick's "Rhiannon".) Moroder turned to Debbie Harry of Blondie, presenting Harry with an instrumental track called "Man Machine". Harry was asked to write the lyrics and melody, a process that Harry states took a mere few hours. The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute.
Harry said the lyrics were inspired by her visual impressions from watching the film and that "When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California." The completed song was then recorded by the band, with Moroder producing. The bridge of the original English-language version also includes Harry saying "call me" in two European languages: Italian: Amore, chiamami, lit. 'Love, call me' and French: Appelle-moi, mon chéri, lit. 'Call me, my darling'.
In 2014, keyboardist-composer Harold Faltermeyer remembered the recording process as having three main sections: first Moroder and his music crew recorded an instrumental version of the song at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with the tape locked to SMPTE timecode so that it would synchronize with the film. Then the project moved to New York for the Blondie recording session, at which the band surprised Moroder by insisting they would play their own parts. Faltermeyer was engineering when Harry sang and Chris Stein played electric guitar. Stein's guitar and amplifier were buzzing and noisy, so his setup was repaired to get a clean recording. The band had difficulty locking to sync, so Moroder stopped the unfinished sessions to save time, and took the project back to Los Angeles to more quickly add the final parts with his own picked musicians, including a keyboard solo by Faltermeyer. On the American Gigolo soundtrack album, Blondie the band is credited only for vocals, with other credits naming Moroder's crew of Keith Forsey on drums/percussion and Faltermeyer on keyboards and arrangements. Faltermeyer said the band was angry about being replaced by session players, but the song turned out to be very successful, so they took it in stride. Blondie keyboard player Jimmy Destri was obligated to play Faltermeyer's solo in concerts.
In the US, the song was released by three record companies: the longest version (at 8:06) on the soundtrack album by Polydor, the 7" and 12" on Blondie's label Chrysalis, and a Spanish-language 12" version, with lyrics by Buddy and Mary McCluskey, on the disco label Salsoul Records. The Spanish version, titled "Llámame", was meant for release in Mexico and some South American countries. This version was also released in the US and the UK and had its CD debut on Chrysalis/EMI's rarities compilation Blonde and Beyond (1993). In 1988, a remixed version by Ben Liebrand taken from the Blondie remix album Once More into the Bleach was issued as a single in the UK. In 2001, the "original long version" appeared as a bonus track on the Autoamerican album re-issue.
In 2014, Blondie re-recorded the song for their compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a 2-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their tenth studio album Ghosts of Download and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.
Harry recorded an abbreviated version of the song that was backed by the Muppet Band for her guest appearance on The Muppet Show in August 1980. It was first broadcast in January 1981.
Popularity and acclaimEdit
The single was released in the United States in February 1980. It spent six consecutive weeks at number one and was certified Gold (for one million copies sold) by the RIAA. It also spent four weeks at No. 2 on the US dance chart. The single was also No. 1 on Billboard magazine's 1980 year-end chart. The song lists at No. 57 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. It was released in the UK two months later, where it became Blondie's fourth UK No. 1 single in little over a year. The song was also played on a British Telecom advert in the 1980s. 25 years after its original release, "Call Me" was ranked at No. 283 on the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1981, the Village Voice ranked "Call Me" as the third-best song of the year 1980 on its annual year-end critics' poll, Pazz & Jop.
In 1981, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
There were two videos made:
- One was clips and video footage of Debbie Harry in New York City. The video can be found on the 1991 UK video compilation The Complete Picture: The Very Best of Deborah Harry and Blondie.
- The other, which came out in 1981, did not feature any of the band. It depicted a New York City taxi driver (who had appeared in several other Blondie music videos) driving his Checker Taxi through Manhattan traffic. This version was part of the 1981 "Best of Blondie" compilation video.
1988 Remix chartsEdit
Sales and certificationsEdit
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||150,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||400,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
- US, UK 7" (CHS 2414)
- "Call Me (Theme from American Gigolo)" (7" edit) — 3:32
- "Call Me" (7" instrumental) — 3:27
- UK 12" (CHS 12 2414)
- "Call Me" (7" edit) — 3:32
- "Call Me" (Spanish version – 7" edit) — 3:32
- "Call Me" (7" instrumental) — 3:27
- US 12" (Polydor PRO 124) [promo only]
- "Call Me" (Theme from American Gigolo) — 8:04
- "Night Drive" (Reprise) - by Giorgio Moroder — 3:52
- US 12" (Salsoul SG 341)
- "Call Me" (Spanish version, extended) — 6:23
- "Call Me" (Instrumental) — 6:10
- UK 7" (CHS 3342-1)
- "Call Me" (Ben Liebrand Remix) — 7:09
- "Call Me" (Original Version) — 3:31
- UK 12" (CHS 12 3342)
- "Call Me" (Ben Liebrand Remix) — 7:09
- "Backfired" (Bruce Forrest And Frank Heller Remix) — 6:03
- "Call Me" (Original Version) — 3:31
- UK CD (CHSCD 3342)
Notable cover versionsEdit
- In 2001, artist Nikka Costa recorded a cover for the soundtrack of the comedy film Zoolander and featured in the episode "Did You Miss Me?" in Pretty Little Liars.
- In 2008, British singer Skye Edwards collaborated with Marc Collin of French band Nouvelle Vague on a cover of the song for the album Hollywood, Mon Amour.
- Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand were asked by Blondie themselves to cover it for a War Child charity album.
- Blondie re-recorded the song (with Moroder returning as producer) for their 2014 re-recording compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a two-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their 10th studio album Ghosts of Download and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.
- In 2017, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno and American drummer Isaac Carpenter recorded a cover of the Spanish-language version for the film How to Be a Latin Lover.
- In 2019, Emily Blue covered the track for Audiotree's compilation album Turn Her Up!. The cover was also released as a single and featured on The CW's Batwoman.
- Cathy Che (1999), 'Deborah Harry: Platinum Blonde', MPG Books Ltd, Cornwall, p.65
- Danyel Smith, ed. (1981). "Billboard 17 october 1981". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 28, 2013. "the sly, seductive dance rock hit "Call Me,""
- Porter, Dick; Needs, Kris (February 13, 2017). Blondie: Parallel Lives. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857127808 – via Google Books.
- Gene Stout (September 2, 2006). "Blondie plays the hits for fans young and old". Seattle Pi. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved June 29, 2013. "Blondie opened with "Call Me," (...) a new wave classic that appealed as much to graying baby boomers as it did to a pimply kid wearing a T-shirt from CBGB's, one of several New York clubs that helped make Blondie famous - or vice-versa - in the '70s."
- Danyel Smith, ed. (1980). "Billboard 27 December 1980". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- "Top Singles - Volume 33, No. 6, May 03 1980". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s, Episode 2, VH1
- Bokris, Viktor (May 24, 1980). "Dinner with Blondie... and William Burroughs". New Music News. New York: New Music News. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
Harry: Giorgio's original idea was to call it "man machine" because the man was just like the sex machine. Stein: Debbie's lyrics are much more subtle than the ones he wrote. His thing was very direct like saying I am a man and I go out and I fuck all the girls. Debbie's lyrics are a lot more subtle and the movie in a way is not that blatant, it is sort of subtle. Harry: It was like teasing too because the thing about the movie was that he was always—'Call me! Call me if you want me to come to you.' And it was like these little commands had this macho quality through his being a male hooker, you know that kind of demanding business.
- Staff (2020). "Listen to Debbie Harry's incredible isolated vocal track on Blondie's hit 'Call Me'". Far Out. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
- Tamara Warren (July 9, 2012). "Mustang Debbie: Blondie's Legendary Lead Singer Confesses a Love of Cars". Autoweek. 62 (14): 42–44. ISSN 0192-9674.
- Schmidt, Torsten (2014). "Harold Faltermeyer: Red Bull Music Academy lecture". Red Bull Music. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
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- bulion. "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". ARIA. Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
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- Danyel Smith, ed. (1980). "Billboard 30 August 1980". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
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- "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (B)". Rock.co.za. John Samson. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
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- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 432. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Canadian 1980 Top 100 Singles". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
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- "Italian single certifications – Blondie – Call Me" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved September 16, 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Call Me" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
- "British single certifications – Blondie – Call Me". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
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- Hal Horowitz. "Zoolander review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Pretty Little Liars – Did You Miss Me?". Tunefind. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Hollywood, Mon Amour review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Heroes". Warchild.org. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- "How to Be a Latin Lover - Original Soundtrack track list". Netaktion LLC. Retrieved June 13, 2021.