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.[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.[5][6]

"Call Me"
Blondie - Call Me.png
Debbie Harry picture sleeve; US edition and some other releases uses white background, while most overseas releases use pink background
Single by Blondie
from the album American Gigolo
B-side"Call Me" (instrumental) (U.S.)
ReleasedFebruary 1, 1980
RecordedAugust 1979, New York City[1]
Genre
Length
  • 2:15 (music video version)
  • 3:32 (radio edit)
  • 8:05 (album version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Giorgio Moroder
Blondie singles chronology
"The Hardest Part"
(1980)
"Call Me"
(1980)
"Atomic"
(1980)
Music video
"Call Me" on YouTube
Alternative cover
Richard Gere picture sleeve, extracted and derived from the film poster of American Gigolo; also released worldwide, especially in the US
Richard Gere picture sleeve, extracted and derived from the film poster of American Gigolo; also released worldwide, especially in the US

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.[7] The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute.[8]

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."[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[11]

ReleaseEdit

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.

Music videoEdit

There were two videos made:

ChartsEdit

Sales and certificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[37] Platinum 150,000^
Italy (FIMI)[38] Gold 25,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Gold 400,000 
United States (RIAA)[40] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release historyEdit

1980 releaseEdit

US, UK 7" (CHS 2414)
  1. "Call Me (Theme from American Gigolo)" (7" edit) — 3:32
  2. "Call Me" (7" instrumental) — 3:27
UK 12" (CHS 12 2414)
  1. "Call Me" (7" edit) — 3:32
  2. "Call Me" (Spanish version – 7" edit) — 3:32
  3. "Call Me" (7" instrumental) — 3:27
US 12" (Polydor PRO 124) [promo only]
  1. "Call Me" (Theme from American Gigolo) — 8:04
  2. "Night Drive" (Reprise) - by Giorgio Moroder — 3:52
US 12" (Salsoul SG 341)
  1. "Call Me" (Spanish version, extended) — 6:23
  2. "Call Me" (Instrumental) — 6:10

1989 releaseEdit

UK 7" (CHS 3342-1)
  1. "Call Me" (Ben Liebrand Remix) — 7:09
  2. "Call Me" (Original Version) — 3:31
UK 12" (CHS 12 3342)
  1. "Call Me" (Ben Liebrand Remix) — 7:09
  2. "Backfired" (Bruce Forrest And Frank Heller Remix) — 6:03
  3. "Call Me" (Original Version) — 3:31
UK CD (CHSCD 3342)
  1. "Call Me" (Ben Liebrand Remix) — 7:09
  2. "Backfired" (Bruce Forrest And Frank Heller Remix) — 6:03
    • Performed by Debbie Harry
  3. "Call Me" (Original Version) — 3:31
  4. "Hanging on the Telephone" — 2:23

Notable cover versionsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Cathy Che (1999), 'Deborah Harry: Platinum Blonde', MPG Books Ltd, Cornwall, p.65
  2. ^ 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,""
  3. ^ Porter, Dick; Needs, Kris (February 13, 2017). Blondie: Parallel Lives. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857127808 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ 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."
  5. ^ a b Danyel Smith, ed. (1980). "Billboard 27 December 1980". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "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.
  7. ^ 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s, Episode 2, VH1
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Staff (2020). "Listen to Debbie Harry's incredible isolated vocal track on Blondie's hit 'Call Me'". Far Out. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b Schmidt, Torsten (2014). "Harold Faltermeyer: Red Bull Music Academy lecture". Red Bull Music. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  12. ^ American Gigolo (credits). Polydor Records. 1980. PD-1-6259.
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Chart 50th Anniversary". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 9, 1981). "The 1980 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Blondie – Call Me" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Blondie – Call Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  18. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 1st result of the 2nd page when searching "Blondie"
  20. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1980). "Billboard 30 August 1980". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  21. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1980). "Billboard 18 July 1980". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Blondie - Call Me" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Blondie – Call Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  24. ^ "Charts.nz – Blondie – Call Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Blondie – Call Me". VG-lista. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  26. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (B)". Rock.co.za. John Samson. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Blondie – Call Me". Singles Top 100. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Blondie – Call Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Blondie awards at AllMusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  31. ^ Steve Hawtin; et al. "Song title 63 - Call Me". Tsort.info. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Blondie – Call Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ "Canadian 1980 Top 100 Singles". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  35. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "UK Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  37. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Blondie – Call Me". Music Canada. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  38. ^ "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".
  39. ^ "British single certifications – Blondie – Call Me". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  40. ^ "American single certifications – Blondie – Call Me". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  41. ^ Hal Horowitz. "Zoolander review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  42. ^ "Pretty Little Liars – Did You Miss Me?". Tunefind. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  43. ^ "Hollywood, Mon Amour review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  44. ^ "Heroes". Warchild.org. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  45. ^ "How to Be a Latin Lover - Original Soundtrack track list". Netaktion LLC. Retrieved June 13, 2021.

External linksEdit