Saturday, April 19, 1980

Blondie hit #1 with “Call Me”

First posted 11/13/2019; last updated 3/7/2021.

Call Me

Blondie

Writer(s): Deborah Harry/Giorgio Moroder (see lyrics here)


Released: February 1, 1980


First Charted: February 16, 1980


Peak: 16 US, 17 CB, 16 HR, 16 RR, 11 UK, 16 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.25 UK, 1.4 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 82.5 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Composer and producer Giorgio Moroder, best known for his work with Donna Summer, initially approached Stevie Nicks about doing a song for the movie American Gigolo. Because of a restrictive contract she’d signed with Modern Records, Nicks had to turn him down. He turned to Blondie instead for the movie’s theme song. BB

Moroder gave Debbie Harry, the lead singer of Blondie, a rough instrumental called “Man Machine” and asked her to write the lyrics. WK She says the band jumped at the chance “to work with their hero…‘He was the king of disco…And we were still the anti-establishment invaders.’” RS After seeing a rough cut of the film, she went home BR1 and wrote lyrics in just a few hours from the perspective of a male prostitute – the main character of the film. WK

Moroder didn’t enjoy the experience, however. He said he was supposed to do an entire album with the band, but that he called the band’s manager and quit because the guitarist and keyboardist were fighting in the studio. SF Harry said “He’s very nice to work with…(but) I don’t think he has a lot of patience who fool around or don’t take what they do seriously…He’s a perfectionist…so I think that people who are…less concentrated bore him him quickly.” BR1

The song became the band’s second #1 in the U.S. after “Heart of Glass” and spent four weeks atop the dance chart. WK The song was Blondie’s fourth chart-topper in the UK and also hit #1 in Canada. Its six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart helped it to earn the distinction of the magazine’s top song of the year. In the UK, the song was also used for an ad for a British Telecom. BB


Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, April 5, 1980

50 years ago: Ted Lewis charts with “On the Sunny Side of the Street”

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Ted Lewis

Writer(s): Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields (see lyrics here)


First Charted: April 5, 1930


Peak: 2 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards (Ted Lewis):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Louis Armstrong):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This “cabaret and jazz standard” JA and “metaphor for optimism” TY was credited to composer Jimmy McHugh and lyricist Dorothy Fields although there have been claims that Fats Waller actually composed the song, but sold the rights. WK

In his book American Popular Song, author Alec Wilder calls the song “one of the jazz musicians’ favorites…Singers, as well, love it as much for its extremely fine lyric.” SB In The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards, Max Morath expresses a similar sentiment, saying the song “works both sides of the street, vocal and instrumental, with equal charm. Dorothy Field’s sassy lyrics (‘…leave your worries on your doorstep…’) invite singers to go for it.” MM

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” was introduced in 1930’s Lew Leslie’s International Revue, SB sung by Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence. WK The Broadway show flopped, closing after only 95 performances, but the song endured. SB Richman took it to #13. Ted Lewis also charted with it (#2) the same month the Broadway show debuted. SB

The song resurfaced on the charts in 1945 with versions by Tommy Dorsey with the Sentimentalists on vocals (#16) and Jo Stafford with the Pied Pipers (#17). Frankie Laine sang it in 1949’s Make Believe Ballroom, and was used in at least seven film thrugh the late ‘50s. TY Among the numerous artists to record the song are Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Sidney Bechet, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, the Coasters, Nat “King” Cole, Doris Day, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Gene Kelly, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Fats Waller.


Resources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Ted Lewis
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Dorothy Fields
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Jimmy McHugh
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 152.
  • MM Max Morath (2002). The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards. New York, NY; Penguin Putnam Inc. Page 178.
  • SB Songbook1.wordpress.com
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 56.
  • WK Wikipedia


First posted 4/5/2016; last updated 12/27/2021.