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This song is about a guy who gets into a fight with his girlfriend after they've been drinking. She leaves angry and drives home, and when he calls her the next day he gets her answering machine. When he calls back, he learns that Joanie crashed her car and died on the way home.
Evans was known for his novelty hits "Seven Little Girls (Sitting In The Back Seat)
" and "Happy-Go-Lucky Me
," which he recorded in 1959 and 1960. This song was starkly different, but it caught on in England and at US Country radio stations, providing Evans with his first hit in nearly 20 years. Says Evans: "I did a trick on the guitar, and I was writing to that trick. It's a way I play chords way up on the neck of the guitar. I couldn't write a lyric to it - my cowriter's the one that came up with the lyrics, and that was Fred Tobias. It was a death song, for sure." (Check out our interview with Paul Evans
This song was ahead of its time in using the answering machine as a lyrical device, as answering machines were still very rare in 1978. Over the years, the theme of leaving a message became very common in song lyrics.
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