Hanging On The Telephone

Album: Parallel Lines (1978)
Charted: 5
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Songfacts®:

  • "Hanging On The Telephone" was released by Blondie in 1978 on their Parallel Lines album, but it was first recorded by a California rock band called The Nerves, who included it on their one and only EP in 1976. The song was written and sung by the band's guitarist, Jack Lee.

    The song wasn't a hit in America but did very well in the UK, where it reached #5 on the singles chart. Running to a mere 2 minutes 17 seconds, it's the opening song on the album.
  • In this song, Debbie Harry is keeping tabs on a guy, calling from a phone booth and waiting for him to answer. Like another song on the album, "One Way Or Another," it's an upbeat song about a stalker. "Don't leave me hanging on the telephone" could be a threat.
  • Jack Lee, who also wrote Paul Young's debut US hit "Come Back And Stay," recalled in a 2007 interview with Mojo magazine that he was facing financial ruin before he received the phone call that changed his fortunes. "I remember the day vividly," he recalled. "It was a Friday. They were going to cut off our electricity at six o'clock, the phone too."

    When Debbie Harry rang asking Lee if she could record this song, Lee readily agreed and the rest was history.
  • Lee regretted his own version was never a hit, but said he always knew it was a special song: "Even people who hated me – and there were plenty – had to admit it was great."
  • The song has subsequently been covered by many acts. These include UK girl band Girls Aloud and Def Leppard, who in 2006, both released covers of the song, on a limited edition bonus disc to The Sound of Girls Aloud and on Yeah! respectively.
  • Blondie had form for taking songs originally recorded by male singers and switching the genders to make them suitable for Debbie Harry. They also did it with "The Tide Is High" and "Denis."

Comments: 1

  • Steve from OttawaShort and high speed, very punkish in that way. Her stunning smile and "come hither" hand movements on the video are unforgettable.
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