There has not been one greater advancement in technology than with the telephone. To think not that long ago we were tethered to our homes with line lines and cords. Now we live footloose and fancy free with our new fangled cell phones that at times are smarter than we are. Lets take a look back at the crazy world of telephones through the awesome eyes of ’80s music. Of course there are many other songs that pay respect to the telephone gods but these are the songs that dot the soundtrack to my childhood.
Lionel Richie – Hello (1984)
A simple greeting that said so much. But there two things about the video that I need to point out. First, Lionel is playing a teacher who has the hots for a blind student that almost leads to stalker territory. That is a tad bit creepy, even for the ’80s. Second, am I the only person who gets a Alicia Masters vibe from the student Lionel is stalking? For those that don’t know Alicia Masters is a character from Marvel’s Fantastic Four that just so happens to be a sculptor. Watch out Lionel, her adoptive father may be the villainous Puppet Master.
Phil Collins – Don’t Lose My Number (1985)
I remember on TV there was a primetime special about Phil Collins’ 1985 hit album “No Jacket Required”. The special went over the creation process for the album with behind the scenes footage and it also showcased the great videos that Collins had made. (I also remember an Olivia Newton-John one too that had her swimming with dolphins, but more on that another week). 1985 was a landmark year for the ’80s and much of the pop culture iconic visuals that have survived until today splinter off of this year. The medium of music videos was starting to find its niche with videos like this that also double as mini-movies or TV shows. I’m a huge fan of Phil Collins and really who couldn’t be because he seems like a likable gent who didn’t take himself so seriously.
Call Me – Blondie (1980)
There was a time when Debbie Harry was everywhere (even a Tales from the Darkside episode), and for good reason.
Sheena Easton – Telefone (1983)
Sadly it is very hard to find the original video for Telefone (long distance love affair) online. It’s great too. Features the Universal Movie Monsters and is in black & white. Truly perfect, oh well. I went with one of Sheena’s appearances on Solid Gold as the go to for this one. Kinda a double shot of nostalgia.
Go West – Call Me (1985)
Didn’t really have any idea this song existed until it was included in my favorite game of all time Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Since than I have a soft spot in my heart for it.
Stevie Wonder – I Just Called To Say I Love You (1984)
First appearing on the soundtrack for the Gene Wilder movie “The Lady In Red”, I Just Called To Say I Love You harkened back to the pop music of the late ’70s, which was a sound that Wonder helped create. Was never a fan of the movie because it didn’t feel like the Gene Wilder that I grew up on, but it did propel Kelly LeBrock into the spotlight.
Steve Winwood – Valerie (1982)
Making a name for himself in the ’60s with bands such as Traffic and Blind Faith, Winwood found a tremendous amount of success in the ’80s. Originally recorded by Winwood for his third solo album, Talking Back to the Night, in 1982, this video version is from a 1987 remix that sounds a lot more fuller than the original.
Tommy Tutone – 867-5309 (1981)
Who can’t think of telephones and the ’80s with out thinking of this song. One of the worlds most infamous phone numbers has lead to a few urban myths about this song. Over the years it seems that the members of the band can’t even decide which story is the right one.
New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man (1984)
First formed in 1978 when most of the members were between the ages of 8 to 10, New Edition found great success in the early ’80s. Their success rekindled the “boy band” fad that began in the 1960s and can still be seen today. After the band folded in 1990 all of the members found continued success which began with Bobby Brown after he was kicked out of the band in 1985.