Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Telephone Songs

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you".

It was the 10th of March, 1876, when those first words were successfully spoken and transmitted via telephone. Alexander Bell called his assistant, Thomas Watson, with the very first phone call ever, with Thomas confirming he heard every word distinctly. Well, that's the story we all know, but there's always another claim to fame for these things, and elsewhere in America, Elisha Gray was working on the same idea, keeping it secret as a result of opposition by some for his working on the invention. In the end, there was a race to the patent office and Alexander Bell won, credited as the official inventor of a device that would arguably become one of the ten most important inventions ever.

Whoever truly invented it, I'll leave that up to the debaters, but one thing is for sure, we could never live without it. Our lives revolve around it through voice communication, short message service, internet access, or even if you want to turn your air conditioner on at home! Now that's what I call essential.

In relation to the music charts, the use of the telephone has really come full circle. Once an apparatus mentioned in song, now the telephone has a major part in deciding the charts with mobile phone ringtones now counted towards the weekly Singles chart. Furthermore, it seems many songs are produced for that market in particular, as the charts of late have featured catchy dance tunes worthy of a ringtone, rather than "real" songs with true heart and emotion, but that debate is perhaps for another time and place.

The music history is full of songs about the telephone, whether it be about calling someone, actual telephone numbers, acquiring (or losing) someone's number, or the apparatus itself, every aspect has been covered in some way. For the list below I've sifted through the Australian Top 100 charts since 1955 to see what I could come up with, and I'm sure there's still some hidden in there that I've missed.

My rules? Well, there's obvious songs that are titled accordingly, and others that allude to the phone through its' use, for example, "calling" someone. Others state a phone number, or the act of getting someone's number. And then there's the songs that have no mention of a phone in the title, but can be considered phone songs for sure. While there are many songs that mention the phone in its composition, I only selected songs that were significant through verse AND chorus, however even this rule was bent a little for certain songs.

Whatever the rules, I guess they're best explained as I go, so with just over 75 charting songs about the telephone since 1955, I'm able to present the Top 75 songs that will ring in your ears for the next few months as I count them down. Let me put you through...

Laser 103383
As the original Perfect Match girl, Debbie Newsome graced the cover of New Idea, TV Week and Woman's Day on a regular basis, but not many suspected that she had actually slipped into the Australian Top 100 for a couple of weeks five years prior. Joining another minor recording artist from the Laser label, Deborah Gray, Debbie was soon involved in an all girl cabaret act called Deborah Gray and the Flames before landing her gig as the Perfect Match hostess next to Greg Evans and Dexter the robot. In 2010, Debbie and Greg were reunited when she married her partner of 12 years, Mark Learmonth. Greg, now a professional marriage celebrant, took care of the proceedings, taking place on a sailing boat on Sydney Harbour. I guess if Dexter was on hand, there's now doubt he would have recorded a compatibility rating of 100!
27th August, 1979
Chart Run: 100, 100 (2 weeks)Points

74. CALL ME Spagna
from the album "Dedicated To The Moon".
CBS/Labelle 650279 7
It's a mantra that shapes much of this list. Those in need of a "call" on a telephone are well represented in song with the first of ten songs demanding you call them. Why? Well, in Spagna's case, she's just lonely and "losin' slumber", so d-d-d-do it please! The Italian singer continues our countdown with style, but a list based on the UK charts would have placed her much higher with "Call Me" peaking at #2, the highest the single reached anywhere in the world, kept from the top by Michael Jackson's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". This track was taken from Spagna's first album and did nothing in the way of making her a household name in Australia, but 25 years and 16 albums later, she has clocked up over 10 million sales of her singles and albums worldwide.
28th September, 1987
Chart Run: 98, 98 (2 weeks)Points

73. (WHEN YOU) CALL ME The Style Council
from the album "Home And Abroad".
Polydor 883 478-7
Paul Weller and Mick Talbot had driven The Style Council to much success in the UK with eight Top Ten singles from three successful albums, including a #1, Our Favourite Shop. Australia put that album in our own Top 5 after years of moderate hits, and even honoured them with a Top Ten hit. But just as things were getting better for the band, Paul's own interests in political campaigning against then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, starting taking precedence over The Style Council. Red Wedge was formed by Paul, Billy Bragg and Jimmy Somerville to engage young voters on the policies of the Labour Party with the hope that the Conservatives would be ousted from power. The movement was a failure, and The Style Council suffered, breaking up two years later.
11th November, 1985
Chart Run: 91, 94 (2 weeks)Points

72. CALL ME Tweet
from the album "Southern Hummingbird".
Elektra/Goldmind 7559673152
American R&B singer, Charlene Keys, toned things down a bit after her naughty debut single, "Ooops (Oh My)", touched on the art of self-love. An example of early Timbaland production, he returned to the helm for "Call Me", a moderate hit in the US and the UK, reaching #31 and #35 respectively. Inspired by some of the most successful divas ever, Janet Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, Tweet, as she is now known, seemingly appeared on every hip hop and R&B record released, helping artists such as Missy Elliott, Ja Rule, Monica, Mark Ronson and Angie Stone, with a special guest spot on Madonna's "American Life" remixes. As if singing wasn't enough, Tweet also found herself in the supporting cast for the 2003 film, Honey, starring Jessica Alba.
15th July, 2002
Chart Run: 89,---,---, 94 (2 weeks)Points

71. CALL ME BACK The Robertson Brothers
from the album "Here".
Transistor SCBK 654
Geoff, Ben and Stuart Robinson have had many a minor hit since their recording career began in 1992. They've managed to crack the Australian Top 50 a couple of times with "I Know Why" (#47, 1993) and "The Last Love Song" (#50, 1999). Despite this slight success, The Robertson Brothers are probably one of the most well-known trios in this country, but not by any chart measure. In 2000, the guys were selected to record an updated version of the Home And Away theme song, updating themselves again in 2004 where it lasted until 2006. "Call Me Back" is stacked with phone references predominantly about leaving a heap of messages met with no reply. It's hard to see, but is this the first single cover for the list featuring someone on the phone?
24th June, 2002
Chart Run: 89, 83 (2 weeks)Points

from the album "Galore".
Fiction 3984-20996-2
Taken from their second greatest hits album, "Wrong Number" unfortunately signals the end of The Cure's commerical success that had been apparent in the charts for a good decade. Their first and only #1 album, Wish, was four years in the past, and line up changes stalled any solid progress in the studio. The resulting Wild Mood Swings finally saw the light of day in 1996, but critics and fans alike were disappointed with album, selling a fraction of its predecessor. Nevertheless, Galore was a brilliant celebration of The Cure's commercial peak, collecting all singles released from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me onwards. "Wrong Number" saw The Cure basically as a duo as Robert Smith and Jason Cooper just kept the name alive, and features long-time David Bowie guitarist, Reeves Gabrels.
23rd November, 1997
Chart Run: 70, 76 (2 weeks)Points

69. DON'T CALL US, WE'LL CALL YOU Sugarloaf with Jerry Corbetta
from the album "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You".
Polydor 2001 584
Sugarloaf always had aspirations to be "sweet". Forming in 1970, the band was originally called Chocolate Hair but changed their name in honour of the city they received their first recording contract in, Boulder, Colorado. Sugarloaf is the name of a mountain just outside the city. The touch-tone telephone numbers heard at the beginning and end of the song are actual numbers, the former an unlisted number at CBS Records, who had turned the band down for a contract, the latter, a public number at the White House. Jerry Corbetta had become an important part of the band, so much so, he was granted his own credit with the band for this release. After Sugarloaf disbanded, he performed with Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, and then became a member of The Four Seasons in 1980.
8th September, 1975
Chart Run: 100, 97, 97 (3 weeks)Points

68. CALL ME Chris Montez
from the album "The More I See You".
Festival FK 1214
The third of six songs on this list titled "Call Me", Chris Montez took this track to #2 on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart, and #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it enjoyed its biggest success. Written by Tony Hatch, it was first recorded by Petula Clark, as most of his songs were, for her Call Me EP in 1965. The soft, subtle delivery offered by Chris in his high tenor voice confused many DJ's on American radio would mistook him for a her. Imagine the surprise they got when a full-length album, The More I See You, featured a picture of a very male Chris Montez. "Call Me", produced by Herb Alpert, was one of seven charting hits in Australia for Chris, this album's title track, "The More I See You" being the closest he ever got to a hit here when it peaked at #21 in 1966.
9th April, 1966
Chart Run: no data available (3 weeks in Top 100)Points

67. AREA CODES Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg
from the album "Word Of Mouf".
Def Jam 588772-2
We're covering everything in this list of telephone songs, including the area code which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011 after a 10-digit North American Numbering Plan enabled callers to dial long distance without the assistance of an operator. On the 10th of November, 1951, the mayor of Englewood, New Jersey, called the mayor of Alameda, California, in what would be the first direct-dialed telephone call. By 1960, the entire North American system was in place, and eventually the whole world was set up. Ludacris showed us just how vast the telephone system has become, rapping the area codes of all the "hoes" he has been with in different parts of America. In fact, Ludacris mentions no less than 43 area codes which means he has been a very busy boy!
19th November, 2001
Chart Run: 97, 99, 94 (3 weeks)Points

from the album "Bodyswerve".
Mushroom K 9538
As high profile a singer as Jimmy Barnes was with Cold Chisel, his solo career was a surprisingly slow burn. Sure, Bodyswerve was a #1 album, holding for two weeks at the end of 1984, but there was not a Top Ten single in sight. "No Second Prize" stands as one of Jimmy's finest moments but stalled at #12. "Promise Me You'll Call" followed up with a less than spectacular run at the wrong end of the Top 100 despite being quite a good little song. The video clip featured soaring cinematography of Jimmy at the top of a cliff, however, it was apparently a stand-in wearing Jimmy's jacket, which would account for the lack of close ups during those scenes. A third single, "Daylight" was another #12 hit, but it was 1985's Working Class Man that created a goldmine of hits from then on.
3rd December, 1984
Chart Run: 94, 86, 89 (3 weeks)Points

65. COMMUNICATION The Power Station
from the album "The Power Station".
Parlophone A 1621
There are many forms of communication, so such songs need a little more digging for their phone connections. Four songs called "Communication" charted in Australia all during the 80's. The Power Station offer us the first of two such songs to qualify for the telephone chart, the third single from the superbands' self-titled album. Robert Palmer mentions many forms of communication in this track, "airmail, cassettes, postcards, telex...", but urges his love to "don't hang up", "keep in touch" and "don't put me on hold". You get the idea. While The Power Stations' album was called The Power Station, the individual formats were named accordingly, The Power Station 33⅓ Vinyl Album, The Power Station CD and The Power Station XDR, the cassette version which has become quite rare.
16th December, 1985
Chart Run: 96, 95, 95, 95 (4 weeks)Points

from the album "Every Nite's A Saturday Night".
Arista AR 11365
Rolling Stone magazine called them the most unstable group ever, and with over 60 singers going through the ranks, who would disagree? In fact, those singers have gone on to form countless splinter groups, making the timeline for the group almost impossible to construct. Whether that "number" in this track was for a telephone or suggested the count of women in that little red book was a point of contention for this list, but one line qualified it, "I threw away the numbers of those old flames of mine". The Drifters are most associated with music from the early 60's, scoring a #1 hit with "Save The Last Dance For Me" in 1960, but disappeared from the charts in 1965. Generations of Drifters later, they scored two Top Ten hits in the 70's, but this would be their last Singles chart entry ever.
16th May, 1977
Chart Run: 99, 96, 92, 88, 88 (5 weeks)Points

from the album "Sugar Ray".
Atlantic/Lava 756785203-2
Sugar Ray's third album, 14:59, suggested their fifteen minutes of fame wasn't quite up. True. Consider the Sugar Ray album the final second with this, their second last Singles chart entry. The five piece band had been friends since school in the 80's and peaked in popularity in the late 90's when their breakthrough hit, "Fly", from the album, Floored, went to #1 on the US Billboard charts. Two further Top Tens came from 14:59, but ironically Sugar Ray was the band's highest peaking success, their only Top Ten album in the US despite just a moderate hit, "When It's Over". That fifteen minutes had a split second extra added in 2003 when their eighth Australian chart entry, "Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy)", from the album In The Pursuit Of Leisure, spent one week in the Top 100 at #85.
7th January, 2002
Chart Run: 93, 76, 68, 80, 90, 93 (6 weeks)Points

from the album "Falco 3".
A&M K 9963
A video compilation of this list may demonstrate the telephone references these songs carry better, with most artists featured actually on the phone. The video for Falco's entry into this list begins in a telephone booth of what appears to be quite a swank little hotel. It makes it a little easier to decipher this songs' qualification, completely sung in German bar a few English words. Those English words ask for the operator to come and accompany the lonely Falco, so this song would not be completely mysterious to the listener. "Vienna Calling" was the third of five #1's for Falco in his native Austria, with his first four albums going to #1. Australia wasn't so kind, placing his debut album at #97 for one week, and Falco 3, funnily enough his third album, at #100 also for one week.
21st July, 1986
Chart Run: 85, 75, 80, 85, 86 (5 weeks)Points

61. WHAT'S YOUR NAME, WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER The Andrea True Connection
from the album "White Witch".
Buddah 2011 306
This countdown features four entries doubled up as original and cover. This release by Andrea True, and the cover by Debbie Newsome which kicked off our countdown, were minor hits in Australia, and would almost certainly be forgotten about by now, so there's no spoiler here. However, if you're following this countdown down daily, there'll be spoiler alerts abound. Andrea True's music career started in Jamaica where the porn star was shooting real estate commercials in the country. It was during a time when political mayhem took over the island allowing no one to leave with any money. Andrea True put the cash to good use by asking a record producer friend of hers to record a single, totally funded with her doe. The result was "More, More, More", an international disco hit.
4th December, 1978
Chart Run: 81, 90, 80, 78, 78 (5 weeks)Points

from the album "8701".
LaFace/Arista 74321958442
Four of the five "U" tracks from Usher's 8701 album got a single release, this being the last of the quartet after three "U" Australian Top Tens. While the success of "U Don't Have To Call" was slight in Australia, it was the third of three US Billboard Top 3 hits from 8701, and Usher's sixth overall. It would also win him a Grammy for "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" at the 2003 ceremony. Usher had a new album in the can, All About U, slated for an October 2000 release, but availability of a few tracks on Napster caused its delay. Usher decided to pull the whole project after deeming the situation unfair to his fans, and not the way he wanted to be represented. He went back to the studio to start all over again with a handful of songs surviving to the new album, 8701.
9th September, 2002
Chart Run: 56, 64, 74, 80, 91, 97 (6 weeks)Points

59. TELEPHONE Glee Cast
Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment G010002019238U
The spoilers start here, and who better to drop the name of an upcoming entry in this list than the cast of Glee, who have broken all records for charting cover versions twenty times over. Lady Gaga almost got her own episode when the female members of New Directions, and gay member, Kurt, deliver a couple of Gaga tracks, outrageous costumes and all, for the "Theatrically" episode. "Telephone" gave Lady Gaga an encore performance during the first episode of Season 2 entitled, "Audition". When club co-captain, Rachel encounters foreign exchange student, Sunshine Corazon in the girls' bathroom, sparks fly with an impromptu duet performance of this hit. Filipino singer, Charice Pempengco, dubbed the "Most Talented Girl In The World" by Oprah Winfrey, injected that into her Glee character, Sunshine, causing Rachel to be overcome by a nasty jealous rage.
27th September, 2010
Chart Run: 45, 30, 72 (3 weeks)Points

58. BOOTIE CALL All Saints
from the album "All Saints".
London 570 247-2
Not all uses of the telephone are completely honourable. Yes, in song it's usually connected with someone you love, but sometimes we just need someone to love. The bootie call is for those times when a night out hasn't been so successful, and under the influence, we may revert back to those past loves for immediate pleasure. Not to smut the meaning of this All Saints' track, but it seems when the question of casual sex arises, the girls just say "bring it on, bring it on". It took a while for the members of All Saints to be granted a contract with most record companies wanting another Spice Girls of their own, but the girls proved they could do it all without the exaggerated personalities and outrageous get up when "Bootie Call" became their third UK #1 hit single in a row.
1st February, 1999
Chart Run: 84, 62, 59, 66, 72, 78,---,---, 98 (7 weeks)Points

from the album "Prolonging The Magic".
Capricorn 566 527-2
The rate of long distance relationships no doubt soared with the introduction of the telephone, and a couple of songs in this list touch on the subject. It's hard to box Cake's musical style. Usually considered "alternative", the band mixes rap, jazz, funk, ska, pop and country into their music, with this song another Cake release that blurs the lines of all those genres. The song begins with the famous disconnected tone and features a video set in a western-style saloon. Singer, John McCrea, does his best Edward Norton impersonation playing a trucker who travels the country trying to get in touch with his loved one via pay phone. Cake had a chance for a double entry in this list releasing "No Phone" in 2004. It hit #13 on the US Alternative chart, but made no impact here.
12th October, 1998
Chart Run: 80, 82, 78, 92, 75, 78, 76, 90 (8 weeks)Points

56. CALL ME Johnny Mathis
from the album "More Johnny's Greatest Hits".
Coronet KS 282
The meaning of the word "call" was critical for this list of telephone songs, as many use the word in the title as a reference to calling someone from across the room, or the street, or just calling out in general. My rule of thumb was a "calling" song had to have a direct reference to the telephone. Johnny Mathis' "Call Me" had me tossing and turning in my sleep. There's no direct telephone reference here, but the line "just call and say you need me, and darling, I'll fly to you" suggested the call was from afar rather than across the room, and that some sort of telephone device was in use. The line was too fine to draw, and so Johnny made the cut. 1959's More Johnny's Greatest Hits was a quick follow-up to the previous year's Johnny's Greatest Hits, the first greatest hits album in music history.
14th February, 1959
Chart Run: no data available (8 weeks in Top 100)Points

55. LONESOME 7-7203 Hawkshaw Hawkins
W&G WG-S-1644
American Country singer, Hawkshaw Hawkins suffered a double tragedy around "Lonesome 7-7203", first in song, and then in his own life. This track centres around the heartbreak Hawkshaw gets when he receives countless calls on his phone for his ex on her old number. The memories he just can't bear, so he changes his number and tells just one person, his old flame, presumably the only one to hear this song with its title as the new number. A few more than that ex were listening in as "Lonesome 7-7203" hit #1 on the US Country charts, but unfortunately Hawkshaw wasn't around to enjoy the success. It would be exactly two months earlier when the famous plane crash that killed Patsy Cline also took the lives of two more Grand Ole Opry members, Hawkshaw and Cowboy Copas, as well as the pilot who was Patsy's manager and Copas' son-in-law.
10th August, 1963
Chart Run: no data available (10 weeks in Top 100)Points

54. RING MY BELL DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
from the album "Homebase".
Jive 124142023-2
As the fourth "Ring My Bell" to enter the Australian charts, something told me to check this one out. Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell", later covered by Australian singer, Collette, suggested the bell was a doorbell, however with the subject already home, that bell could be a little naughtier than first thought. More straight forward is the 1991 release by Monie Love and Adeva. With fighting lyrics, the bell here is from a boxing ring, the film clip confirming that, as did a "vs." placed between their names. There was still some Fresh Prince Of Bell Air money left in the fund for a fourth album for DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, a comeback of sorts. For "Ring My Bell", they sampled Anita Ward's 1979 hit and turned it into a telephone hit, winning them a Grammy for "Best Dance Single".
12th January, 1992
Chart Run: 80, 67, 61, 60, 69, 58, 67, 68, 72, 85 (10 weeks)Points

53. 911 IS A JOKE Public Enemy
from the album "Fear Of A Black Planet".
CBS/Def Jam 655837 7
It may be the most famous phone number in the world. The idea for a single emergency number in the US came in 1957 when the National Association of Fire Chiefs suggested it to report fire emergencies. A decade later, it was decided by the Federal Communications Commission that 9-1-1 would be used to report all emergencies in America. Public Enemy's first American Top 40 hit is the only mainstream hit to contain the famous three digit number, but those three digits didn't do them much justice twenty years later. The Washington Post ran a story on the group in 2009 discussing the groups' visit to a centre for homeless and displaced youth. Seems 9-1-1 was too close to 9/11, and was printed as such, causing the reference "9/11 Is A Joke" to be a little controversial.
27th May, 1990
Chart Run: 73, 73, 64, 78, 76, 79, 75, 74, 84, 90 (10 weeks)Points

52. WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER? Cypress Hill
from the album "Till Death Do Us Part".
Columbia/Sony 674636.2
Completing a triple treat of hip hop telephone hits, Cypress Hill's "What's Your Number?" finally gives us our first image of a telephone on a single cover. Featuring Tim Armstrong from Rancid, this track also features a re-recorded bassline from The Clash's "The Guns Of Brixton", a band that was an inspiration for Tim to form his first band with fellow Rancid member, Matt Freeman. For Cypress Hill, the band's singles success never really matched the success of their albums. Throughout their 20 year career, the group has never enjoyed a Top Ten hit in the major charts anywhere except New Zealand where "What's You Number?" became their fourth Top Ten. However, the UK charts still gave them impressive stats with Cypress Hill enjoying five Top 20 hits in the country.
29th March, 2004
Chart Run: 58, 56, 64, 69, 72, 69, 73, 80, 88, 94, 95 (11 weeks)Points

51. AS SOON AS I HANG UP THE PHONE Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
from the album "Country Partners".
MCA MCA 1397
The recording partnership of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn extended what were already impressive Country music careers. As solo artists, the pair released over 100 albums combined, Loretta enjoying eleven #1 Country singles in the US from almost 40 albums, and Conway's 60 albums giving him an amazing 35 Country #1's. Country Partners was their fourth outing as a duo, a union that lasted over two decades and 13 albums. "As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone", a rare breed of duet sung by Loretta and spoken by Conway, was the fourth of five straight Country #1's for the pair, taking their tally to over 50 #1's combined. No wonder Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty would win the Country Music Association's "Vocal Duo Of The Year" award four years running.
28th October, 1974
Chart Run: 89, 86, 71, 63, 63, 57, 57, 77, 82, 86, 95 (11 weeks)Points

from the album "Music For Men".
Columbia 88697628452
Gossip's Beth Ditto knows it all too well. "Love Long Distance" was inspired by her own experience when touring keeps you away from your relationship for six months at a time. It's a tough decision, career vs. personal life, but the world was calling for the three piece band after their breakthrough album, Music For Men, sold over one million copies. In many ways, Gossip is Scissor Sisters Mark II. The band is a strong advocate for gay rights with a large fan base from that sector. But what is even more intriguing is that both bands from the US remain relatively unnoticed in their home country, the UK and Australia putting them on the map. Even after re-newed interest for Gossip, Music For Men could only manage a peak of #164 on the US Billboard Albums chart.
16th November, 2009
Chart Run: 73, 50, 64, 78, 69, 76, 76,---,---,---,---,---,---,---,---, 57, 49, 77 (10 weeks)Points

from the album "Best Kept Secret".
EMI EMI 1098
In spirit the of X Factor and Idol, Sheena Easton's popularity had taken a similar course 25 years earlier. As the subject of an episode of the British TV series, The Big Time, Sheena's attempts to gain a record contract were screened to the potential record buying audience who certainly came to the party when Sheena's debut album was released. "Modern Girl" and "9 To 5 (Morning Train)" charted hand in hand, the latter topping the US and Australian Singles charts. A James Bond theme kept the momentum going, but Sheena's second and third albums bombed all over. Her fourth album, Best Kept Secret, didn't do too much to regain that ground, however, "Telefone" did reach the US Billboard Top Ten, as did three more singles during the 80's. Strangely, her UK success remained elusive.
31st October, 1983
Chart Run: 100, 83, 62, 62, 54, 58, 58, 71, 71, 71, 71, 95 (12 weeks)Points

48. CALLING AMERICA Electric Light Orchestra
from the album "Balance Of Power".
Jet ES 1115
Thirteen years and 20 charting singles saw Electric Light Orchestra come to the end of a very successful career with "Calling America". After eleven albums, a soundtrack album, and a #1 Greatest Hits package, it was time to rest the band which had diminished down to just a trio by the time Balance Of Power was released. There was also the stark realisation that ELO's popularity had declined during the 80's, this album only managing a #49 placing compared to the three #1's they enjoyed at their peak. The upbeat composition of "Calling America" hid the dark lyric concerning dishonest love, the subject trying to call through but met with static at the other end. Electric Light Orchestra did have one last coda, 2001's "Zoom", an album that was more Jeff Lynne solo than an ELO album.
17th March, 1986
Chart Run: 88, 81, 55, 47, 49, 47, 48, 49, 55, 65, 72 (11 weeks)Points

from the album "Something Wicked This Way Comes".
MGM AR00600
After the instant success of Madison Avenue, "I've Got Your Number" was as good as it got for the groups' vocalist, Cheyne Coates. Cheyne and Madison Avenue DJ/producer, Andy Van starting working together in 1998, but Cheyne was actually part of the production side of things rather than out front. A rough demo of their breakthrough hit, "Don't Call Me Baby", sung by Cheyne as a guide for initial vocalist, Kellie Wolfgram, became the preferred version by Andy, and soon Cheyne had a new role. She helped steer Madison Avenue to four straight Top Ten hits in Australia, but a couple of years had passed by since that success, too long in this cut throat world of the single charts. Cheyne's single debut bombed as a result, and the album and follow-up single, "Taste You", failed to chart.
26th April, 2004
Chart Run: 26, 28, 68, 63, 90,---, 97 (6 weeks)Points

46. CHANTILLY LACE Jerry Lee Lewis
from the album "The 'Killer' Rocks On".
Mercury 6052 141
Without a hit for many years, keyboard tinkering wild boy, Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded this cover of the Big Bopper telephone hit, the reference we'll talk about later. After a nine year absence from the UK charts, "Chantilly Lace" reached #33 to become his final entry. The US saw many a minor hit come and go, but this track coupled with another cover, "Me And Bobby McGee", was his first Billboard Top 40 hit since 1961's "What'd I Say". Here in Australia, Jerry reached #11 with his first two hits, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls Of Fire", but another string of minor hits followed, this release giving him his first Top 50 hit since the 50's. The US Country charts became Jerry's saviour, "Chantilly Lace" his sixth and final #1 from 60 entries in that chart.
17th April, 1972
Chart Run: no data available (13 weeks in Top 100)Points

from the album "Songs In A Minor".
J Records 74321951752
Alicia Keys provides as with yet another cover, but you won't find any spoiler here. Originally released as "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?", the "U" might give away the original artist. It was Prince who offered the original version, recorded as the B-side to his 1982 hit, "1999". The track has enjoyed a slow build of popularity over the years, included on a Prince album for the first time in 1993 as part of his The Hits/The B-Sides collection. It was later included on the soundtrack for Spike Lee's 1996 film, Girl 6, and also Prince's own 2002 live box set, One Nite Alone...Live! Alicia gave it a deserved single release from her Grammy award winning album, Songs In A Minor, reaching #29 in Australia. Only the Hungarian charts bettered that success where it peaked at #4.
8th July, 2002
Chart Run: 29, 34, 37, 43, 57, 67, 77, 86, 91 (9 weeks)Points

44. VIDEO PHONE Beyoncé
from the album "I Am...Sacha Fierce".
Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment US-SM1-08-04757
Beyoncé and Lady Gaga controlled the charts of 2009, both helping each other out with the telephone and Quentin Tarantino as common denominators. Beyoncé's "Video Phone" and Lady Gaga's "Telephone" debuted onto the Australian charts during the same week, as did the remix version of "Video Phone". "Telephone" and the "Video Phone" remix were unique in that they featured both artists in supporting roles that took on the persona of the main artist. Beyoncé upped the anti on attitude by appearing in the Tarantino inspired "Telephone" film clip, while she took her own inspiration from the director at the beginning of "Video Phone", paying homage to his film, Reservoir Dogs. The clip continues with Lady Gaga doing her best Beyoncé, earning her the on set nickname, Gee-yoncé.
30th November, 2009
Chart Run: 89, 98, 100, 87, 84, 66, 98 (7 weeks)
Remix featuring Lady Gaga: 40, 31, 36, 62, 83 (5 weeks)

Ampar MK 119
Teen stars are nothing new in the pop charts of today. Paul Anka is one of the originals, just sixteen years of age when he debuted with "Diana", a #1 hit in Australia. Before he was 20, Paul boasted 20 chart entries including a further two Top Ten hits, "(All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings" (1959, #8) and "Lonely Boy" (1959, #3). "Kissin' On The Phone" was his first Australian chart entry as a 20 year old but it's performance was hindered by the emerging British Invasion, conditioning the rest of his 60's career to moderate hits. By the mid-60's Paul entered the Las Vegas circuit, an adult contemporary performer at the age of 25! Paul got a chance to make up some lost ground with a comeback in the 70's. 1974's "(You're) Having My Baby" just missed out on giving Paul his second #1, stalling at #2, but it was still more than most could achieve during a highly evolving decade.
16th September, 1961
Chart Run: no data available (11 weeks in Top 100)Points

from the album "Where Do They Go?".
CBS BA 223001
Mi-Sex had it all during 1979 and 1980, but a failed third album looked to be the end of the bands' success. Shanghaied missed the Top 20 success their first two albums enjoyed, and the bands' first line-up change came shortly after its release when their original drummer was replaced. Further changes came over the next two years and somehow Mi-Sex had expanded to a six piece band. Exactly two years after Shanghaied, Mi-Sex finally released their fourth album. Where Do They Go? featured two singles released over a year earlier, including "Down The Line". Even after five charting singles from the album, the last, "Blue Day" offering a glimmer of hope when it reached #24, Where Do They Go? made it to a dismal #80 and Mi-Sex disbanded less than a year later.
6th December, 1982
Chart Run: 75, 61, 57, 47, 47, 47, 39, 37, 43, 41, 60, 55, 73, 86 (14 weeks)Points

41. BUG-A-BOO Destiny's Child
from the album "The Writing's On The Wall".
Columbia/Sony 668299.2
"Bug-a-boo" is a colloquial term for someone who is a bother through excessive attachment or prying behaviour. This bug-a-boo preyed on Destiny's Child over the phone, allowing for Beyonce Knowlés' second entry in this list (with at least one more to come). Released in the US as the second single from The Writing's On The Wall, it would be the last single to feature the original Destiny's Child "in tact" before LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson where controversially booted out. In Australia, that controversy had already passed with "Say My Name", "Bug-A-Boo" making a late appearance in our charts riding on their #1 success. After nearly a decade in the charts, "Bug-A-Boo" remains the lowest charting single of Destiny's Child's career in both the US and Australia.
25th September, 2000
Chart Run: 26, 33, 38, 43, 49, 56, 58, 70, 80, 99 (10 weeks)Points

from the album "Tragic Kingdom".
Trauma/Interscope IND 95510
The spiderwebs have caught Gwen Stefani, but it's not a spider spinning the trap. No Doubt followed up their Top Ten breakthrough of "Just A Girl" with this song about a girls' frustration after receiving too many calls from a guy. It's a dilemma that causes her to screen her calls. The songs' chorus, "Sorry I'm not home right now, I'm walking into spiderwebs, so leave a message, and I'll call you back", became a popular song on answering machines all over the world. The original video clip for "Spiderwebs" had the band performing around exploding telephones, but MTV thought the scenes inappropriate for its young audience, replacing the scenes with Gwen tangled in telephone cords and covered in spiderwebs generated from string sprayed from aerosol cans.
22nd September, 1996
Chart Run: 71, 64, 49, 50, 50, 46, 59, 54, 54, 67, 76, 78, 83, 76, 76, 76, 82, 72 (18 weeks)Points

from the album "Parallel Lines".
Chrysalis K 7560
Blondie had a knack of covering songs to make them their own. "The Tide Is High", "Denis" and "I'm Gonna Love You Too" all featured the Blondie touch that made you forget the songs had been done before. "Hanging On The Telephone" originally featured on an EP by short-lived US pop trio, The Nerves. Written by the bands' guitarist, Jack Lee, a phone call from Debbie Harry turned his life around in the face of financial ruin. A request to record the song ensured Jack was able to make ends meet, and then some, when the track hit the UK Top 5 in 1978. Since then, "Hanging On The Telephone" has been covered by numerous artists, most prominently included on the bonus disc of Girls Aloud's The Sounds Of Girls Aloud, and Def Leppard's cover album, Yeah!.
16th July, 1979
Chart Run: 100, 67, 55, 51, 49, 49, 39, 39, 43, 42, 50, 50, 60, 72, 90 (15 weeks)Points

38. TELEPHONE MAN Meri Wilson
Janus/GRT GRT 127
What is a chore to most of us is a pleasure to American singer, Meri Wilson. After securing her apartment on Monday, moving in on Tuesday, it was time to get the phone connected, which meant a visit from the "Telephone Man". The suggestive and quirky lyrics from Meri Wilson made this a favourite on the Dr. Demento radio show which specialized in comedy, novelty and unusual recordings. By the songs' end, it's still unclear whether Meri actually got her phone installed, the song ending with Meri getting "it" in the bedroom, the bathroom and in the hall. After the song sold one million copies in the US, Meri recorded other novelty hits such as "Dick The DJ" and "Peter The Meter Reader", but nothing came close to a chart entry anywhere. Just as the phone has progressed, so did Meri, recording the updated "Internet Man" a year before she tragically died in a car accident.
22nd August, 1977
Chart Run: 92, 80, 67, 67, 64, 53, 52, 52, 52, 50, 42, 53, 55, 52, 65, 72, 76
Re-entry (12th June, 1978): 96, 96 (19 weeks)

37. WICHITA LINEMAN King Harvest
RCA Victor 101911
Australia's King Harvest was certainly a harvest of musicians. Forming in 1970, their line-up boasted some eight members expanding with the addition of another nine members a year later. Who's knows what part of that collective were actually officially part of King Harvest by the time their first chart success came along. "Wichita Lineman" was originally a hit for Glen Campbell in 1968, so we'll be hearing more from the lonely worker ahead. It's unclear whether the Wichita lineman looks after telephone or electric power lines, but there are direct hints to the telephone with the phrase "singing in the wire", indicating the interference heard as a "whine" in the background during a phone conversation. King Harvest's version was their only major chart success, but a minor hit came a few months later with their cover of The Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash" (1971, #93).
22nd February, 1971
Chart Run: (GoSet charts) 48, 40, 35, 45, 37, 38, 41, 45 (13 weeks in Top 100)Points

from the album "Rocket".
Ergo/Columbia 663307 2
The Cable Guy may not have advanced Jim Carrey's career too much, but American band, Primitive Radio Gods, scored themselves a US Billboard Modern Rock Track #1 with this release from their debut album, Rocket. It was an unlikely hit, and one that may have never seen the light of day had frontman Chris O'Connor not rediscovered a box of old demo tapes produced over the previous few years. It was an act of desperation that prompted him to ship them off to anyone who would listen, eventually sealing a Columbia Records deal. While similar in title to a Bruce Cockburn 1978 release, "Standing..." is an original track heavily sampling B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get?".
11th August, 1996
Chart Run: 98, 65, 51, 45, 35, 32, 31, 42, 45, 53, 67, 65, 86, 100 (14 weeks)Points

35. OPERATOR The Manhattan Transfer
from the album "The Manhattan Transfer".
Atlantic 45-3292
Just when you thought we were passed all the minor hits for this list, American vocal group, The Manhattan Transfer, are put through to #35 with "Operator", despite reaching a paltry #60 in the Australian Singles chart. The groups' breakthrough single spent an amazing 25 weeks in the lower region of the charts, surpassing the success of many singles that have made the Top 30. The Manhattan Transfer formed in 1969, but two of the core members, Gene Pastilli and Tim Hauser had very different ideas about the groups direction. Tim's ideas of a jazz and swing style won over to a second incarnation with three new singers, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel and Laurel Massé. "Operator" was released in the US mid-1975, its success helped along by an hour-long television variety series on CBS.
15th December, 1975
Chart Run: 95, 75, 75,---,---, 88, 75, 71, 72, 74, 68, 68, 62, 60, 67, 76, 89, 90, 94
Re-entry (3rd October, 1977): 96, 80, 82, 67, 67, 75, 67, 78 (25 weeks)

34. THE CALL Backstreet Boys
from the album "Black & Blue".
Jive 9251702
"The Call" is the one to your girlfriend to say you'll be home late when another girl is on stand-by. Very convenient, but not so when the girl you're with and the girl at home are quite good friends. Ouch! Seems the video for "The Call" reveals the guy is being set up by his girlfriend to test his fidelity. Backstreet Boys were unfortunate in securing an Australian #1 album, Black & Blue their third album in a row to peak at #2. It was all downhill from there, and "The Call" was also looking to become their final Top 20 entry in the charts. Four years later, and Backstreet Boys were back in the charts with Never Gone. Lead by the single, "Incomplete", the building anticipation had gathered to finally break that #1 barrier when the single debuted at the top of the charts in 2005.
12th February, 2001
Chart Run: 19, 26, 28, 43, 48, 56, 66, 70, 59, 67, 72, 89 (12 weeks)Points

33. STAR 69 Fatboy Slim
from the album "Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars".
Skint 671063.5
Fatboy Slim's rant from his third studio album probably has the least to do with telephones out of all songs featured here, but the title is certainly telephone related. Also known as "Last-call return", the *69 service in America and Canada allows a called party to find out the time and telephone number of the last received call, also giving the option to call that number back (check out American Beauty for the process in action). The service is available in many countries, and generally known by the number applied to those countries. In Australia, the number is *10#, however Optus has taken on the *69 number. The service in Australia allows only unanswered calls to be traced back in this way at a cost. *69 in song has also been recorded by R.E.M., Christine Lavin and Lifetime.
21st May, 2001
Chart Run: 23, 27, 33, 29, 41, 37, 38, 48, 48, 52, 56, 58, 67, 68, 85, 93, 94, 99 (18 weeks)Points

from the album "Pretzel Logic".
Probe PRO 10486
Steely Dan's most successful single is also one that raises much mystery. Who is Rikki? Some thought it was about Eric Clapton, or maybe Ricki Lee Jones who was enjoying her own success at the time. More believable was its association with Rick Derringer, a member of 60's group, The McCoys, who bumped into Steely Dan's Donald Fagan during a recording session. Apparently a number was exchanged, which is thought to be at least the origin of the title. A 2006 interveiw shed more light on the mysterious Rikki, turning out to be an old college buddy of Donald's, Rikki Ducornet, who was attending Bard College, pregnant and married. It's not known if the actual number exchange occurred, but this seems to be the most popular explanation of the song.
17th June, 1974
Chart Run: 90, 79, 69, 58, 52, 44, 41, 38, 30, 33, 34, 34, 35, 35, 40, 45, 51, 80, 89 (19 weeks)Points

31. COMMUNICATION Spandau Ballet
from the album "True".
Chrysalis K 9021
Spandau Ballet's signature songs, "True" and "Gold", both Top Ten hits, made the album, True, their biggest success, reaching #4 in Australia and spending just over a year in the Top 100. What is surprise it is that these songs were actually the third and fourth releases from the album. After the first single, "Lifeline", "Communication" broke Spandau Ballet's run of minor hits that followed their Top 20 debut, "To Cut A Long Story Short". As the second "Communication" single to hit the charts, it again tackled the broad subject, with the a stack of phone references kicking in during the third verse. The video clip made up for the lack of phone references lyrically, as lead singer, Tony Hadley, plays a private eye who is constantly using the handset through the video's introduction.
23rd May, 1983
Chart Run: 96, 80, 51, 41, 45, 37, 26, 25, 30, 24, 33, 36, 41, 56, 53, 78 (16 weeks)Points

30. REQUEST + LINE Black Eyed Peas featuring Macy Gray
from the album "Bridging The Gap".
Interscope 4974792
It's hard to think there was a time that The Black Eyed Peas were actually a group struggling for success. They debuted in 1998 with Behind The Front, but there was little success to be had bar a featured spot on the Bullworth soundtrack with "Joints & Jams". Adding Macy Gray was not a revelation for this release, their first charting hit. Macy had already featured on that debut album, but her own success was off the chart by the time The Black Eyed Peas were ready for their next album. The request line itself is a bit of a myth these days. Back in the day, it was not uncommon to have listeners call up for requests granted with your name read out, but with schedules so tight with carefully constructed playlists for advertising purposes, the request line is now for competitions and talk shows.
26th February, 2001
Chart Run: 48, 40, 32, 31, 23, 21, 22, 26, 28, 37, 48, 65, 75, 91 (14 weeks)Points

29. GET YOUR NUMBER Mariah Carey
from the album "The Emancipation Of Mimi".
Universal Music Australia 9887194
Mariah Carey's fairytale comeback that was The Emancipation Of Mimi kept rolling out the hits, "Get Your Number" the fifth of six Top 50 tracks from the album. Built around a sample from Imagination's 1982 hit, "Just An Illusion", the single was coupled with "Shake It Off" as a double A-side in most countries. Australia was one of the only countries to have its own release for "Get Your Number", "Shake It Off" previously hitting our Top Ten at #6 in 2005. "Get Your Number" started off as an unfinished instrumental track by producer, Jermaine Dupri. Usually a rapper on tape, he had attempted to sing on the track which got the attention of Mariah. A proper demo was finished with Mariah singing the chorus, but decided to turn it around and take control of the song for her own album.
6th March, 2006
Chart Run: 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 25, 35, 33, 38, 44, 56, 63, 76, 96,---,---, 99,---, 93 (16 weeks)Points

28. HOT LINE The Sylvers
from the album "Something Special".
Capitol CP 11299
A hotline is a point-to-point telephone link in which a call is directly linked to a predetermined destination without the user having to dial the number. All the user needs to do is pick up the handset. It has provided many a joke for crime spoof television shows and movies, but there are, in fact, notable uses in real life. During the Cold War, such a service was linked between the White House and the Kremlin in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Known as "the red telephone", it's probably the most famous use, but countries such as India, China and Pakistan have also had notable hotlines. As for The Sylvers, I'm sure their use of the hotline would have been frowned upon in the face of impending worldwide terror. They were simple "calling on the hot line, for your love".
29th November, 1976
Chart Run: 93, 96, 96, 88, 73, 70, 67, 64, 70, 58, 48, 46, 36, 28, 28, 26, 29, 30, 33, 35,
38, 42, 51, 68, 80, 83, 93 (27 weeks)

27. 867-5309/JENNY Tommy Tutone
from the album "Tommy Tutone 2".
CBS BA 222921
Tommy Tutone is actually the name of a band rather than single performing, the name derived from its original Tommy & the Two-Tones. In 1982, the band caused a headache for anyone named Jenny, and anyone who actually had the phone number, 867-5309. The false number in television and movie land would usually begin with 555, a number that doesn't actually exist in the real world, but the band thought the use of this number would take away from the reality of the single. It made it all the more intriguing to have a real number, but it also quickly became an extinct number as many owners who were unfortunate to possess it requested for it to be changed. For many years, the band told of a real Jenny, and number, however the song has since been found to be totally fictional.
17th May, 1982
Chart Run: 70, 50, 43, 34, 32, 29, 33, 29, 22, 24, 24, 26, 28, 42, 50, 63 (16 weeks)Points

from the album "Another Night".
Arista 07822-12877-2
It took five years for MC Sar & The Real McCoy to break into the charts. The German group's success had been confined to their home country and surrounding France, Austria and Switzerland. Lead by rapper/producer, Olaf "O-Jay" Jeglitza, MC Sar & The Real McCoy hit #16 in Germany with their cover of Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam" in 1989. Just goes to show how slow we are in Australia with the European dance scene, as we hadn't even gotten word of Technotronic's version at the time. And still by the mid-90's, we were lagging as it wasn't until 1995 that they entered the Australian charts with "Another Night", the original released in Europe back in 1993. "Automatic Lover" was also a re-release from 1994, and ended the year as the fifth single from Another Night.
10th December, 1995
Chart Run: 91, 59, 54, 54, 54, 35, 28, 31, 28, 23, 18, 26, 22, 28, 44, 51, 59, 70, 75, 99 (20 weeks)Points

25. CHANTILLY LACE The Big Bopper
from the album "Chantilly Lace".
Mercury 45249
The second appearance from "Chantilly Lace" in the telephone list has absolutely nothing to do with the telephone lyrically. But it's delivery of verses as a phone conversation makes it undeniably a telephone song. The Big Bopper brilliantly portrays the desperate man looking to break into a date with his sweetheart over the phone, so delivery so perfect that's there's no need for us to hear the other side of the conversation. "Chantilly Lace" would become The Big Bopper's only Top 20 hit in Australia before his life was tragically cut short when he died in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. "Chantilly Lace" was still charting at the time. Just for the record, chantilly lace is very real, and upon needing some for a scavenger hunt one year, found out that it is very expensive!
13th September, 1958
Chart Run: (Kent Charts) 19, 19, 18 (22 weeks in Top 100)Points

24. CALLING ELVIS Dire Straits
from the album "On Every Street".
Vertigo 868 756-7
The anticipation for new material from Dire Straits was so great that this 6½ minute opus made for an unlikely Australian Top Ten hit almost immediately. 1985's Brothers In Arms became the second biggest selling album of the 80's in Australia behind John Farnham's Whispering Jack. So what happened that we had to wait over six years for a follow-up? Dire Straits broke-up, that's what. The gruelling tour schedule and a need for various members to pursue solo projects seemingly put an end to one of the biggest bands in the world. It seems the Dire Straits was way too big to keep down, and the band was resurrected early 1991 to record what would be their final album, this time for good. First single, "Calling Elvis" tells of a fan of "The King" who believes he is still alive.
1st September, 1991
Chart Run: 13, 8, 12, 16, 21, 28, 34, 44, 56, 72, 87, 86 (12 weeks)Points

23. KISS ME THRU THE PHONE Soulja Boy Tell'em featuring Sammie
from the album "iSouljaBoyTellen".
Interscope/Universal Music Australia US-WD1-09-35875
I had to eat my words when Soulja Boy Tell'em released something that I could actually listen to. After "Crank That" and "Yahhh!" became hits, much to my amazement and disappointment, many of us could only wish that he would remain a "one hit wonder". "Kiss Me Thru The Phone" returned Soulja Boy, real name DeAndre Cortez Way, to the charts with the help of RnB child star Sammie, who hit the US charts in 1999 at the age of 12. Chris Brown was first choice for featured vocals, but upon turning down the job, Soulja Boy gave it a shot himself using autotune. It wasn't what he had hoped and employed Sammie instead. Just like Jenny's 867-5309, the number in this track, 6899-98212 is a real number belonging to an English couple in Lancashire who received many calls.
30th March, 2009
Chart Run: 74, 47, 42, 36, 29, 27, 23, 16, 17, 17, 24, 26, 27, 32, 50, 49, 50, 39, 53, 64,
86, 94 (22 weeks)

from the album "No Jacket Required".
WEA 7-259001
Perhaps Australia is a sucker for names in titles, but for some reason, the Australian release of "Don't You My Number" came with an added "Billy". I guess we should be happy to get such specialized treatment. Phil's comic abilities really kicked in for "Don't Lose My Number", the video clip allowing him to parody other popular video clips at the time. It was kind of a video clip in reality as Phil didn't really know what angle he was going to take. As it turned out, that was exactly the angle he took, using the theme selection for the video clip as the them itself. As he talks to various directors, Phil receives bad suggestions that have him copying big stars such as Michael Jackson, David Lee Roth and Elton John, and using themes similar to Mad Max 2 and various samurai movies.
15th July, 1985
Chart Run: 61, 46, 29, 13, 10, 10, 10, 16, 21, 25, 37, 56, 59, 67, 83, 86 (16 weeks)Points

21. CALL ME Go West
from the album "Go West".
Chrysalis K 9676
With Go West's debut single, "We Close Our Eyes", it was all about Peter Cox's good looks and well-toned body. OK, so it was a good song too, but further success needed something deeper than just their image. They did better than most with "Call Me" almost giving the band back to back Top Ten hits from their self-titled debut album, itself just peaking inside the Top 20. As these things usually turn out, Go West had another moderate hit from the album, and a couple of minor hits to back them up. But in 1990, five years after their initial chart success, they scored a surprise hit with "King Of Wishful Thinking" from the Pretty Woman soundtrack. Go West finally scored that second Top Ten hit which also happened to be one of the most played songs on US radio that year.
1st July, 1985
Chart Run: 43, 26, 18, 14, 16, 12, 14, 15, 21, 31, 37, 50, 67, 76, 82, 90 (16 weeks)Points

20. WICHITA LINEMAN Glen Campbell
from the album "Wichita Lineman".
Capitol CP 8564
Glen Campbell was proving to be a domination in the Country music charts, his 12th album, Wichita Lineman spending 20 weeks at the top of the US Billboard Country Albums chart, his sixth of seven straight chart-toppers. But those charts weren't big enough to contain the Arkansas born singer, the album also topping the overall Billboard Top 200 for five weeks. A regular on many "best-of" lists, "Wichita Lineman" has been referred to as "the first existential Country song" and even "the greatest pop song ever composed" by music journalist, Stuart Maconie. Furthermore, Rolling Stone magazine included it in its Top 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time list, coming in at #195, and the ultimate award, its own induction into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, came in 2000.
30th November, 1968
Chart Run: (GoSet charts) 38, 37,---, 32, 24, 21, 19, 17, 15, 15, 23, 24, 29, 30, 37 (18 weeks in Top 100)Points

19. WASSUUP! Da Muttz
from the album "Da Album".
Eternal 8573861822
Mobile phones were becoming smaller, texting becoming the biggest form of communication, and phone conversations were no longer private. A culture was forming that would soon influence the world, and eventually in the way we purchased music. Da Muttz took the "craze", cashed in, turning the term "Wassuup" into a part of everyday language. The English duo of Alez Rizzo and Elliot Ireland hit the charts a year before as Shaft, scoring the hits "(Mucho Mambo) Sway" and "Mambo Italiano". They stretched the already sampled "Super Freak" by Rick James into another hit. There was one more single to come from the guys as Da Muttz, "Could You Be The One", but absent from the charts, the Da Muttz incarnation for Alez and Elliot would remain a "one hit wonder".
7th May, 2001
Chart Run: 41, 31, 20, 18, 15, 12, 14, 13, 15, 18, 20, 32, 35, 57, 74, 83 (16 weeks)Acc

Polydor/Spring 2066 932
What seems like a light-hearted song about an answering machine message, is actually a morbid song about a car crash death. Paul Evans had scored a couple of hits in Australia, during the 50's and 60's with his novelty songs "(Seven Little Girls) Sitting In The Back Seat" (1959, #5) and "Happy-Go-Lucky Me" (1960, #9), but there was no hidden agenda here. "Hello, This Is Joannie" tells of a couple who fight after a night of drinking. She leaves in a rage and drives home leaving the guy full of remorse the following day. After calling her up, he is met with an answering machine message which forms the chorus of the hit. The reality hits by the end of the song that the woman never made it home. While answering machines were first available commercially in 1960 by a company called Phonetel, they were still relatively rare and expensive at the time of Paul's hit.
7th May, 1979
Chart Run: 78, 55, 55, 54, 58, 53, 52, 50, 54, 49, 39, 37, 37, 37, 27, 25, 22, 26, 27, 25,
32, 32, 32, 30, 30, 30, 31, 25, 27, 32, 33, 43, 52, 59, 59, 83 (36 weeks)

from the album "Matchbook".
Mushroom K 881
1989 was the perfect year for Ian Moss to step out as a solo artist after Cold Chisel had disbanded five years previous. Jimmy Barnes had become one of Australia's most celebrated artists, but even he needed to recharge before he would continue to dominate in the 90's. Ian filled in that period that kept many a Cold Chisel fan happy. Actually, Matchbook was as close to a Cold Chisel reunion as we were likely to see until it fully came to light in 1998. Don Walker contributed his songwriting skills on Ian's debut album, including the albums' biggest hit, "Tucker's Daughter". "Telephone Booth" was not as an immediate hit, but eventually made the Top Ten helping Matchbook win the ARIA award for "Album Of The Year", and Ian the "Best Male Solo Artist" award.
25th June, 1989
Chart Run: 40, 20, 17, 19, 22, 17, 14, 12, 7, 11, 17, 21, 34, 51, 62, 77 (16 weeks)Points

16. TELEPHONE LINE Electric Light Orchestra
from the album "A New World Record".
United Artists/Jet K 6813
A New World Record was the start of big things for Electric Light Orchestra, their first #1 album in Australia. The first release from the album, "Livin' Thing" hit #2 early in 1977, and was as close to a #1 hit single as they would get, returning to the same position in 1980 with Olivia Newton-John and "Xanadu". Another two Top Tens, "Rockaria", and this, their second entry into the Telephone list, ensured the album enjoyed a 78 week run in the Top 100 and making it their most successful album of their career. "Telephone Line" was released as the theme to a little known 1977 film, Joyride, starring Robert Carradine, Desi Arnaz, Anne Lockhart and Melanie Griffith, all offspring of famous actors, and tells of four teenagers' journey from Los Angeles to Alaska to work on an oil field.
11th July, 1977
Chart Run: 66, 54, 37, 28, 21, 18, 15, 14, 10, 11, 11, 12, 20, 24, 27, 44, 51, 70 (18 weeks)Points

from the album "Toto".
CBS BA 222471
Toto came together as six very talented session musicians who proved that you don't have to have a charismatic member representing your band to succeed. Leading up to the bands' formation in 1977, the guys had backed artists such as Barbra Streisand, Jackson Browne, Aretha Franklin and Boz Scaggs, and filled in the gaps for bands such as Steely Dan and Seals And Crofts. Keyboardist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro began to talk seriously about forming their own band, and soon Toto were in the studio laying down tracks for what would be an instant hit album. "Hold The Line" holds little content about the telephone on the outside, but the title is a mantra regularly used when the person you're reaching is not here at the moment, thus, "love isn't always [here] on time".
15th January, 1979
Chart Run: 86, 64, 39, 29, 24, 20, 14, 11, 9, 8, 11, 11, 16, 27, 33, 38, 58, 98 (18 weeks)Points

14. City Boy
from the album "Book Early".
Mushroom Int. K 7185
City Boy's breakthrough finally came in the middle of their career. Together for just six years, the band released one album every year without fail during 1976-1981, including two releases during their debut year. The middle child almost gave them a Top Ten hit in Australia, "" missing out by one place, but City Boy boasted a Top Ten thanks to the UK placing them at #8. The UK also gave the band their only other chart entries, "What A Night" (1978, #39) and "The Day The Earth Caught Fire" (1979, #67), before fading into the background again. City Boy saw the beginnings of a couple of big future stars. Their first five albums were among the first produced by John "Mutt" Lange, while Huey Lewis appears on 1979's The Day The Earth Caught Fire album.
21st August, 1978
Chart Run: 94, 75, 49, 29, 24, 19, 16, 12, 12, 12, 11, 12, 12, 17, 22, 27, 38, 47, 59, 59, 67 (21 weeks)Points

from the album "De La Soul Is Dead".
Liberation/Tommy Boy K 10349
Rap had already its' commercial breakthrough in Australia during 1990. In 1991, it was hip-hop's turn with De La Soul providing one of the first big hits for the genre. No #1 yet, but De La Soul steered hip-hop pretty high to the Australian Top 5, higher than both the UK and the US. "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" is a party jam about an obsessed fan trying to have his work endorsed by the group. This was particularly inspired by Miles Tackett, frontman of a ten-piece funk orchestra called Breakestra, who bombarded the group with demo tapes (noted in the line "piles and piles of demo taped bi-da miles"). Typically hip-hop, this track uses many samples, but its' most obvious borrowing is in the chorus, using the lyric and melody from Curiosity Killed The Cats' "Name And Number".
2nd June, 1991
Chart Run: 74, 43, 25, 14, 7, 4, 6, 7, 6, 10, 10, 16, 18, 28, 35, 45, 55, 64, 75, 81, 88 (21 weeks)Acc

12. ROYAL TELEPHONE Jimmy Little
Festival FK 453
To a new generation of music lovers, it was Yothu Yindi and Warumpi Band that introduced indigenous Australians to the music charts, but as far back as popular Australian music goes, there was always one. Jimmy Little, a member of the Yorta Yorta people, grew up on the Cummerangunja Mission on the Murray River, leaving for Sydney to focus on a Country music career in the mid-50's. After releasing the first of many minor hits in 1956, Jimmy finally broke through with "Danny Boy" in 1959. Reaching #18, Jimmy soon earned the nickname, Honey Voice, with his smooth mellow vocals easy to fall in love with. "Royal Telephone" had been covered many times before as far back as 1927, with the original composition written sometime at the beginning of the century. For Jimmy, it gave him his biggest hit, a Top Ten, and the most successful version recorded.
5th October, 1963
Chart Run: (Kent Charts) 17, 11, 12, 14, 13, 10, 11, 11, 11, 14, 18, 20, 18 (24 weeks in Top 100)Points

11. RING RING Abba
from the album "Ring Ring".
RCA Victor 102496
Officially, "Waterloo" was the first chart entry for Abba, but technically, it was "Ring Ring". At the end of 1973, four established Swedish artists came together to form the biggest pop group ever. As Bjorn & Benny Anna & Frida, the quartet popped their heads into the Australian Top 100 with this, their third single, for just two weeks, it's success a universe away from what would happen a few years later. "Waterloo" reached #4 in Australia the following year, but Abba-mania was still a year away. A re-released version of "Ring Ring" in 1976, this time hitting the Australian Top Ten, was part of what was one of the most spectacular haul of hits ever seen in music history. Originally written in Swedish, its English translation was assisted by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody.
12th November, 1973
Chart Run: (Bjorn & Benny Anna & Frida) no data available (2 weeks in Top 100)
Re-entry (as Abba - 13th January, 1975): 90, 90, 96
Re-entry (9th February, 1976): 56, 41, 34, 26, 14, 10, 7, 7, 12, 11, 11, 10, 16, 17, 17, 18, 25, 32, 41, 51,
54, 68, 76 (26 weeks)

from the album "The Open Door".
Epic/Sony BMG Music Entertainment 82876894162
In 2004, Evanescence lead singer, Amy Lee, featured on the breakthrough hit from Seether called "Broken" which hit the Australian Top 3 in September of that year. Two years later, Amy was back with her usual band singing about her failed relationship with Seether lead singer, Shaun Morgan. The relationship began shortly after the release of "Broken", but Shaun's dependency on alcohol to ease his anger and unhappiness in the relationship took its toll. Coincidentally, Shaun went into rehab the day "Call Me When You're Sober" was released. There's always two sides to these stories, and Amy's side continued Evanescence's love affair with the charts, leaving the "door open" for Seether to rebut. Shaun kept away from all the melodrama, choosing not the respond in song.
25th September, 2006
Chart Run: 5, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 11, 16, 21, 20, 21, 24, 28, 28, 25, 31, 34, 35, 44, 59,
67, 65, 59, 57, 75, 79, 94, 92, 85, 93, 92 (31 weeks)

9. CALL ME Blondie
from the soundtrack album "American Gigolo".
Chrysalis K 7830
For many of us, working in an office means you're tied to the telephone, for other, the phone is your office. This was the case for Richard Gere who played a male prostitute in the film, American Gigolo, as "the highest paid lover in Beverly Hills". Giorgio Moroder added the film to his growing list of film soundtracks, turning to Stevie Nicks to help write and perform a hit single. Stevie declined, a new contract with Modern Records preventing her from working with the producer. Blondie were available, "Call Me" giving them another hit by topping the US and UK charts. Twenty years later, "Call Me" found itself associated with another male escort film, Deuce Bigalow: Male Escort, starring Rob Schneider, the first film produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions.
5th May, 1980
Chart Run: 62, 26, 22, 15, 12, 7, 5, 4, 5, 6, 5, 5, 8, 11, 15, 21, 38, 46, 62, 73 (20 weeks)Points

from the album "All Or Nothing".
RCA Victor 105016
Before the shame, there was the fame, and plenty of it for Fab and Rob, who dominated the charts during 1989 and 1990. "Baby Don't Forget My Number" became one of the longest charting hits of all time in Australia with a 43 week long run that had rarely been seen before digital downloads took effect on the main Singles chart. But this single had something that even those digital chart runs can't match - a 16 week run between #22 and #17, which would ultimately be its peak position, helping to make it more successful than many singles that charted even in the Top Ten. In the US, music fans were crazy about the duo who scored the first of three Billboard #1 singles with "Baby Don't Forget My Number", followed by "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" and "Blame It On The Rain".
20th August, 1989
Chart Run: 47, 50, 46, 44, 49, 41, 38, 30, 36, 26, 26, 20, 20, 20, 17, 17, 21, 18, 21, 21,
21, 19, 21, 18, 19, 20, 19, 22, 22, 28, 25, 26, 33, 36, 41, 42, 46, 50, 49, 55, 79, 91, 86 (43 weeks)

from the album "Jackpot".
Capitol/EMI 5489912
Named after a slang term for money, Chingy can boast plenty of it after his debut album, Jackpot, sold over 3 million copies worldwide. But it wasn't an easy sell, as his first choice for major album distribution through Def Jam was rejected. Fellow rapper, Ludacris, negotiated a deal that saw Capitol Records take on distribution duties, and within months Chingy was a regular in the charts, the album peaking at #2 in the US. Featuring The Cosby Show's Keisha Knight Pulliam in the film clip, "One Call Away" was the third Top 3 hit in the US for Chingy when it reached #2, but it was third time unlucky as he yet again failed to secure a #1 hit. Follow-up albums diminished in success so much so that fourth album, Hate It Or Love It, could only manage #84 on the Billboard Albums chart.
10th May, 2004
Chart Run: 12, 7, 5, 5, 8, 9, 8, 15, 15, 17, 17, 24, 24, 29, 47, 60, 54, 59, 67, 66,
80, 86 (22 weeks)

6. SYLVIA'S MOTHER Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
from the album "Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show".
CBS BA 221897
Perhaps more frustrating than an answering machine, Dr. Hook find it hard to get through to an ex-girlfriend with her mother barring them from talking to her over the phone. Dr. Hook's first hit single found its biggest success in Australia and Ireland where it topped those charts, enjoying further success reaching #2 in the UK and #5 in the US. Written by children's author, Shel Silverstein who was also responsible for Dr. Hook's next hit, "Cover Of The Rolling Stone", it tells the story of a real Sylvia he was in love with. He tried calling her just as she was packing for her wedding to a bullfighter and painter, but Mrs. Pandolfi refused to complicate matters, keeping to two apart. Pandolfi was changed to Mrs. Avery not to protect the innocent, but to better fit the songs' composition.
29th May, 1972
Chart Run: (GoSet charts) 25, 19, 8, 4, 6, 1, 1, 2, 2, 7, 12, 10, 21, 34 (18 weeks in Top 100)Points

5. HUNG UP Madonna
from the album "Confessions On The Dance Floor".
Warner 9362428482
Madonna's 2003 album, American Life, proved to be a hard pill to swallow for her fans, its themes of the "American Dream" and "materialism" quite the opposite to the pop gloss of her 80's output. It was a rare Madonna failure that could only be compared to the lack-lustre performance Bedtime Stories suffered a decade earlier. But just as Ray Of Light brought her back to the top, so did Confessions On A Dance Floor, re-inventing herself, yet again, as a retro disco diva complete with pastel pink leotard. The double meaning of "Hung Up" was perfectly imagined by Madonna and her producer of the moment, Stuart Price, managing the conflicting definitions into one chorus. "Hung Up" became Madonna's biggest selling single ever with sales of over 9 million copies worldwide.
14th November, 2005
Chart Run: 1, 3, 2, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 6, 5, 10, 13, 14, 14, 15, 21, 26, 29, 32, 34,
39, 42, 47, 55, 56, 64, 84, 85 (28 weeks)

4. HELLO Lionel Richie
from the album "Can't Slow Down".
Motown 1722 MF
Lionel Richie's third and final #1 single in Australia also became the first Motown single to sell over a million copies in the UK. As the second #1 from Can't Slow Down, "Hello" helped the album to become the biggest selling Motown album ever, selling 20 million copies worldwide. "Hello" is quite generic when it comes to deciding whether it was right for this list with nothing in the lyrics to suggest it is directly linked to the telephone. The video clip tells the story of a music teacher who falls in love with a blind student. During the instrumental break, Lionel calls his student and sings the chorus to her over the phone making that connection between "Hello" and the phone. I was sold. Glee also charted which their version which just missed this list, avoiding a spoiler for Lionel.
30th April, 1984
Chart Run: 60, 18, 8, 9, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 15, 22, 27, 37, 45, 54,
70, 71, 75, 76, 87, 91, 93, 100 (28 weeks)

3. TELEPHONE Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé
from the album "The Fame Monster".
Interscope/Universal Music Australia US-UM7-09-05541
It was the most anticipated video clip of 2010, a 9½ minute extravaganza inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol.1 and Pulp Fiction films, and Callie Khouri's Thelma & Louise. Lady Gaga continued to blast the boundaries with her outrageous costume design and stark depictions of violence including poisoning unsuspecting customers in a diner. Her partner in crime, Beyonce, makes her third appearance in the telephone list, providing a rapid-fire verse midway through the song, not to mention an unexpected femme fatale turn in the video clip. Lady Gaga's inspiration for "Telephone" came from her own fear of not being able to enjoy herself because of her career. The lyrics suggest she has a preference to the dance floor rather than answering her lover's phone calls.
30th November, 2009
Chart Run: 29, 38, 30, 28, 24, 22, 19, 15, 13, 16, 16, 14, 17, 8, 11, 11, 9, 3, 3, 4,
12, 17, 14, 21, 23, 27, 31, 36, 39, 43, 49, 46, 50, 60, 63, 64, 65, 72, 73, 81, 81, 77, 74, 68, 52,
64, 82, 72, 84,---,---,---,---,---,---, 99, 99, 97, 85 (53 weeks)

2. GHOSTBUSTERS Ray Parker, Jr.
from the soundtrack album "Ghostbusters".
Arista K 9454
It may be an odd choice to include in this list, but once "Ghostbusters" hit the charts, "Who you gonna call?" became a catch cry for anyone needed via telephone. In popular culture since, the "Who you gonna call?" line has been associated with many films and TV shows including Casper, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Family Guy, Zombieland and even Doctor Who! Ray Parker, Jr. also featured in adverts for the UK Directory Enquiries service 118-118 singing "Who Can You Call? 118" while two giant versions of the 118 men parody the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original film. Two further "Ghostbusters" singles charted for Run-D.M.C. (1989, #78) and Mickael The Turtle (2006, #58), however neither feature the "Who you gonna call?" line, so didn't make this list.
3rd September, 1984
Chart Run: 17, 9, 4, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4, 8, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 25,
35, 44, 56, 65, 81, 98, 94 (32 weeks)

from the soundtrack album "The Woman In Red".
Motown 1845 MF
What a competition the 1984 Oscar for "Best Original Song" was. All five nominees reached #1 in the US, the only time this has ever happened. It's a long cry for the unknown film songs nominated these days. Stevie Wonder beat out "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins and "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Denice Williams, both from Footloose, Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" from the movie of the same name, and funnily enough, "Ghostbusters", the #2 song on the telephone list by Ray Parker, Jr. And just to show his might, Stevie also surpassed Lionel Richie's "Hello" in sales to not only break the million copies mark in the UK, but to become the biggest selling Motown single in the country ever! The simplistic message of conveying one's love over the telephone ensured it was universally received as "I Just Called To Say I Love You" hit #1 in almost every country. But while it became Stevie's biggest hit, it was also critically panned for lacking the organic and experimental feel of his 70's output, opting for synthesizers and drum machines instead. This observation was made in the 2000 film, Hi Fidelity, as the low point of Stevie's career.
24th September, 1984
Chart Run: 51, 7, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 14, 15, 18, 24, 29, 36, 42, 44,
48, 47, 55, 42, 44, 43, 42, 56, 60, 58, 53, 65, 70, 71, 67, 82, 83, 74, 80, 78, 74, 89,---, 95 (48 weeks)

The ARIA charts came into effect on 26th June, 1988, with information of its Top 50 available to the public. Because of this availability, the Australian Music Report is used to fill in the unavailable #51-#100 positions not available from ARIA until 1990. Chart runs appearing in white indicate singles that were affected by the change over, with ARIA reflected in black, and AMR in white. ARIA chart positions take precedence over AMR.

Accreditation key: ● Gold (35,000 units) ▲ Platinum (70,000 units) ▲² Multi Platinum (140,000+ units)