- Foo Fighters, "This is a Call"
- Queensrÿche, "Revolution Calling"
- The Rolling Stones, "Come On"
- Muddy Waters, "Long Distance Call"
- The Beatles, "You Won't See Me"
- X, "Your Phone's Off the Hook But You're Not"
- The White Stripes, "Hello Operator"
- Chuck Berry, "Memphis"
- The Grateful Dead, "Operator"
- Kraftwerk, "The Telephone Call"
- Blondie, "Hanging on the Telephone"
- Al Green, "Call Me (Come Back Home)"
- Lou Reed, "New York Telephone Conversation"
- The Notwist, "Pick up the Phone"
- Love, "The Red Telephone"
- Penguin Cafe Orchestra, "Telephone and Rubber Band"
- Prince, "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore"
- The Mothers of Invention, "You Didn't Try to Call Me"
- The Clash, "London Calling"
- Bob Dylan & The Band, "Long Distance Operator"
- Tom Waits, "Telephone Call From Istanbul"
- The Cure, "Wrong Number"
- The Replacements, "Answering Machine"
I put this together for some volunteers who will be making calls to help re-elect the President this weekend. For their sake, I'm not including the Dillinger Escape Plan or the Beastie Boys, although those might have been too distracting anyway. Thus, Brooklyn Calling doesn't get any heavier than "This is a Call," which, since Dave Grohl wrote it, will offend exactly no one.
Like many of my half-decent ideas, this one started with the Sound Opinions podcast. Every week, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot kick off their call-taking segment ("On Sound Opinions, everyone's a critic, so give us a call on our hotline...") by playing a great song about the phone. Had I not heard them on Sound Opinions, I never would've picked out Chuck Berry's "Memphis" or "Come On," the Rolling Stones' first-ever single (also written by Berry) as phone songs. Kot and DeRogatis have also included "Operator," "The Telephone Call," "Call Me," "New York Telephone Conversation" and others on their show. Finally, thumbs up to Sound Opinions for featuring "Hanging on the Telephone," which I prefer to Blondie's more famous phone song.
Much has changed since the days of switchboard operators, and despite the underlying phone theme, many of these songs are hard to apply to the work that we do on the campaign. The most relatable songs here are definitely "Wrong Number," "Answering Machine" and "Your Phone's Off the Hook But You're Not."