Big hair, big music and even bigger phones. The 80s was a place for giant lip phones, neon phones, pink phones, cat phones, any kind of phone you can think of. Even cell phones. They may seem commonplace now, but cell phones in the 80s were quite rare. They existed alright, but were approximately the size of your head and cost about $8 a minute. And then there was the car phone, which featured a curly cord and a normal sized speaking piece. Ah, how times have changed! However, we must have been phone crazy then because the decade was full of songs about phones and calls. How did anyone survive without a way to communicate with each other from the ice cream shop, school and most importantly, the mall?!? It must have been tough times indeed and musicians took our desires seriously.
Songs about phones:
Mr. Telephone Man by New Edition
Looks like our favorite boy band had once fell prey to a bad connection and their only hope of getting in touch with a loved one is with the help of the, gulp, operator! Check these lyrics out:
When I dial 661 Computer Service
She said "Hello may I help you please?"
I told her something must be wrong
With my phone
Cause my baby wouldn't hang up on me
Before New Edition brought lousy phone service to the forefront, one hit wonder Rockwell was afraid to answer the phone:
When I come home at night
I bolt the door real tight
People call me on the phone, I'm trying to avoid
But can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid
We vote for paranoid, Rockwell.
It seems everyone but Rockwell was waiting for that phone call, especially Blondie who seemed to begging for just one ring:
Call me on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me oh love
When you're ready we can share the wine
And that wasn’t Blondie’s only plead for modern technology.
I'm in the phone booth, it's the one across the hall
If you don't answer, I'll just ring it off the wall
I know he's there, but I just had to call
Don't leave me hanging on the telephone
Not only was the telephone a good way to call your loved one, it was also a good way to keep in touch with lost acquaintances, as Phil Collins sang about in Don’t Lose My Number:
Billy, Billy don't you lose my number
Cos you're not anywhere
That I can find you
But best of all, the preeminent reason to have a phone in the 80s was to call Jennie at 867-5309:
I know you'll think I'm like the others before
Who saw your name and number on the wall
Jenny I've got your number
I need to make you mine
Jenny don't change your number
8 6 7-5 3 0 9
Undoubtedly, the phone was as important to us then as it is now, only then teenagers were forced to spill their dirty secrets in the living room and some of the biggest performers of the 80s tapped into our need more freedom of the airwaves. Thank you popstars!
Amanda By Night