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"Call Me" is a song by the American new wave band Blondie and the theme to the 1980 film American Gigolo. Released in the US in early 1980 as a single, "Call Me" was No. 1 for six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it became the band's biggest single and second No. 1. It also hit No. 1 in the UK and Canada, where it became their fourth and second chart-topper, respectively. In the year-end chart of 1980, it was Billboards No. 1 single and RPM magazine's No. 3 in Canada.
Song and single information
"Call Me" was the main theme song of the 1980 film American Gigolo. It is played in the key of D minor. Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder originally asked Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac to help compose and perform a song for the soundtrack, but she declined as a recently signed contract with Modern Records prevented her from working with Moroder. It was at this time that Moroder turned to Debbie Harry and Blondie. Moroder presented Harry with a rough instrumental track called "Man Machine". Harry was asked to write the lyrics and melody, a process that Harry states took a mere few hours. The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute. Harry said the lyrics were inspired by her visual impressions from watching the film and that "When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California." The completed song was then recorded by the band, with Moroder producing. The bridge of the original English-language version also includes Harry singing "Call me, my darling" in Italian ("Amore, chiamami") (Love, call me) and in French ("Appelle-moi, mon chéri") (Call me, my darling).
In the US, the song was released by three record companies: the longest version (at 8:06) on the soundtrack album by Polydor, the 7" and 12" on Blondie's label Chrysalis, and a Spanish-language 12" version, with lyrics by Buddy and Mary McCluskey, on the disco label Salsoul Records. The Spanish version, titled "Llámame", was meant for release in Mexico and some South American countries. This version was also released in the US and the UK and had its CD debut on Chrysalis/EMI's rarities compilation Blonde and Beyond (1993). In 1988, a remixed version by Ben Liebrand taken from the Blondie remix album Once More into the Bleach was issued as a single in the UK. In 2001, the "original long version" appeared as a bonus track on the Autoamerican album re-issue.
Harry recorded an abbreviated version of the song that was backed by the Muppet Band for her guest appearance on The Muppet Show in August 1980. It was first broadcast in January 1981.
Popularity and acclaim
The single was released in the United States in February 1980. It peaked at No. 1 and remained there for six consecutive weeks until it was knocked off by Lipps, Inc.'s worldwide smash hit "Funkytown" and was certified Gold (for one million copies sold) by the RIAA. It also spent four weeks at No. 2 on the US dance chart. The single was also No. 1 on Billboard magazine's 1980 year-end chart. The song lists at No. 57 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. It was released in the UK two months later, where it became Blondie's fourth UK No. 1 single in little over a year. The song was also played on a British Telecom advert in the 1980s. 25 years after its original release, "Call Me" was ranked at No. 283 on the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1981, the Village Voice ranked "Call Me" as the third-best song of the year 1980 on its annual year-end critics' poll, Pazz & Jop.
In 1981, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
The other, which came out in 1981, was non-representational, not featuring any of the band. It depicted a New York City taxi driver (who had appeared in several other Blondie music videos) driving his Checker Taxi through Manhattan traffic. This version was part of the 1981 "Best of Blondie" compilation video.
In 2010, British singer Samantha Fox and Italian singer Sabrina released a dance version of the song as a single.
Blondie re-recorded the song (with Moroder returning as producer) for their 2014 re-recording compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a two-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their 10th studio album Ghosts of Download and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.
In 2015 for their deluxe-reissue of their latest album, Cult, American punk band Bayside covered the song as one of their four new bonus tracks.
^Gene Stout (September 2, 2006). "Blondie plays the hits for fans young and old". Seattle Pi. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 2013. "Blondie opened with "Call Me," (...) a new wave classic that appealed as much to graying baby boomers as it did to a pimply kid wearing a T-shirt from CBGB's, one of several New York clubs that helped make Blondie famous - or vice-versa - in the '70s."
^Bokris, Viktor (May 24, 1980). "Dinner with Blondie... and William Burroughs". New Music News. New York: New Music News. Retrieved 2017. Harry: Giorgio's original idea was to call it "man machine" because the man was just like the sex machine. Stein: Debbie's lyrics are much more subtle than the ones he wrote. His thing was very direct like saying I am a man and I go out and I fuck all the girls. Debbie's lyrics are a lot more subtle and the movie in a way is not that blatant, it is sort of subtle. Harry: It was like teasing too because the thing about the movie was that he was always--'Call me! Call me if you want me to come to you.' And it was like these little commands had this macho quality through his being a male hooker, you know that kind of demanding business.
^Tamara Warren (July 9, 2012). "Mustang Debbie: Blondie's Legendary Lead Singer Confesses a Love of Cars". Autoweek. 62 (14): 42-44. ISSN0192-9674.