playlist compilation article
Telephone and mail correspondence—mostly referenced in songs, movies, and a few TV shows are the technical communications means I'm talking about. At the time of those media release, they reflected the prevailing technology for non-f2f interactions. Back then, letters did not reach recipients within seconds, older phone calls person-to-person required manual dialing on a rotary dial (woe if numbers were 8s, 9s, or zeros and your dialing finger slipped), and there was no Caller ID nor answering machine. Cheap mass mailing? Fuggedaboutit!
Especially regarding songs that mention phones, references to phone call costs (dime, 40 cents more, …) and dialing contrast sharply to current call charges and keypad or memory-number inputs. One carryover from dialing days seems a bit amusing to me: the feature called "redial". And how about "speed dial"? Another anachronism: "operator", an occupation that has gradually faded from phone call prominence but for which there are several songs that feature that term.
I've grouped some lists and links as follows:
- Songs that Feature Letters
- Songs that Feature Phones
- Movies that Feature Phones and Letters
- TV Shows that Feature Phones
"Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" (written 1935), Billy Williams (recorded 1957).
I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter"Love Letters in the Sand" (1957), Pat Boone.
And make believe it came from you
On a day like today"Please, Mr. Postman" (1961), Marvelettes.
We passed the time away
Writing love letters in the sand
please mr.postman"Return to the Sender" (1962), Elvis Presley.
deliver the letter
the sooner the better
So then I dropped it in the mailbox"Sealed With a Kiss" (1962), Brian Hyland.
And sent it special D.
I'll send you all my love"PS I Love You" (1962), Beatles.
Everyday in a letter
Sealed with a kiss
As I write this letter,"All My Loving" (1964), Beatles.
Send my love to you,
And then while I'm away,"The Letter" (1967), Boxtops.
I'll write home ev'ry day,
And I'll send all my lovin'to you.
my baby just a-wrote me a letter."Take a Letter Maria" (1969), R B GREAVES. (See the guy dictating into a tape recorder, starting about :29.)
So take a letter Maria, address it to my wifeSongs that Feature Phones
Send a copy to my lawyer
"Beachwood 45789" (1962), Marvelettes. (Note that both "Beechwood" and "Beachwood" appear in search results. An image of the record label shows the correct name to be Beechwood. Oh, sunnybeeches!)
Beechwood 4-5789"634-5789" (1970), Picket Wilson.
You can call me up and
Have a date any old time
All you gotta do is pick up your telephone and dial now…"867 5309/Jenny" (1982), Tommy Tutone.
Jenny, Jenny who can I turn to? (8-6-7-5-3-0-9)"Call Me" (1965), Chris Montez.
For the price of a dime I can always turn to you.
Call me, don't be afraid, you can call me"Call Me" (1999), Blondie. (Note someone writing "636-1636" on someone's forehead at 1:18.)
Call me on the line"Reunited" (1979), Peaches and Herb.
I wished I could climb right through the telephone line"Memphis" (1959), Chuck Berry.
Long distance information, give me Memphis Tennessee"Wichita Lineman" (1968), Glen Campbell.
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me
She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call
'Cause my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line"Back in the USSR" (1968), Beatles. (Paul performs in Kiev in 2008.)
Honey disconnect the phone"Rings" (1974), Lobo.
Ring ring telephone rings"Ring Ring" (1973), ABBA. (See Agnetha and Anni-Frid use their index fingers to simulate dialing a telephone, about 2:34.)
Ring ring door bell ring
Ring ring golden ring
And let the wedding bell ring
Ring, ring, why don't you give me a call
Ring, ring, the happiest sound of them all
Ring, ring, I stare at the phone on the wall
Related: YouTube audio mix using ABBA's "Ring Ring" and Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone"
"Happy Together" (1967), Turtles.
If I should call you up, invest a dime"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" (1978), Rod Stewart.
Give me a dime so I can phone my mother"Sylvia's Mother" (1992), Dr. Hook. (Note there's a phone booth in the background.)
Sylvia's mother says "Sylvia's busy""Amish Paradise" (1996), Weird Al Yankovic.
"Too busy to come to the phone"
And the operator says "40 cents more for the next 3 minutes"
And Sylvia's mother says "thank you for callin'"
"And, sir, won't you call back again?"
We haven't even paid the phone bill in 300 years"Telephone" (2009), Lady Gaga.
There's no phone, no lights, no motorcar
Call all you want, but theres no one home,A small subcategory—Operators
And you're not gonna reach my telephone.
"Operator" (1972), Jim Croce.
Operator, could you help me place this call,"Operator" (1975), Manhattan Transfer. (Note the bent arm and fist by the ear to simulate holding an operator's set.)
'Cause I can't read the number that you just gave me,
You can keep the dime.
Operator"Smooth Operator" (1984), Sade. (OK, so it's not about a phone operator.)
Please give me Jesus on the line
He's a smooth operator,Movies that Feature Phones and Letters
Enemy of the State (1998), Will Smith.
Will's character gets tracked via cellphone usage, before current common GPS outfitting into phones.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Keanu Reeves.
The phone booth serves as a good vehicle, as it could transport several people at any one time.
Superman (various releases and stars).
Superman typically switched out in a phone booth. One movie did reflect the downsizing of phone booths to a payphone surround, with Clark looking perplexed, needing to find an alternate changing room.
Matrix (1999), Keanu Reeves.
Characters travel through payphones lines. At the time the movie was in theaters, payphones were still common. Try to find a payphone these days.
My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), Julia Roberts.
This movie has both phones and letters. Julia's character drives a wagon while talking on a humongous cellphone, indicating an agedness in technology. In a different scene, she keeps a draft email, but inadvertently, the email goes out, resulting in stressful circumstances.
Vanity Fair (2004), Reese Witherspoon.
Correspondence letters are prominent in this story.
TV Shows that Feature Phones
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, featuring Lily Tomlin as Ernestine, the phone operator—one of many characters Lily developed. (Note she is at a switchboard, and at a later point, dialing the phone.)
Keeping up Appearances.
The main character Hyacinth often converses using a phone—YouTube instance, starting about 2:16. One clip shows Hyacinth dissed and thwarted in her attempts to use a phone.
"Night Call", a Twilight Zone episode.
A woman receives mysterious phone calls, but is regretful when they stop. They had been from her deceased fiancé, and he finally hung up on her.
As my compilation turns out, my focus is more on phones—letters seeming to loom not quite as large—in songs, movies, and TV shows. In any case, I hope visiting links brought entertainment, enlightenment, and a-muse-ment nevertheless. Note: Other resources (besides linked YouTube videos and lyrics sites) include Google and Wikipedia—mainly for release-year information—and IMDB for movie references.