February 1980: Blondie Releases "Call Me"

Debbie Harry in concert with Blondie, at the Odeon, Birmingham, part of their European Tour 1979-'80. 7th January 1980. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
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(Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

When legendary disco producer Giorgio Moroder was commissioned to write music for the Richard Gere movie American Gigolo, he had one singer in mind: Stevie Nicks. The Fleetwood Mac vocalist, however, had recently signed a solo deal with Modern Records, which blocked such a collaboration. That's when Moroder reached out to Blondie.

Having already come up with a basic demo of the track, the producer gave it to Blondie singer Debbie Harry to write lyrics. After watching an early version of the movie, she was inspired: "When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California," is what she told Autoweek in 2012. 

Released as a single on February 1, 1980--the same day that American Gigolo hit big screens across America--"Call Me" would have a swift ride to #1, hitting the top spot on the Hot 100 on April 19, 1980. It would hold on to the crown for six straight weeks, finally dethroned on May 31, 1980, by Lipps, Inc. and "Funkytown."

The song was such a success that Blondie and Moroder planned to do a full album together. Those plans were dashed when the producer found himself caught in the middle of the group's legendary internal drama.

"I usually don't work with rock groups. [I co-wrote and ­produced] Blondie's 'Call Me.' There were always fights," he told Billboard in 2015. "I was supposed to do an album with them after that. We went to the studio, and the guitarist was fighting with the ­keyboard player. I called their manager and quit."

"Call Me" lives on as one of Blondie's signature songs that has become a part of American pop culture. Case in point: the time Harry sang the tune with The Muppet Band on The Muppet Show.

 

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