Telephone Line (song)

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"Telephone Line"
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album A New World Record
B-side "Poor Boy (The Greenwood)" (US)
"Poor Boy (The Greenwood)" and "King of the Universe" (double B-side UK only)
Released 21 May 1977 (UK)
May 1977 (US)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1976 Musicland Studios, Munich
Genre Art rock, soft rock[1]
Length 4:39 (album/UK single version)
3:56 (US single edit)
Label Jet (UK)
United Artists (US)
Writer(s) Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Do Ya"
(1977)
"Telephone Line"
(1977)
"Turn to Stone"
(1977)
A New World Record track listing

"Telephone Line" is a song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).[2]

Release[edit]

The song is track two on their 1976 album, A New World Record, and was the final single to be released from the album until September 2006, when "Surrender" was released from the expanded reissue of the album. It became their biggest single success in the US and was their first UK gold award for a single. With ELO's continuing success in America it seemed obvious to Jeff Lynne to use an American ring tone during the song."[3] Writer/guitarist, Lynne explained:

The song charted in the Top Ten in both the UK and the US, peaking at number 8 in the UK[4] and number 7 in the US.[5] The tune was on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks, nearly a full month longer on that chart than any other ELO tune. Billboard ranked it as the No. 15 song of 1977.[6] In 1977, the song would reach number 1 in New Zealand and Canada. As was the norm, many ELO singles were issued in different colours, but the US version of this single was the only green single ELO issued. It became the band's first single to achieve Gold sales figures.

Covers and other uses[edit]

"Telephone Line" is the theme song of the 1977 film Joyride starring Desi Arnaz, Jr., Robert Carradine, Melanie Griffith, and Anne Lockhart, directed by Joseph Ruben. The song is featured in the movie Billy Madison when Billy phones a former high school classmate, played by Steve Buscemi, to apologise for picking on him.

It was also used on HBO's Big Love in the season 2 episode "Vision Thing".

The song has been covered by Irish band Aslan and also by the French well-known singer Claude François (Sacrée chanson).

Duo Jack And White, featuring American Idol finalist Brooke White recorded a cover of "Telephone Line" on their covers EP "Undercover" digitally released in 2012. The version also featured guest vocals from Fitz of the band Fitz & The Tantrums.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
Position
Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart[7] 10
Canadian RPM Top Singles[8] 1
French SNEP Singles Chart 10
German Media Control Singles Chart[9] 32
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart[4] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 7 RIAA: Gold
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles 4
US Record World Singles[10] 7
US Billboard Year-End 15
American Top 40 Year-End[11] 22

Jeff Lynne version[edit]

"Telephone Line"
Song by Electric Light Orchestra from the album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
Released 8 October 2012 (UK)
9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded 2001–2012 Bungalow Palace
Length 4:30
Label Frontiers
Writer Jeff Lynne
Producer Jeff Lynne
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra track listing

Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song in his own home studio. It was released in a compilation album with other re-recorded ELO songs, under the ELO name.[12]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A New World Record : Electric Light Orchestra : Telephone Line : Rhapsody
  2. ^ Dave Thompson 1000 Songs That Rock Your World: From Rock Classics to One-Hit Wonders 2011- Page 212 "Telephone Line BY THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA Having already serenaded us with the tones of “Ma Ma Belle,” E.L.O. followed up with a reminder of just how lonely the sound of an unanswered telephone could be."
  3. ^ A New World Record, Electric Light Orchestra, 1976 & 2006. CD liner notes.
  4. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra". Offfical Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1977
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "charts.de - Electric Light Orchestra". charts.de. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Hawtin, Steve. "Song artist 171 - Electric Light Orchestra". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  11. ^ American Top 40 - "The Top 100 Hits of 1977" (Part 2)
  12. ^ "Releases : elo - Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". Elo.biz. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013.