The Telephone Call

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"The Telephone Call"
Single by Kraftwerk
from the album Electric Cafe
B-side "House Phone"
Released February 1987
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Genre Electronic
Length 3:50 (7" version)
8:12 (12" version)
Label Kling Klang, EMI, Warner Bros.
Kraftwerk singles chronology
"Musique Non-Stop"
"The Telephone Call"
"The Robots (Re-release)"

"The Telephone Call" (German: "Der Telefon-Anruf") is a 1987 single by German techno group Kraftwerk, on the 1986 album Electric Café. "The Telephone Call" was number one on the dance charts for two weeks, and was the second single that Kraftwerk took to number one in four months. In the UK, the song peaked at number eighty-nine. It is the only Kraftwerk song to feature Karl Bartos on vocals.

The versions of the song on the single were remixed by François Kevorkian.

In the 2009 remastered edition of Electric Café, which was issued under the album's original intended title Techno Pop, the 12" version is absent, replaced by the shorter and subtly-different 7-inch single mix. As a replacement for the latter part of the original album track (which contained telephone sounds and operator voices), the remix "House Phone" was inserted. However, when the remastered album was originally issued in 2004 as part of the promotional version of The Catalogue, the full 12" version was featured and "House Phone" was not, as the album featured its original 6 tracks with no bonuses. The promo copies of the box set containing the earlier remaster of Techno Pop were subsequently withdrawn and became collector's items.

Track listing[edit]

German 7" single[edit]

  1. Der Telefon-Anruf (Remix) - 3:49
  2. The Telephone Call (Remix) - 3:49

German 12" single[edit]

  1. Der Telefon-Anruf (Remix) - 8:16
  2. House Phone - 4:54
  3. The Telephone Call (Remix) - 3:49

UK 7" single[edit]

  1. The Telephone Call (Remix) - 3:49
  2. Der Telefon-Anruf (Remix) - 3:49

UK 12" single[edit]

  1. The Telephone Call (Remix) - 8:16
  2. House Phone - 4:55
  3. Der Telefon-Anruf (Remix) - 3:55

Music video[edit]

The song's black-and-white music video features each member of the band answering a telephone (Ralf Hütter's being a combination of a telephone and a synthesiser). None of the band members are seen singing the song in the video except for a silhouette Karl Bartos, but when the camera pans around it is revealed to in fact be Wolfgang Flür. He is also seen at a typewriter typing "You're so close, but far away". At several other points in the video, various other iconic images are seen including a dangling phone on a wire and an eye staring through a hole in a wall, the latter appearing for only one second in the video. The images give the video an unsettling feeling.


Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 89
US Billboard Hot Dance Single Sales
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[2][3] 1


  1. ^ "Chart Stats - Kraftwerk". Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  2. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Kraftwerk > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Dance Club Songs : Apr 25, 1987". Billboard. April 25, 1987. 

Preceded by
"Lean on Me" by Club Nouveau
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
April 25, 1987 - May 2, 1987
Succeeded by
"Certain Things Are Likely" by KTP