The Red Telephone (song)

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"The Red Telephone"
Song by Love
from the album Forever Changes
ReleasedNovember 1967 (1967-11)
  • September 25, 1967
Songwriter(s)Arthur Lee

"The Red Telephone" is a song written by Arthur Lee and first released by Love on their 1967 album Forever Changes.

Lyrics and music[edit]

According to legend, the house that the members of Love lived in had a red telephone, although the song lyrics do not relate to this. "The Red Telephone" is built on a set of folk-inspired chords.[1] The song has been compared to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Themes of the song include race, imprisonment, and death.[2] It contains a harpsichord and 12-string guitar, and has an ominous feel. "Sometimes my life is so eerie," Lee sings, but then inverts the dark mood with "and if you think I'm happy / Paint me white."[3]


Allmusic's Matthew Greenwald called "The Red Telephone" "exquisite" and wrote, "it's one of the more engaging and interesting songs on Love's Forever Changes album."[1] Ken Barnes called it "bleakly philosophical" and "apocalyptic".[4] Jim Bickhart of Rolling Stone gave it a mixed review, writing "it contains both excellent and mediocre portions."[5]

Jocelyn Manchec listed the song among the 2000 songs for your MP3 Player.[6] In 2002 the Italian Rock Magazine "Il Mucchio Selvaggio" listed the song on its 17 Critics & Their Top 50 Songs.[7]


  1. ^ a b Greenwald, Matthew. "The Red Telephone Song Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Fowle, Kyle (February 10, 2015). "Forever Changes is a stunning indictment of The Summer Of Love". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  3. ^ Barker, David (2006). 33 1/3 Greatest Hits, Volume 1. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 1441112340.
  4. ^ Barnes, Ken (August 6, 2006). "Arthur Lee, the legend rock almost forgot". USA Today. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Bickhart, Jim (February 10, 1968). "Love: Forever Changes". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Playlist Pop Rock". SensCritique. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "17 Critics & Their Top 50 Songs". Il Mucchio Selvaggio. September 2, 2002.

External links[edit]