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 (1987-02)
Genre Electronic
  • 3:50 (radio version)
  • 8:12 (album version)
Kraftwerk singles chronology
"Musique Non-Stop"
"The Telephone Call"
"String Module Error: Match not found"

"The Telephone Call" (German: "Der Telefon-Anruf") is a song by the German electronic music band Kraftwerk. It was released in 1987 as the second and final single from their ninth studio album, Electric Café (1986). The single was their second number-one on Billboard Hot Dance Club Play and stayed two weeks at the number-one spot. It is the only Kraftwerk song to feature Karl Bartos on vocals.

The version from 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 original album version of 'The Telephone Call' 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 original album 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 The promo copies of the box set containing the earlier remaster of Techno Pop were subsequently withdrawn and became collector's items.

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 novelty grandpiano-shaped phone which he happens to play before picking the receiver up). 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.

Track listing[edit]

English versions only

7-inch single[edit]

All tracks written by Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider and Karl Bartos.
Remixed by François Kevorkian.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Telephone Call" (Remix) 3:49
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Der Telefon-Anruf" (Remix) 3:49

12-inch single[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Telephone Call" (Remix) 8:16
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "House Phone" 4:54
2. "Der Telefon-Anruf" (Remix) 3:49


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[1] 89
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[2] 1
US Hot Dance Single Sales (Billboard)[citation needed] 18


  1. ^ "Archive Chart: 1987-03-01" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 7 March 1987.
  2. ^ "Kraftwerk – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Kraftwerk. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
Preceded by
"Lean on Me" by Club Nouveau
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
25 April 1987 - 8 May 1987
Succeeded by
"Certain Things Are Likely" by KTP