Person-to-person communications media…letters, telegrams, telephone calls…have long played a role in popular music. Just for some weekend fun, here are some songs, ranging from the light-hearted to the very sad, in which various forms of communication make an appearance.

Conventional Mail:

Please Mr Postman, The Marvelettes (1961)

Return to Sender, Elvis Presley (1962)

Unconventional Mail:

The Carrier Dove (1836)


Western Union, The Five Americans, 1967


Sylvia’s Mother, Dr Hook (1972) (also recorded by Bon Jovi in 2003)

Memphis, Tennessee, Chuck Berry/Johnny Rivers (1963/1964)

Operator, Jim Croce (1972)

Missing You, John Waite (1984)(also recorded with Alison Krauss in 2007)

Why Haven’t I Heard from You?, Reba McIntire (1994)

Telephone, Lady Gaga (2009)

How about e-mail and text messaging?…are there any good songs featuring these media? This writer thinks it’s unlikely…is she right?

What other songs can you think of that fit this theme?

16 thoughts on “Heartsignals”

  1. Haven’t set it to music, but I did modernize one of Heine’s poems for the Facebook & text-messaging era…

    Original version:

    A young lad loves a maiden
    she likes another one
    that other marries another
    whose heart and hand he won

    The maiden weds in anger
    the first man she can snare
    who comes across her pathway
    The lad is in despair

    It is an old, old story
    yet new with every start,
    and every time it happens
    it breaks a loving heart

    My modernized version:

    A young dude loves a hot girl
    She likes some other guy
    When his Facebook page shows “taken”
    She hangs her head to cry

    She IMs all the evening
    Till she nabs her second-best
    When her Facebook page shows “taken,” too
    The dude is in distress

    By paper, pen, and envelope
    The news once reached the lad
    It’s now done electronically
    But the pain is just as bad

  2. Man, you guys don’t keep up with popular music, do you? This song topped the hip hop charts a few months.

    Granted, it is not a good song, but it is evidence that texting has permeated throughout popular culture.

  3. Upon reflection, there are a few more popular songs about telephones and the like that have been released in the last year. What is most interesting about them is the meme most contain – stop calling, turn everything off, ect. The point in case is the relatively new Lady Gaga & Beyonce hit, “Telephone”. As their lyrics say:

    Just a second; it’s my favorite song they’re gonna play and I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?
    You shoulda made some plans with me; you knew that I was free
    And now you won’t stop calling me
    I’m kinda busy

    Stop callin’, stop callin’; I don’t wanna think anymore!; I left my head and my heart on the dance-floor
    Stop callin”, stop callin; I don’t wanna talk anymore!; I left my head and my heart on the dance-floor

  4. “Telephone Line, Electric Light Orchestra”

    –I second that song. A fantastic one!

    Great post David, very cool.

  5. kind of off-topic (yeah, an off-topic comment on my own post)…I was googling around, trying to find the audio for “Carrier Dove” (which is a beautiful song) and Google landed me in the 1886-1887 edition of Girl’s Own Newspaper. (Which obviously didn’t have the audio file, but did have the poem on which the song was based, according to its table of contents)

    It seems that the website Mostly-Victorian.com has all the issues of this publication from 1880-1902 available for download (at a price of $5 each) along with various other publications from the same era.

    These Internets are amazing!

    (And some people say there’s no serendipity on the web…)

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