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.
Please Mr Postman, The Marvelettes (1961)
Return to Sender, Elvis Presley (1962)
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”
I’ll take the low hanging fruit.
P. S. I love you, Beatles, 1962
And who could forget that 21st century classic
The Texting Song by the Slumber Party Girls (2008)
Haven’t set it to music, but I did modernize one of Heine’s poems for the Facebook & text-messaging era…
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
That’s quite good, David.
Telephone: Chantilly Lace, The Big Bopper
Telephone Line, Electric Light Orchestra
The Letter by the Boxtops
Here’s a fun cover by Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, 1940
opps, 1970, not 1940
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.
We count on Readerz to cover any gaps in our knowledge…
Yes, I remember your variation on Heine, David, it only improved with time!
Hangin’ On The Telephone
Blondie — Parallel Lines (1978)
Pixies – Letter to Memphis.
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:
“Telephone Line, Electric Light Orchestra”
–I second that song. A fantastic one!
Great post David, very cool.
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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