The Story Of How Blondie Created Their Hit ‘Call Me’

The Story Of How Blondie Created Their Hit ‘Call Me’ | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Debbie Harry - BlondieMusicOfficial / Youtube

In the midst of Blondie’s success by the end of the ’70s, various pressures like label commitments, band member relationships, and the usual rock and roll lifestyle were the norm. The band was paying the price of the fame they were experiencing at the time.

The band was bound for more success going its way, however. Giorgio Moroder, dubbed as the Italian father of disco, was looking for a female singer for his instrumental creation that carried the working title of “Man-Machine”. He had previously reached out to Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac but the singer was too busy with other commitments, so he went to Debbie Harry instead.

The song was to be used as a theme track for a then-upcoming neo-noir film, American Gigolo. Harry wrote the lyrics of the song in a matter of hours by taking inspiration from the film’s images. “When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California,” she said.

“As soon as I heard Deborah singing a rough version of ‘Call Me,’ I knew we had a hit,” said Moroder. True enough, the song garnered a Grammy nomination and topped the Billboard charts for six weeks. A full album collaboration between Moroder and Blondie was in order, but the band’s interpersonal relationship stopped him from doing so. “There were always fights. I was supposed to do an album with them after that. We went to the studio, and the guitarist was fighting with the keyboard player. I called their manager and quit,” he said.

Harry wrote of the experience herself in her memoir Face It, saying: “To spend six weeks at No. 1 was a complete amplification of everything we had achieved outside of the United States. We didn’t expect it, but it legitimised us in this country and made people realise that we were adventurous and had a vision that could transcend the styles of the day. We embraced the punk attitude — we were happy but belligerent at the same time. I hear bits and pieces of ‘Call Me’ in other people’s songs even today, not direct copies of it, but similarities. Music either works or it doesn’t work. It was the right place, right time, right sound. It all just sort of fell into place. What could be better? What more could you ask for, really?”