Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Edition - "Mr. Telephone Man"

Mr. Telephone Man - New Edition

(Debuted December 22, 1984, Peaked #12, 15 Weeks on the Charts)

I've mentioned before in this blog that I was once a technician for a phone company. Over the several years I did that, some of my customers had really interesting explanations for what they thought was going on, as well as strange requests. I was asked to check the line for electronic bugs. One guy started his explanation about his broken junction box with the words "I was a little drunk last night" and a story involving a baseball bat. I received a page from my dispatcher to fix lines that were cut by a drug dealer. I found shorts that were caused by hungry dogs. I even once searched for two hours to find a short that turned out to be a phone in the garage (which nobody in the house remembered was even there) that had fallen off the hook.

In all of that time, I never got a call explaining that the customer was getting disconnected after calling only one specific number. That's the complaint New Edition is lodging here. Written by Ray Parker, Jr., the song has a similar vibe to his own early 1980s hits. Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell and Bobby Brown trade turns on the vocal, while Michael Bivins does the spoken-word part in the middle. It just missed the pop Top 10, but went all the way to #1 on the R&B chart.

The video below was taken from an episode of the syndicated Solid Gold program, with Rick Dees doing the introduction. For some reason, Ronnie DeVoe didn't perform on the show. As a lip-synch, perhaps the fact that he had no lines to sing on his own would be considered confusing to the viewers?

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