Taking Another Look at The Call

Posted: September 9, 2014 in Alternative, Band Profiles, Rock
Tags: , , , , ,

The Call was an American band that had mediocre chart success in the eighties. Their lyrics were politically charged and there was a passionate, anthem-like quality to their music. They were considered rock but there was definite new wave influences. The Call were critically acclaimed and admired by some of the biggest acts of the time but for whatever reason they were never able to achieve commercial success. Maybe it was because lead singer Michael Been just didn’t have the look that the MTV generation wanted. He was stout and scruffy and wasn’t the flashiest of front men, but he could sure belt out a song with as much emotional sincerity as the best of them.

They also had quite a long run, having been active from 1980 to 2000. Their biggest chart success was with the single “Let the Day Begin,” which reached No. 51 on the Billboard Charts in 1989. (Side note, this was Al Gore’s campaign song for his run in 2000). But it was their earlier material that made me a fan. Sadly, Michael Been died in 2010 at the age of 60. He was on tour as a soundman for his son’s band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club when he had a heart attack at a show in Hasselt, Belgium. I’ve always regretted not seeing them in concert, as I hear they were a pretty great live band.

One of my favorites from the group is “The Walls Came Down.” A song that combines biblical references with an anti-war message. The year was 1984, after all. It’s a pulsating, urgent song with plenty of Michael Been howls.

 

“Everywhere I Go” is a single off of the 1986 album Reconciled. It was no secret that Michael Been was deeply religious, and it’s on full display on this track. Another guitar and drum-driven tune with Been at his growling best. Listen closely and you can hear Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Peter Gabriel on background vocals.

 

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