When thinking about how many more interesting stories there might be in 80s pop music, so far I have only taken a look at the British and Australian singles charts from this decade. I do plan to take a look at the American chart too, but that is rather overwhelming, with so many charts for different genres, and then there is the Hot 100, which is the toughest market to break in the world.
There are just a huge amount of songs to choose from. So I decided for now to only take a look at the American Dance Chart number ones, because this is a genre that I like, and if they topped that chart, then they must’ve got all of the young people grooving on down on the dancefloor of whatever it is. I have picked out “Call Me Mr Telephone (Answering Service)”, which topped the chart for one week in June 1985.
This is by an American singer called Cheyne (her full name being Cheyne Anderson). She was only about 15 years old at this point, but she had already been on the music scene for a short while. In 1984 there was her debut single “Rude Boy”, and this was followed in 1985 by “Private Joy”, but this was the one that got her the most high-profile coverage.
Apparently she is also “a former hat check girl”. Now I don’t know why hats need to be checked, but if anyone could do it well, then I’m sure that it was her. And “Call Me Mr Telephone” was also a cover version. The original version was released in 1984 by the Italian dance group Answering Service, which is why the title for Cheyne’s version is slightly different, so people could tell the difference.
There was also a video made for this, featuring lots of people, and lots of telephones naturally. And of course, because this was the mid-80s, Cheyne was going to be “the new Madonna”, just like every other young female singer on the scene was going to be at this time, and guess what, after this song, she was barely ever heard of again. This didn’t make the Top 100 in the UK (or even the Top 150), making the lower end of the singles chart for a few weeks in May 1985.
By the way, many years later, there actually was a singer called Cheyne who topped the singles chart in the UK. She was the frontwoman of the Australian group Madison Avenue, best known for “Don’t Call Me Baby”, a success in 2000. I noticed some people on YouTube speculating about what exactly happened to Cheyne (the American one), and someone said that she got married to a member of The Pogues. I wouldn’t know if that’s true or not, but this was yet another singer who came and went fairly quickly and made a few good songs.