Song Of The Day 8/4/2014: The Nerves - "Hanging On the Telephone"

How Original: This week's theme: Original versions of songs that weren't famous until somebody covered them. Got it? Simple enough? Great, 'cause I have a lot of deadlines in the next two weeks and I'm trying to crank all these things out as quickly as possible, kind of like how Lester Bangs wrote the Blondie biography.

And speaking of Blondie, "Hanging On The Telephone" was a hit for them in other parts of the world. Here in the U.S. it's got favored-deep-track status and fits right in with the rest of their '70s repertoire. It was originally done by The Nerves, a West Coast power pop band that cranked out one EP during their four unofficial years of existence. When you find out who was in The Nerves it's easy to see why they're revered by pockets of '70s new wave historians like Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. You had Peter Case, who wrote scads of great songs with The Plimsouls and for his solo career, and Paul Collins, who formed a lot of bands including The Beat that forced The Beat in England to become The English Beat. They (the Paul Collins Beat) got on the soundtrack to Caddyshack. My dossier on them is not as complete.

"Hanging On The Telephone" was actually written by the third Nerve, Jack Lee, in 1973, who was also in The Beat. He also helped out with Paul Young's entrance into our hearts as the songwriter of his first hit "Come Back and Stay." That wisp of romantic longing helped take Young's mind off toast.

This is either gonna be the week that I expose myself as a hack or make an irrefutable case for the Pulitzer. Place your bets.

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