Some strange man is on the telephone
He keeps telling me my baby ain’t home
In the age of smartphone technology, kids today will never experience the true satisfaction of a phone’s click as it slams down into its cradle. New Edition’s Mr. Telephone Man brings us back to a day when your phone weighed as much as the nightstand it was sitting on. Before New Kids on the Block captured the hearts of teenage girls everywhere, Ralph, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike were the boy band that would inspire all future boy bands.
In Mr. Telephone Man, New Edition, which would later spawn Bobby Brown’s solo career and Bell Biv Devoe, laments about what must be a faulty telephone line, “because when I dial my baby’s number, I get a click every time.” So young, so naive. We just wanted to scoop them up and hug them and promise to answer every single one of their calls.
Mr. Telephone Man was the second single from their second album, New Edition, released in 1984. It was a follow-up to their mega-hit Cool It Now, which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Mr. Telephone Man reached No. 12. I was surprised to see that Mr. Who You Gonna Call himself, Ray Parker Jr., wrote and produced this song.
The 7″ release of the song came in an irresistible picture sleeve of the boys dressed as telephone repair men.