Do you remember Meri Wilson?
I had forgotten who she was, assuming I ever really even knew who she was, until recently when I spotted a video on Facebook of the song for which she is known. I may not have remembered Meri Wilson, but I remembered the song.
The 1970s were an odd time in the world. I’ve heard the decade called the “hangover of the 60s”, but the decade had its own freaky vibe. Hippie fashions infiltrated the “normal” clothing style. Lots of stripes and paisleys and wide lapels and those bell bottom pants that were just so weird looking. Avocado green became an acceptable color for kitchen appliances. Shag carpeting was actually desirable. Weird!
And people were doin’ their own thing by jumping on whatever self-help fad was popular at the moment. “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Yeah, right. And everybody needed to know your sign. You know, I have a dream that one day young people will be asked by those old folks who lived through the 70s what their sign is, and they will have no idea what those old farts are talking about.
I can dream, can’t I?
And there was sex. Well, there was always sex, but this was during woman’s liberation, when it became OK for women to enjoy sex. And they could actively pursue it. It even became hip to have seen that 70s porn classic Deep Throat. And there wasn’t AIDS yet.
Men wore open shirts exposing matted rugs of chest hair adorned with gold necklaces displaying symbols indicating their signs. And just about everyone had long hair. Even the more conservative types would have a bit more shag to their hairstyles. And… ahem… people’s private areas tended to be allowed to – how shall I put it? – flourish.
Oh, what a time it was.
It was also a time of sexual double entendre pop and rock songs. Melanie had that pair of roller skates for which she was in search of a brand new key. Foghat wanted to go for a slow ride. Aerosmith was setting records with a big ten inch… something. AC/DC had their bouncing balls. And the Starland Vocal Band was going for those afternoon delights, which may have been less double entendre and more straight forward in its meaning, but it was still kinda gross.
And there was the sweet and innocent appearing Meri Wilson and her telephone man. Ms Wilson was a model and singer/songwriter in the 70s and, in 1977, she released the song Telephone Man. In it she sings about this telephone man who was no ordinary guy who came over to give her what she needed. Oh, she got it in the bedroom and she got it in the hall and she got it in the bathroom. She even got it with a ding-a-ling.
Hey, as she tells us in the song, get it anyway you can.
A telephone, that is. I think.
The song was a hit and she released an album to take advantage of her new found popularity, but she never had another hit or released another album. The album was First Take and it included other songs of a similar nature as Telephone Man. There were Peter the Meter Reader, Dick the DJ (is Dick a noun or a verb?), and Santa’s Coming, in which she sings that, in return for the big surprise he gives her every year, she’ll have a small surprise for Santa when he arrives next Christmas. Hint, hint.
Normally, I’m not much of a fan of novelty songs, but I can’t help digging the song Telephone Man. Maybe because it’s so vaguely dirty.
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