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The Call

Despite great critical acclaim due to their literate, passionate rock, praise from some well-respected contemporaries, and a string of strong releases, the San Francisco band the Call never quite escaped cult status. The predicted breakthrough to a wider audience never materialized. Formed in the San Francisco area in 1980, the quartet, led by vocalist/guitarist Michael Been, released their self-titled debut in 1982 and earned positive reviews. The following year, the band issued Modern Romans and managed to broaden their fan base when "The Walls Came Down" became a minor hit single. In 1984, keyboardist Jim Goodwin replaced bass player Scott Freeman to round out the lineup for the release of Scene Beyond Dreams, which despite receiving more critical acclaim, failed to build on their commercial momentum. Reconciled followed in 1985 and featured guest appearances by Peter Gabriel (who had once referred to the band as "the future of American music") and Robbie Robertson. Both "I Still Believe" and "Everywhere I Go" achieved significant airplay on college rock and AOR stations, giving a boost to the band's profile.

The Call scaled back a bit from the anthemic feel of Reconciled for Into the Woods, but managed to score again at college rock outlets with the somber "In the River." Been took time out from the band in 1988 to appear as the apostle John in Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ. The band switched labels from Elektra to MCA in 1989, edging back into more radio-friendly territory with Let the Day Begin. The rousing title track became their biggest hit to date, topping the AOR charts and reaching number 51 on the pop charts, propelling the album to become their highest-charting release. Despite the success, when they returned with Red Moon, the Call had scaled back their sound, embracing an organic, more roots-oriented feel that recalled the Band (not surprising, as that act's Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson had both guested on earlier albums).

Perhaps their most mature and fully realized album, Red Moon made little impact beyond the Call's core audience (despite Bono lending vocals to "What's Happened to You?"). Been tested the waters as a solo artist and released the harder-edged On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough in 1994, managing to gain a bit of airplay with "Us." The Call was given the compilation treatment on a couple releases in the '90s, and reunited for Heaven & Back in 1997 and a tour. They subsequently issued a live record, Live Under the Red Moon, three years later. In 2010, Been died of a heart attack while touring (and working as a soundman) with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, founded by his son Robert Levon Been. Three years later, the Call reunited for a string of concerts with Robert on bass and vocals which resulted in a 2014 live album. ~ Tom Demalon, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Went to see Simple Minds mid-80s and the opening act, who I had never heard of, blew the doors off. That band was The Call and I've been a faithful fan every since. Thankfully, I got to meet Michael Been at Alice Cooperstown after their show back in the late 90s in Phoenix, AZ. That was a great night which included a performance at the Coyotes hockey game. The Coyotes adopted 'Let The Day Begin' as their theme song the next season, 1998-99 I believe.
Why doesn't anyone know about the call. They had major albums released. They're cool.
Pandora, you need the studio version of I Still Believe.
Man I was on an aircraft carrier in 1985-86 when Reconciled came out and fell in love with the band and then bought all thier other cassettes lol thats how old i am and then saw them when I left the Navy for college and saw them at the Rit\z in Detriot maybe 1987 or 88. I thought then that they would break out and make it big but part of me did not want them too because I wanted to enjoy them and keep them to myself and friends and see them at the small or medium size concerts. It was an awesome
Great band, great music "Let the Day Begin" still such a great song. Sad to lose Been.
I wish for that Pandora played every single song of there's
just saw them in Chicago as well Jennifer, very cool to hear BRMC cover The Call and the tribute from Robert to his father
Just saw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Robert did his father's songs beautifully. Now I've got two new bands I am loving to explore in greater depth.
milosdad
I saw these guys in the 80's while they toured to support their most poppy record. Never knew how bluesy and Americana they were. Like the stuff.
I'll always believe!
Michael Been Everywhere i go the best cant believe your gone
palf7
I STILL BELIEVE!
csgalvin6
I never knew Michael Been passed away. That just hit me like a ton of bricks.
I need Pandora to add the album Into the Woods so I can listen to In the River. It's one of my favorites from The Call.
i still believe..
They were based in Santa Cruz...anoth e r best band you never heard of.
The Call has been and always will be my favorite band ever! I've been blessed to see them twice when they were in Dallas. Amazing, amazing, amazing. It breaks my heart to think of Michael Been not being with us anymore. If only they understood all the bad time they've gotten me through.
fealtyvowed
I'm listening alone to my favorite Pandora radio mix, themed on The Call, and having just read the band's bio thru, I am now stunned to tears as I write. Michael Been, thank you for being a mentor as a singerand a big brother as a fellow pilgrim. We hardly knew you. Gone to heaven already?...O h , my....
I challenge anyone to come up with a better rock album, first cut to last, than Reconciled. My all time favorite! Thanks guys for all the great music. You truly deserved more notoriety and fame than you received.
Michael, you are loved, as you well know, but it doesn't hurt to hear those words...espe c i a l l y by those you touched here and who can spread that message to those who missed the opportunity directly.
R.I.P. Michael Been, you left us too soon
The write up says they are from San Fran, I thought they were from Oklahoma! ??
"Another hot Oklahoma night" fantastic poets they are, were...alas
colofornian
Lived with KROQ 1978 to 200x and I loved The Call! (LOVED KROQ) Their style and sound is unique and fills a pleasant space in listening. Modern Romans was refreshing.
devastator81 9 2 0 0 2
Seen them twice live 15 years ago or so,very talented and appreciative of their fans. Really dug being there,they came back out for 5 encores. They seemed blown away by the crowds energy. It really showed,as a band they were tight.Awesom e shows, never forget em.
I STUMBLED ON THEM BY CHANCE.I BECAME A FAN VERY FAST STILL A FAV OF MINE
I loved this band on MTV. Where did they go????
What ambiguity is there in their social message? I'm not sure what you're referring to exactly...
Michael Been's deep, powerful, urgent vocals make up for whatever ambiguity is found in this group's social message. Reconciled may be their best album.

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