1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Tears On The Telephone – Gerry Grayson & Debbie

Tears On The Telephone – Gerry Grayson & Debbie

Tears On The Telephone – Gerry Grayson & Debbie

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this is a soppy song and somewhat irritating. It starts off with a young girl answering a telephone call from a man and, as the conversation unfolds, it becomes clear that the man is the girl’s father who is estranged from the girl’s mother and that the girl is unaware that she is speaking to her father.

The Debbie who does the spoken part of the little girl was Debbie Mann, the daughter of Matt Mann who was the owner of RPM records at the time. She does a decent job of being the chatty girl although the lines feel slightly forced when judged against the more modern child actors we have these days. But back in the day, this would have been regarded as cute.

While Debbie’s lines are all spoken, Gerry’s are all sung and he has a strong, country tinged voice which fits in with the tune which also has a kind of country sound. He manages to inject feeling into his voice to get a real sense of the emotions a man may have when speaking to a daughter who does not know who he is and Gerry makes one sympathise with him.

The song appears to have originally been recorded by a French singer called Claude Francois and has not dated brilliantly. It harks back to a time when ‘divorce’ and ‘separation’ songs were very popular (think of Daniel Boone’s ‘Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast’ and Mud’s ‘Lonely This Christmas’) and does sound rather kitsch today. However, back in the day, we loved this kind of stuff and Gerry’s tears fell onto the charts and climbed up to number 12.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 1 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40485 (CD)


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