What does Telephone Line mean?

Electric Light Orchestra: Telephone Line Meaning

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Album cover for Telephone Line album cover

Song Released: 1977

Telephone Line Lyrics

Hello, how are you?
Have you been alright through all those lonely
Lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights?
That's what I'd say, I'd tell you everything
If you pick up that telephone, yeah, yeah, yeah
Hey, how you feelin'?
Are you still the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Nov 6th 2018 !⃝

    The song really does hits you hard. I mean consider the lyrics...it begins with the telephone ringing suggesting someones trying to reach a friend, a family member or what I like to think of, a sweetheart. All he wanted was that special someone in his life to pick up so he can share his thoughts with her. He waits and waits only to be comforted by the cold deafening silence of the telephones ringing.

    Then, he begins to tell us the things he would've said to her..."hello, how are u" " have u been alright to all those lonely lonely lonely nights" he only wanted to express his love and compassion to that special someone and show that he still truly cares for her. And then" that's what I would've told u" meaning he was never able to truly express himself. And then he says that " all the things we did were all for real not a dream" implying that all the good memories and feelings for both him and his sweetheart were real to him. Nothing was faked. Pure unconditional love for those...special moments. And then " doop and doolang" and " blue days, black nights" moments I feel is the most impactful. He wanted to express his love for her but at the same time...he was lonely. Loneliness from being away from her. And then he says how the " love u need aint gonna see through" and " the little things you planned aint coming true" unlike the things he wanted to say to her, he tells this to himself. Imagine a lonely man staring out all alone telling himself this. He imagined a life with but her but then realizes that not everything will go the way he wants it to go. The "love u need"- said to himself and the " little things" - not always will it be ideal reality he pictured. And then the part that is truly whats going on in his life is the most impactful chorus line repeated multiple times to provide the needed emphasis

    " oh, oh, telephone line. Give me some time. I'm living in twilight"

    Oh this telephone line. Again expressing his loneliness. But then he mentions how he needed some time. The story of telephone line in my opinion goes like this:
    it is about a man who needed some time off from his sweetheart but still loves her deeply. After all that time elapsed, he calls her only to be left with the lonely sound of a telephone ringing. Now he is in twilight- a place between reality and fantasy. A place where passion and idealism go to die.. A place in time were the ideal world he imagined for his love comes crashing down in front of him never to see the light of day
    and now, all he could truly do was express his loneliness...his love ... Most of all.....

    His own undying sadness

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 20th 2022 !⃝

    When I first heard this song back in the 70s,it was to me about a boy-girl relationship.
    Today,in 2022,in my 60s,i have a totally different perspective of it.
    Having lost my mum when she was just 68yrs old in 1993, my elder brother and my elder sister,both passed on in their mid 50s,i wish this telephone line could reach out to them. So I could tell them everything I didn't have the chance n years to say to them. I'm living in twilight describes my time on Earth.. I tear up when I listen to this song now.
    It's still a beautiful song.

  3. anonymous
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    Jun 27th 2020 !⃝

    It's a sad fact. Some relationships simply can't work,no matter how magical they were; no matter what you do to save them. This song captures that sadness like no other song I know of. Maybe it's the lyrical simplicity against the majestic, lilting music behind it that does it for me. I don't really know, but it may well be my favorite ELO song.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 14th 2020 !⃝

    It's about the passing of Buddy Holly and how he is now about of touch. He wonders why he had to go..and addresses the "disconnect." Buddy was no ordinary cat..His passing haunts many musicians.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 12th 2019 !⃝

    The song is easy to interpret.

    For the recent post, thanks for your info about this song.

    The high tech phone nowadays also rings and rings. Sometimes it's going to their voice mail.

    If you sent a text message in this era, it's usually a wrong number too. ha ha

    Yeah, the song and melody is nice. Great rock band.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 12th 2019 !⃝

    I think it's about Buddy Holly's passing.

    Buddy Holly's first breakthrough song was "Blue Days, Black Nights" and Jeff Lynne says he wanted to make it a sorrowful song in a "Del Shannon" sort of way.

    The line "I look into the sky, and I wonder why" is another indicator pointing toward this interpretation.

    Anyway, whatever, nice song.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 11th 2016 !⃝

    Telephone Line being about if they had talked (in a relationship) that it would have worked out but they broke up because of miscommunication of not talking about how they felt. So it's saying lyrics such as "don't you realize the things we did were for real not a dream"

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