Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When Phones Were In Booths, Not Pockets: Part 1

So here's the big deal now. We used to walk to make our phone call. Now we walk with our phone call.


Fun Time, Quiz Time
As the world progresses technologically, I don't know if it does in an emotionally matured way, many things around us become obsolete. Here's my take:

Not too long ago when telephone booths were in vogue and when people had no phones in their pockets, let alone video clips, photographs or the latest news items, these special structures usually found at street corners, were the only way you could get or relay an urgent message, if you were on the go.

In London, England and surrounding counties, these booths were red in colour. When I first saw them in London in the 70's I thought they look like big *ang pows or red packets.

But there were other ones of different colours, shapes and sizes. And these booths were very popular some years ago.

In later years, when phones became portable, they had other uses for the telephone booths e.g. as mini-libraries, tiny street bars, etc. and props as shown in these pictures. Here are some booths with their music superstars. 

Can you guess who the stars are?
Here are some great songs where telephones are mentioned in the lyrics.The artistes in the images have no connection with the song titles:

Chantilly Lace - Big Bopper (1958)
Beachwood 45789 - The Marvellettes (1962)
634-5789 Soulsville USA - Wilson Pickett (1964)

Party Line - The Kinks (1966)
Happy Together - Turtles (1967)
Syvia's Mother - Dr Hook and The Medicine Show (1972)
That's Not The Way It Feels - Jim Croce (1972)

Long Distance Operator - Bob Dylan (1975)
Telephone Line - ELO (1976)
Hanging On The Telephone - The Nerves (1976)

Love On The Telephone - Foreigner (1979)
Call Me - Blondie (1980)
I Just Called To Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder (1981)

Here's an American version of phone booths from Bob Dylan's perspective.

There are thousands in the phone booth
Thousands at the gate
There are thousands in the phone booth
Thousands at the gate
Everybody wants to make a long distance call
But you know, they're just gonna have to wait

Just a phone call to a girl-friend but tone stems anger, unhappiness. Dylan's songs spell other meanings. But the venue was a phone booth.
You Tube Video: Off The Hook  from Rolling Stones
Video by creekmorebanks' channel 

This picture above with five gentlemen in phone booths can only be answered  by Singaporean readers. Name this group and where these booths were?
This last image by American comic book artist, Michael Allred is a little tougher. So clues coming right out. They are British Rock music stars of the 60's and 70's. You can find JH, The W., BJ, MJ, MF in her Girl on a Motorcycle leathers. Then comes DB (Ziggy Stardust). Anyone else?

All celebrating on Carnaby Street, with an obtrusive, larger than life, telephone booth. It's 2017 now so these artistes look younger in the picture.

Good luck and have fun.

Singapore Phone Booths:

Having booths in Singapore will be useless. The weather's too hot. Singapore coin phones long ago were open-air ones.
*An ang pow is a red packet with money inside given away during Chinese New Year.

Images: Google (telephone booths).



Hi Andy,

I just saw your post about telephones. I know where the photo of the Jets was taken because you told me!

There is at least one other record cover photograph taken at those phone booths but I don’t have that one and forget who it is!


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

So counting the one you showed me there are three existing local vinyl with phone booth pictures on the cover.

Thanks Steve for information.

Any help from you guys out there?


My guess in the telephone booth pix:

The Beatles
Tom Jones
Tom Cruise
Elvis Presley
Mick Jagger
Paul McCartney
The Jets

Carnaby Pix

Jimi Hendrix
The Who
Brian Jones
Mick Jagger
Marianne Faithful
David Bowie
Syd Barrett (brown suit - front)
John Lennon (hat - behind)

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Michael. You have always been so helpful with this blog. Appreciate your support.

Someone found the Dean Martin photo and I've added it in after Michael's answers were sent in.

I don't want to offend (he doesn't get offended) my good friend from the US, so DINO MARTIN PETERS here's the picture for you specially.

B (cool lady from Uni) said...

I will give it a try but I'm not so familiar with the stars though, probably will give hit or miss answers.

I think the first black and white one featured the Beatles? And maybe one of the dude in the brick wall is Cliff Richard? Is it Mick Jagger in the pastel green suit.

As for the SG band I think it might be the Quests or the Stylers? The picture is a little blurry.

How did I do? I hope at least one answer is right?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks B. As a young lady past your teens I think you did well.

To know about Cliff Richard and the Stylers shows you're much immersed in this little niche meant for 60's music lovers.

chakap chakap said...

The world's first telephone box was opened on January 12, 1881 at Berlin. Ticketing was used.

In 1899 it was replaced by a coin-operated telephone.

William Gray is credited with inventing the coin payphone in the United States in 1889.

The first telephone booth in London, England was probably in High Holborn in May 1903.

Starting in the 1970's pay telephones were less in booths in the US. In many cities booths have been completely replaced by non-enclosed ones.

Phone boxes declined sharply in Britain since late 1990's due to the boom of mobile phones.

Now they have become art artifacts, converted into mini-shops, tiny libraries or just left to disintegrate.

Let me know if you see one for free.


Dear Andy,

Firstly, let me wish you and your family a Happy New Year. I wonder if you remember the Billy Fury song, 'Phone Call' from his classic early album, 'The Sound of Fury'? Just a thought.


Andy Young

Andy Young
Hi SUI PANG, thanks for being the first thumbs up. Do you know all the top stars in the phone booth... More than 10 of them on the blog.

Andy Young

Stephen Han
I remember there was a phone booth besides the Silver Owl Cake Shop in Orchard Rd /Dhoby Ghuat. My friend used to call his gf now his wife from the booth.

When he cracked some jokes our friend, Albert Sum and myself would laugh out quite loudly. There was a traffic policeman on duty nearby and thought we were laughing at him cause he was in black uniform. He started to question us and said it’s illegal to have three persons on the phone booth.

I argued there was no such rule. He was not happy that we laughed and I said we were not laughing. Not satisfied he called a police van and brought me to K K Police Station. I was released after I have a favourable statement to the police inspector. 我是

Freda Hanum
Such an interesting article on telephone booths and the superstars, so unique, Such a vast change of before telephones compared to now.

Andy Young
Wow Stephen, what an interesting story. I need to make it into an independent posting for the blog. Thanks so much.

And Freda, thank you for reminding us of the vast change because we seniors understand but the young don't. THANKS to others who LIKE this post.

Stephen Han
Andy Young - Have you tried the curry puffs at the Silver Owl Cake Shop. It was fantastically good, nowadays you can’t find such delicious curry puffs.

Andy Young
No, I don't remember this place, Stephen. But now I know. Thanks to you. Yes it's true about today's curry-puffs, no more delicious like the ones from the 60s.


Ericbronson Wong
Oh Yes l can spot Tom Jones,
King Elvis,
Mick Jagger N
Macca... 🤠😎🤪🙄💪🖐️👌👍

Andy Young
Thanks ERICBRONSON. You're good.

Ericbronson Wong

Thx Bro Andy,
l would luv to sit down at a recommended Kopi tiam of yours n listen to Those Were The Days stories of Your Andy's Golden Era's Experience.

l like to have kaya n butter on toast as well, of course it would be on me it's my pleasure most humbly so to say, hee hee hee!


Have A Hip Hip Horray N Happy Go Lucky
Sing A Long Day O, Day O,
Day Delight I wanna sip More Kopi O!
😎😉 🤩😍💪🖐️🤘✌️👌👍👍☕☕