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Michael Been AKA The Call

The Call formed in Santa Cruz in 1980 by vocalist/guitarist Michael Been, Scott Musick, and Tom Ferrier. Been and Musick were originally from Oklahoma. Beginning with their self-titled debut in 1982, the band went on to produce a total of 10 albums by 2000.

The eponymous premiere album was recorded in England, and Michael Been later recalled that the band was in an exploratory phase at this point. Been noted in a 1988 interview, "The Call was a compassionate album, but it probably came out as anger." Peter Gabriel liked the band so much that he asked them to open for him during his 1982 "Shock the Monkey" tour.

The next album, Modern Romans, was notable for its political content. Been later stated, "There was a great deal happening politically - Grenada, Lebanon, or the government saying the Russians are evil and the Russian government probably saying the same about us. That kind of thinking inspired me to write the last lines of 'Walls Came Down'."

This was followed by Scene Beyond Dreams. Been has referred to it as The Call's "metaphysical" album. With a strong poetic sense to the lyrics and a change in instrumentation, the change in sound is notable. Garth Hudson of The Band played keyboards on these first three records.

Reconciled was recorded during the summer of 1985. At this point, the band had not had a recording contract for two years, due to what Been describes as "legal bickering" between The Call's former record label and their management company. However, once the deal was signed with Elektra Records, the band resumed playing and produced their most commercially successful album to date. Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds's Jim Kerr, and Hudson and former Band mate Robbie Robertson all guested the album which was released in 1986. Several tracks from the album became hits on the Mainstream Rock Chart, and one of these tracks, "I Still Believe" was re-recorded by Tim Capello, Russ Taff and appears on the soundtracks of the 1986 Movie The Whoopee Boys and the 1987 movie The Lost Boys.

Next came the band's 1987 release Into The Woods, which Been has referred to as his favorite album.

In 1989 they released Let the Day Begin, whose title track reached #1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. Red Moon, which included background vocals by U2's Bono, was released in 1990.

During the next few years, Been branched out creatively. He participated in composing and performing the music to Paul Schrader's 1992 film Light Sleeper. The film also features two of his songs, To Feel This Way and World On Fire. In 1994, he recorded a solo album, On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough

In 1996, Warner Bros. Records. released The Best of The Call, which featured a selection of old favorites and few new songs. Two of the songs, Us and To Feel This Way, were different versions of tracks later to be seen on Been’s solo album, and in the case of "To Feel This Way", the "Light Sleeper" soundtrack as well.

It should be noted of the Call's Christian influence, thus in 1997 To Heaven and Back, was released by Fingerprint Records. This was followed by a live album, Live Under the Red Moon, in 2000.

The band is not currently touring. The band had a fan club called "Notified" and the information contained in their newsletters is in the file section of the Yahoo! groups list.

Al Gore used "Let The Day Begin" as his campaign song in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election and Tom Vilsack used it as his song during his brief 2008 U.S. Presidential Election campaign.

Michael Been has appeared as a sideman in bands fronted by actor Harry Dean Stanton; Stanton having played harmonica on "Let The Day Begin" track "For Love". He played the apostle John in Martin Scorsese's 1988 feature film The Last Temptation of Christ and has some film credits.

Been's son, Robert Levon Been, is the frontman for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Michael Been is heavily involved in BRMC, as their sound engineer, and can be found on tour with them.

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