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 same, don't you realize the things we did
We did were all for real, not a dream
I just can't believe they've all faded out
Of view, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ooh

Blue days, black nights
I look into the sky (the love you need ain't gonna see you through)
And I wonder why (the little things you planned ain't comin' true)
Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight
Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight

Okay, so no one's answering
Well, can't you just let it ring a little longer
Longer, longer oh, I'll just sit tight
Through shadows of the night
Let it ring forever more, oh

Blue days, black nights, doo wah doo lang
I look into the sky (the love you need ain't gonna see you through)
And I wonder why (the little things you planned ain't comin' true)
Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight
Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight

Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight
Oh, oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight


Lyrics submitted by Kenobi65, edited by benno118, Gruntcake

Telephone Line Lyrics as written by Jeff Lynne

Lyrics © Kanjian Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Telephone Line song meanings
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41 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    this song is amazing. but it's sad. it's about missing someone and waiting for them to call, i think. or calling them and they won't answer

    pandora_ash_avalieon June 29, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    this song is all about despair, and catches the narrator at a highly desperate point - you can feel the hopelessness in his voice, and that's the genius in Jeff's performance - it doesn't seem to me that he's overtly blaming himself for all the failure; rather, he just can't understand why it's all gone; and that may be worse

    rockboy52on February 28, 2013   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    I feel like this one is an existential song. Like how these artists are always giving voice to not only thoughts but feelings in their lyrics. They will be talking about a relationship in one verse, and the next they're addressing the real questions and wonders not only of the individual, but of humanity itself. This song seems like it's about someone trying to reconnect with an old flame, then it becomes a song about loss, and about loneliness and life itself, and the living of life. The speaker seems to say to hold on to the things we have and the things we had, and don't give up hope for more to come in the future.

    I've seen people bring God into the equation, to say that the voice is God trying to connect to us. But it could even be us, the human spirit trying to connect to the divine, or the Universe, to no longer be so alone in our humanity, in our existence. And the same might be said for God, or an isolated divine that maybe created life simply because it was alone in the Universe. And these two things are forever to try to reach, if it takes eternity but we won't hang up the phone because we know something is on the other end.

    I have this pet theory, as above, so below, our connections and relationships are analogous to the phenomena and characteristics of the cosmos. So the connection between two people is analogous to the connection between particles or forces, or two divines. I think this song speaks about that nature, and our basic questions about ourselves and reality itself. Living in twilight is to not know, and to not be able to move on. Stuck between day and night.

    grimjackon January 20, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    this is about a man, after breaking up with his girl, sitting at home, calling her. she has plans that night even though he doesn't, he just longs to talk with her, and see how she's been doing, and remind her of all the good times they had together.

    that is all.

    nunoo767on March 06, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Memory

    The time we have is a gift. Don't waste it. Tomorrow may not come and spend your time with those who love you and you them. Don't take anything for granted. Also broken hearts teach us to be better people, thru heartache we grow and learn so much and we have an obligation to teach our children and also to introduce them to all genres of music. Music is a gift and I'm sure God is turning up the volume in heaven. Even if you hate the music your kids like, accept it and by doing so they may take time to listen to songs like Telephone line. Music lifts our soul, it gets us off it makes us cry and makes us laugh, makes us think and remember. Thank you ELO for all you have given us.

    Cathyvalon April 15, 2024   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I always pictured a guy at a pay phone, standing in the rain (wait, that\'s a different song), putting his last dime in and hoping against hope for an answer.

    gpciieon April 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is amazing. but it's sad. it's about missing someone and waiting for them to call, i think. or calling them and they won't answer

    pandora_ash_avalieon June 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Awesome song. I don't find it too depressing, though. On the contrary I think it's rather hopeful. Yea, his circumstance sucks, but he's not giving up which is half the fight. Also, while there are memories seemingly directed at an individual, in my mind they could just be generic impressions left from past lovers and the man is making a metaphorical/hypothetical/fantasized phone call to whoever will pick up and recognize that he still has something to offer.

    I like to see a lot of people with parents who got them into ELO. Makes me think I'm not the only 22 year old listening to these guys! :p My mother owned A New World Record when she was my age, but I found ELO on my own while downloading mad tunes in high school for my spiffy iRiver. Went on to buying their entire discography and have been listening to them ever since. Great stuff and really cool to see the band's dramatic transformation through the years from heavy prog-rock ala The Move, to straight up orchestral rock in Eldorado, to pop-rock as they started getting really popular, on to disco along with their decline in chart ratings and finally head first into synth-pop starting with Xanadu, but taking full force in albums Time and Balance of Power. Pretty wild stuff. Don't forget Moment of Truth, though! Breaking Down The Walls and Twist Of The Knife are freakin' raw. ELO Part II had some good stuff, but Jeff, where'd your painfully poetic touches go? They needed you.

    DamnUniversePoliceon October 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Whoa. Dunno if this was the intent of ELO or not, but this song bears a few distinct similarities to the Twilight Zone episode "Night Call".

    Salvaron November 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    It's about a guy trying to talk to someone - could be a break up, could be God, could be humanity, could be himself - about how the dreams/goals/visions of the past didn't come true. He's also losing hope that they ever will.

    Nookohon June 02, 2016   Link

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