Stevie Nicks was asked by Giorgio Moroder to record the American Gigolo theme song “Call Me,” which went on to become Blondie’s No. 1 hit. Ever since her debut with Fleetwood Mac and their breakthrough single “Rhiannon,” Stevie Nicks has become one of the most well-known female singers in the rock industry. Stevie Nicks had five singles on the Billboard Top 20 as a solo artist, including the iconic Tom Petty duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and the ’80s synthpop smash “Stand Back.”
Even after her peak on the charts years ago, she may still be seen in stadiums. Stevie Nicks earns twice as much on solo tours as she does on concert tours as she doesn’t have to split the revenue. Despite all of her success, Nicks failed to record what would have been her greatest solo hit to date. It was Blondie’s gain, her loss.
Stevie Nicks was asked to sing the American Gigolo Theme by Giorgio Moroder. Nicks was introduced to “Man Machine,” an incomplete instrumental theme for the planned neo-noir movie American Gigolo, featuring Richard Gere in his breakout role, by Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder in the summer of 1979. Reigning as Europe’s top disco producer, Moroder produced several successful Donna Summer records. He recently ventured into the mainstream music scene with the Los Angeles duo Sparks, who are well-known abroad. Their 1979 album No. 1 in Heaven, created by Moroder, came out before the ’80s synth duo (Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure).
Singers allowed Moroder to be in command, whereas bands demanded creative control, which is why he generally preferred singers over bands. For that song, he needed a female rock singer. Nicks was a no-brainer. But Nicks declined him because she couldn’t collaborate with Moroder, a musician on the Casablanca dance label, according to a recently signed contract with Modern Records. The lead vocalist of the NYC new wave group Blondie, Debbie Harry, with her golden hair, caught Moroder’s attention next.
Blondie had numerous songs in England, Europe, and Australia, but it wasn’t until recently that they made their breakthrough in their own country with the disco song “Heart of Glass,” from their third album Parallel Lines. Debbie composed the words for Moroder’s instrumental, which was renamed “Call Me.” His plan was to collaborate with her rather than the band, but Chris Stein, the guitarist for Blondie, showed in with his amplifier and started riffing. Blondie is given credit for the song, however the final version has her vocals and the harmonies of her band. The backing track is performed by the Moroder studio group.
Blondie’s song “Call Me” was a huge hit. Released on January 29, 1980, “Call Me” came out three days before American Gigolo opened in theaters. “Call Me” surpassed Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” to become the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to its catchy chorus and powerful riff. Blondie was number one for six weeks (April 19–May 24) before Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” ultimately forced her to go down. In 1980, “Call Me” peaked at the top of the Billboard year-end list. Additionally, it peaked at No. 1 in the UK and Canada and No. 2 in South Africa, Ireland, and Norway. “Call Me” reached at No. 4 in Australia, which was the first nation to give Blondie a success with “In the Flesh” in 1977.
This was Blondie’s second of four US No. 1 singles. They peaked at number one on Billboard in early 1981 with their reggae cover of “The Tide Is High” and their Chic-inspired song “Rapture.” Distressed by the lost chance, Stevie Nicks worked on her first solo album, which went platinum and produced three hits: “Leather and Lace,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and “Edge of Seventeen,” a country ballad featuring Don Henley.
With two mega-platinum albums under her belt (Mirage and Tango in the Night) and further solo hits with The Wild Heart and Rock a Little, Stevie was only getting started in this decade of greatness. “Call Me” was not the only chance she blew. Prince and Stevie Nicks sang a duet, “Little Red Corvette” inspired by “Stand Back,” but Prince went away. Too scared to be on his hugely successful Purple Rain record.
Nicks began a solo career in the height of her fame. Following the brief release of Buckingham Nicks, her lone album as a duo with her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, Nicks found herself at a loose end in 1974. Fortunately, they were invited to join Fleetwood Mac after Mick Fleetwood happened to hear the CD by chance. Together, they developed a musical friendship with Fleetwood and the other couple in the band, Christine and John McVie. Both of Nicks’s first two albums with the group, Rumours and Fleetwood Mac, peaked at number one and became multiplatinum.
Despite their wealth and popularity, their personal lives collapsed. They stayed together as a band, though. Christine McVie, the bandmate of Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks became close while Lindsey separated and John got divorced. Even after Nicks’s extramarital romance with Mick Fleetwood created more turbulence, Fleetwood Mac kept rising. She prepped for her solo debut in between Fleetwood Mac’s third and fourth albums. Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks’ debut album, went quadruple platinum and stayed on the Billboard 200 for three years. Blondie and Stevie Nicks were two of the biggest groups in rock during the 1980s and 1981s, thus it was a win-win situation for both when Stevie passed on Blondie’s biggest success.