Singer/songwriter Jack Lee formed The Nerves with fellow San Francisco street musicians Peter Case and Paul Collins. He had moved to LA but the Sunset Strip was now a shadow of its former self, and the band were something of a West Coast anomaly with their short hair, suits and skinny ties.
They survived, though, to become influential fellow-outcasts on a club scene that nurtured LA punks The Weirdos and The Germs.
After releasing a self-titled EP full of three-part harmonies and post-Beatles melodies in 1976, The Nerves grew apart.
It was in the summer of 1978 – when Jack Lee had hit rock bottom – that his phone rang and a voice said “This is Deborah Harry. I’m in a band called Blondie and we really like your song Hanging On The Telephone and we want to record it on our album”.
He had written and acetated the song back in 1974, inspired by an illustration in Alan Aldridge’s book, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. He now had mixed feelings about its inclusion on Blondie’s Parallel Lines: Grateful for the financial fillip and disappointed that it was not the version by The Nerves that hit big all around the world.
Peter Case went on to bigger things with The Plimsouls while Paul Collins headed up his own successful power pop band, The Beat.