Michael Been, circa 2010

Singer/bassist Michael Been of strident modern-rock trio The Call — best known for their ’80s radio hits “The Walls Came Down,” “I Still Believe” and “Let the Day Begin” — suffered a heart attack tonight backstage at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium and died. He was 60.

Publicists for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the band formed by Been’s son, Robert Levon Been, tonight confirmed the rocker’s death; the elder Been — who mentored BRMC over the years and produced the band’s most recent album, 2010’s Beat the Devil’s Tattoo — had been at Pukkelpop as the group’s sound engineer.

With Scott Musick and Tom Ferrier, Been formed The Call in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 1980. Marked by often-striking basslines and politically themed lyrics, the band’s scored radio hits with “The Walls Came Down,” “I Still Believe” and “Let the Day Begin,” the latter of which topped the U.S. mainstream rock charts in 1989. The band’s final charting single, 1990’s “What’s Happened to You?,” featured backing vocals by Bono.

In the 2000s, Been worked closely with his son, who initially performed under the name Robert Turner to distance himself from his father’s musical legacy. According to BRMC’s publicists: “Often referenced as their fourth member, (Michael) Been spent countless hours in the studio acting in many roles from mentor and guide, to helping the now internationally revered band capture their sound to tape.”

See video of some of The Call’s classic songs after the jump…


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