Obits, Video — August 19, 2010 at 11:00 pm

The Call’s Michael Been, 1950-2010

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…


  1. A real shame. Here’s what I just posted on Velvet Rope:


    A few years ago for The Call Yahoo group, I assembled a DVD featuring all their videos, promo material, and known TV appearances (MTV Live at the Ritz and Arsenio). I know there was talk about getting a copy to Michael letting him know how much his music still meant to folks. Hopefully he knew…

  2. so sad. rip michael. you’ll be missed.

  3. Scott Holmberg

    Long been one of my favorite groups. He was the main reason. His day has just begun!
    This picture, also used elsewhere, is stupid. Really stupid.

  4. Just finished listening to Reconciled (’86) in tribute!

  5. shit! we were just talking about him/them.
    saw the call open for peter gabriel outdoors in montreal around 83, was not familiar and loved em! they had garth hudson playing keybs.
    r.i.p. sir.

  6. Mike Myers

    I will miss him greatly, As I grew up with this band . The Call was my U2 for me what theirs was” sad day.

  7. Noel Turner

    I still miss this guy. “The woods” is still in my top three songs EVER. Simply awesome piece of expression.

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