Where does Call Me Maybe come from?
Call Me Maybe was co-written by Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, and songwriter Tavish Crowe. Jepsen reported that she expected they would edit her first-draft lyrics later, but Crowe convinced her to keep the song’s now-famous chorus: “Hey I just met you / And this is crazy / But here's my number / So call me maybe.”
The song, released in 2011, was initially confined mostly to Canada. Then mega pop star Justin Bieber returned home to Ontario for the holidays and happened to hear it on the radio. He tweeted "Call me maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is possibly the catchiest song I've ever heard lol." This brought the song to his over 18 million followers, and further increased the publicity by making a video with himself and some friends lip-synching to the song.
Thanks in large part to Bieber’s endorsement, Call Me Maybe became a smash hit in the United States in 2012. By June, it claimed the number one spot in the Hot 100, the first female-led song to get there in two years. It had also become an international success, reaching the top spot in 13 other countries, according to an MTV article from June 2012.
At the height of its popularity from 2012 to 2013, Call Me Maybe inspired a viral trend of posting lip sync videos of the song, notably by celebrities like Katy Perry and sports teams like the 2012 USA Olympic swimming team, which in turn triggered many parodies. Humorous remixes emerged, including Sesame Street’s “Share It Maybe” and a redub edited together from speeches of Barack Obama.
The fun, tongue-in-cheek nature of these videos contributed to the development of Call Me Maybe inspired memes. Image macros with part of the lyrics rewritten to suit the occasion were popular, as were complete rewrites of the song. Usually, the rewrites start with the lyrics Hey I just met you / and this is crazy, but…. For instance, one meme pictured the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would conceive Jesus along with the caption: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy...but I’m an angel, so have God’s baby?”
Who uses Call Me Maybe?
The song has become a bit of a byword for massively viral songs and videos, e.g., “the next Call Me Maybe?” A “Call Me Maybe moment” can also refer to a wild success, like Jepsen’s hit, or a spontaneous decision, as depicted in the song.
“Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but the last time LeBron lost a first round playoff game people listened to Call Me Maybe.”
Chris O’Shea @ChrisJOShea Twitter (April 24, 2017)
“I just found this long-lost video of what was a 10th grade English project where I wrote a parody of 'Call Me Maybe' and sang about the environment instead.”
Alex Pienkowski Facebook (May 1, 2017)
“But ‘Hotline Bling’’—whether video-remixed online or riffed on by Donald Trump—was the closest Drake has come in his career to a full-on ‘Call Me Maybe’ moment.”
Chris Molanphy, “Why Is Drake’s “One Dance” No. 1?” Slate (May 16, 2016)