Song Of The Week: “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone

tommy tutone jenny singleThe most famous phone number of the rock ‘n’ roll era.

(Pop quiz, hotshot! Can you name the other 3 phone numbers to reach the Top 40? Hint: one of them stems from the pre-rock era.)

Tommy Tutone formed somewhere around San Francisco in the late 70s. Their name — like Jethro Tull or Pink Floyd (which one’s Pink?) — actually refers to the whole group, and not a specific member, like the lead singer, for instance, whose name is indeed Tommy, but whose surname, sadly, is not Tutone.

After a moderately successful debut in 1980, they struck gold the following year.  In a nutshell:

tommy tutone promoSongwriter Alex Call found himself strumming the old gee-tar out back of his house one day when he stumbled on a catchy riff and chord progression. Into his head popped this phone number and a girl’s name: Jenny. But he had no idea what the song was about or how to use the number. Enter Jim Keller, lead guitarist for Tommy Tutone, who came over to have a listen and joked that it should be a number written on a bathroom wall. “For a good time call …”

With a direction in mind they finished off the song in about 15 minutes. In 1981, the single hit #4 on the pop chart and eventually became a must at 80s Revival Nights.

Despite multiple claims to the contrary, there are no real Jennys. Only metaphorical ones.

So slip that dime into the nearest pay phone, and make a connection with Tommy Tutone.

Answers to pop quiz: this may have been slightly tricky since telephone exchanges in the olden days used words in place of the first 2 digits. So we have Glenn Miller’s “Pennsylvania 6-5000” on the charts in 1940, “Beechwood 4-5789” by The Marvelettes in 1962, and “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)” by Wilson Pickett in 1966.

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