Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Spotlight Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  0882
Date:  01/23/1982
Debut:  88
Peak:  4
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Rock, Power Pop

Pop Bits:  This group's 1980 self-titled debut featured their first Top 40 song with the #38 "Angel Say No." But that first effort would quickly get forgotten thanks to this smash from their second LP "Tommy Tutone-2." The song, which describes a guy getting up the nerve to call a girl's phone number (supposedly) found on a bathroom wall, slowly gathered steam from radio requests and reached #4. It was a massive success for the group and it ended up being so iconic that the group was never able to follow it up. Their next album was barely a blip on the chart and with no further chart singles, the group saw the writing on the wall and called it a day. A version of the group would release a couple of albums later in the 90s to little notice, but they will always be remembered thanks to this hit. Although technically not a one-hit wonder, due to "Angel Say No," they are often considered one thanks to this song.

ReduxReview:  The phone number dialed around the world! Back in the day, my group of friends hooked into a few albums and songs that would go on to help define those years. This is one of those songs. I remember one summer night we drove around and had this song on a continuous loop on cassette. We probably played it 20 times or more. We ended up driving to the local man-made waterfall attraction, The Cascades. You could walk up and down the sides and if there was a breeze, the water from the fountains would get you all wet as you walked up the falls. I remember it was hot and we all cooled off getting doused by the fountains. It was a lot of fun. And this song played its part in that memorable evening. Even when I hear the song now, the first thing that comes to mind is that night with my friends. Music can be so powerful in triggering great memories. Because of that, how can I not Spotlight this song?


Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) The phone number listed in this song became a nightmare for people who had it as their home number. It was a common prank to call the number in the various area codes and ask for Jenny. Some folks were so incensed that lawsuits were considered. People had to change their numbers due to the amount of crank calls they received - sometimes numbering in the thousands per day. It prompted a few businesses to pick up the number for promotional purposes. And after all these years, you'd think this would die down, but it still remains a popular. In 2010, a new area code (855) was added. This phone number was grabbed up in less that a minute after numbers were offered to the public. (Oddly, we made our share of crank calls back in the day, but we never called this one. Weird.)  2) Although up for debate between band members, the question everyone had was if there was a real Jenny and if that was her number. The song's originator, Alex Call, has written that he just came up with the name and number out of the blue as he was writing. When Tutone group member Jim Keller showed up, he said it was like a number on a bathroom wall and then the two set out to finish the song.  3) If taken as an actual number, 8675209 is a prime number.


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