Tommy Tutone – 867 5309/Jenny
(CBS Records 1981 A2062)
“PROMOTION COPY NOT FOR SALE”
Vinyl in Nr MINT condition
Tommy Tutone is a power pop band, best known for its 1981 hit “867-5309/Jenny”, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it is usually referred to as a San Francisco band, it was actually based in Willits, California, at the time that “Jenny” was released. The song became so popular that people in the United States to this day dial this telephone number and ask for Jenny as a prank. Regarding the famous number, “We had people threatening to sue us. It was the Buffalo Chief of Police‘s daughter’s number in New York,” said frontman Tommy Heath.
A common misconception is that Tommy Tutone is the name of the lead singer; it is actually the name of the band. Tommy Heath is the lead singer. The name of the band developed from its original name, Tommy and the Tu-tones, to merely Tommy Tutone.
“867-5309/Jenny” is a 1981 song written by Alex Call and Jim Keller and performed by Tommy Tutone that was released on the album Tommy Tutone 2, on the Columbia Records label. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #16 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart in May 1982.
The song caused a fad of people dialing 867-5309 and asking for “Jenny”.
Lead guitarist Jim Keller, interviewed by People in 1982, said “Jenny is a regular girl, not a hooker. Friends of mine wrote her name and number on a men’s room wall at a bar. I called her on a dare, and we dated for a while. I haven’t talked with her since the song became a hit, but I hear she thinks I’m a real jerk for writing it.”
On March 28, 2008, Tommy Tutone lead singer Tommy Heath stated on the WGN Morning News that the number was real and it was the number of a girl he knew. As a joke, he wrote it on a bathroom wall in a motel where they were staying. “We laughed about it for years,” he said.
“There was no Jenny,” songwriter Alex Call told a Tampa, Florida, columnist in June 2009. “The number? It came to me out of the ether.”
In the music video, the “Jenny” character is played by Karen Elaine Morton.
The song, released in late 1981, initially gained popularity on the American West Coast in January 1982; many who had the number soon abandoned it because of unwanted calls.
“When we’d first get calls at 2 or 3 in the morning, my husband would answer the phone. He can’t hear too well. They’d ask for Jenny, and he’d say ‘Jimmy doesn’t live here any more.’ (…) Tommy Tutone was the one who had the record. I’d like to get hold of his neck and choke him.”— Mrs. Lorene Burns, an Alabama householder formerly at +1-205-867-5309; she changed her number in 1982.
Asking telephone companies to trace the calls was of no use, as Charles and Maurine Shambarger (then in West Akron, Ohio at +1-216-867-5309) learned when Ohio Bell explained “We don’t know what to make of this. The calls are coming from all over the place.” A little over a month later, they disconnected the number and the phone became silent.
In some cases, the number was picked up by commercial businesses or acquired for use in radio promotions.
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