1980s, 867-5309/Jenny, abandon phone number, Alex Call, backyard, bathroom wall, Jim Keller, made up, Music, One Hit Wonder, power pop, real girl?, second album, Tommy Tutone, Tommy Tutone 2, top five hit
867-5309/Jenny (Columbia, 1981)
As tends to happen with songs containing phone numbers, 867-5309/Jenny caused quite a stir with many people dialing the number and asking for Jenny. The story goes that Jenny was in fact a real girl and the band spied (or even wrote it themselves) her number on the wall of a men’s bathroom. ‘They had a good laugh about this for years and Jenny, for years, though lead guitarist Jim Keller was a real jerk for writing the song. In 2008, lead singer Tommy Heath still claims that Jenny was a real girl that the band knew and he wrote the number on a bathroom wall in a motel where they stayed. However, back in 2004, the other co-writer of 867-5309/Jenny Alex Call explained the real origins of the song: Jenny was not real and he made up the number while sitting around in his backyard. Keller showed up in the afternoon and the story became centered around a number on a bathroom wall. He wrote out the verses in 15 to 20 minutes and it was all in fun. But in no way real. Any and every one who has ever ended up receiving the phone number 867-5309 (doesn’t matter what area code) continues to receive many calls for Jenny at all hours of the day and night and usually ends up having to abandon the number.
867-5309/Jenny was a power pop song performed by Tommy Tutone released off their second album Tommy Tutone 2. It peaked at #4 in the U.S. in 1981 and #16 in 1982 (yes, it was that popular). Canadians were also enamored with the song, it peaked at #2 there.