867-5309/Jenny

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"867-5309/Jenny"
Single by Tommy Tutone
from the album Tommy Tutone 2
B-side"Not Say Goodbye"
ReleasedNovember 16, 1981
Format7-inch vinyl
Recorded1981
GenrePower pop,[1] pop rock, jangle pop
Length3:47
LabelColumbia 02646
Writer(s)Alex Call
Jim Keller
CertificationGold (RIAA)
Tommy Tutone singles chronology
"Angel Say No"
(1980)
"867-5309/Jenny"
(1981)
"Get Around Girl"
(1983)
 
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"867-5309/Jenny"
Single by Tommy Tutone
from the album Tommy Tutone 2
B-side"Not Say Goodbye"
ReleasedNovember 16, 1981
Format7-inch vinyl
Recorded1981
GenrePower pop,[1] pop rock, jangle pop
Length3:47
LabelColumbia 02646
Writer(s)Alex Call
Jim Keller
CertificationGold (RIAA)
Tommy Tutone singles chronology
"Angel Say No"
(1980)
"867-5309/Jenny"
(1981)
"Get Around Girl"
(1983)

"867-5309/Jenny" is a 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 1982 (see 1982 in music).[2]

The song caused a fad of people dialing 867-5309 and asking for "Jenny".[3][4]

Creation[edit]

"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."[5] However, 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.[6]

Lead guitarist Jim Keller, interviewed by People in 1982, tells a different story. "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."[7]

Covers[edit]

The song Jenny has been covered by a number of artists, including Everclear, Foo Fighters, Less Than Jake, Bracket, Crease, Jenny's Gentleman, the Goo Goo Dolls and Nirvana.

In 2003 singer-songwriter Mark Weigle included the song on his album Different and the Same. Weigle changed the title to "867-5309 Jimmy".

Popularity and litigation[edit]

The song, released in late 1981, initially gained west-coast popularity 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.[8]

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.[9]

In some cases, the number was picked up by commercial businesses or acquired for use in radio promotions.

A study on the security of numerical passwords in 2012 revealed that 8675309 is the fourth most common 7-digit password, speculating that it is easy to remember because of the popularity of this song, despite being otherwise fairly random (as opposed to the #1 most common 7-digit password: 1234567).[26] On Microsoft's WebTV (in standby mode) 8675309 is a hidden code which causes the unit to call Microsoft for firmware updates.[27] 8675309 is prime, and is part of a twin prime pair.[28]

An October 2011 WBTV local newscast reported that a majority of retail loyalty programs which use the client's local telephone number alone as an identifier showed 867-5309 as registered and eligible for point-of-sale discounts.[29]

In 2011, the Mayo Clinic released a public service announcement "Jenny please watch your numbers, Blood pressure, lipids and BMI", as an online music video which used portions of the 1982 original, including the number.[30]

Springsteen controversy[edit]

Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen's popular single "Radio Nowhere" features a set of guitar riffs at the beginning that many fans considered particularly similar to "867-5309/Jenny", although the lyrics and the tone of the two songs are quite different. Heath said in response, tongue-in-cheek, "the kids do need braces so maybe I will [sue Springsteen for musical plagiarism]". Heath clarified later on that he had no actual intention whatsoever of taking action and that he felt "really honored at a similarity, if any".[31]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1981–82)Peak
position
US Billboard Top Tracks1
Canadian RPM Top Singles2
US Billboard Hot 1004
New Zealand Singles Chart32

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "'Tommy Tutone 2' Review". Allmusic. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). Billboard Publications. p. 638. 
  3. ^ "'867-5309/Jenny'". Urban Legends Reference Pages. snopes.com. July 9, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b LaMarca, Stephen (July 24, 2011). "Jenny 867-5309 Won't Lead to Jenny". The Hudson Reporter. p. 3. 
  5. ^ La Porte, John (July 3, 2009). "BOB Stock Back". Fort Morgan Times. Retrieved September 1, 2011 – via NewsBank. 
  6. ^ Tutone, Tommy (March 28, 2008). "Tommy Tutone '867-5309/Jenny' Live". WGN Morning News (Chicago: WGN-TV). Retrieved September 1, 2011 – via YouTube. 
  7. ^ a b c Bricker, Rebecca (May 31, 1982). "Tommy Tutone's Got Your Number—if It's 867-5309—as America Dials Up a Musical Party Line". People. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "867-5309 Is not Jenny". Lakeland Ledger. May 16, 1982. p. 2A. 
  9. ^ Price, Mark J. (April 29, 2012). "Local History: There Is No Jenny at 867-5309". Akron Beacon-Journal. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ Brener, Julie (September 10, 1999). "New Phone Exchange Leads to Confusion, Prank Calls". The Brown Daily Herald (Brown University) – via [1]. 
  11. ^ "Gem Plumbing Inc. - Plumbing Contractor". Lincoln, RI: Gem Plumbing Inc. 
  12. ^ "1-800-Catchy-Number: Makes-a-Lot-of-Money". Baltimore Sun. March 9, 2004. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Jenny Is Now Toll-Free: Seller Puts 800-867-5309 on eBay". Ecommercebytes. February 20, 2004. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ McDonald, Mac (October 22, 2013). "Tommy Tutone Headlines the First Rock and Chocolate Fest". Go Magazine. The Herald (Monterey, CA). 
  15. ^ "Plumbers Fight for 'Jenny' Number". USA Today. Associated Press. May 20, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing". Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Retrieved September 1, 2011. 
  17. ^ "2 Plumbing Companies Battle for Rights to 867-5309 Telephone Number". Fox News. Associated Press. May 19, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  18. ^ Negus, Beth (March 17, 2009). "Nutrition Firm Leases 800-867-5309: Jenny Probably Not Included". Chief Marketer. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  19. ^ "867-5309 For Sale". Tampa FL: WTSP-TV. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  20. ^ "'867-5309' Number for Sale on eBay". CNN. February 2, 2009. 
  21. ^ Duke, Alan (February 3, 2009). "'867-5309' Bids up to $365,000". CNN. 
  22. ^ Search for 8**-867-5309 and 8**-736-5000 on search.tollfreenumbers.com/Lookups.asp
  23. ^ SMS/800 database (lookup on www.800forall.com) and Florida public corporation registry data (lookup on www.corporationwiki.com). Both the 844 and 855 numbers are controlled by the same entities.
  24. ^ McKay, John (January 29, 2013). "Tommy Tutone’s One-Hit Wonder ’867-5309′ Now Really Is for a Good Time!". Pasco, WA: KFLD-AM. 
  25. ^ Seifter, Miriam (June 14, 2013). "Opinion Analysis: In Deciding American Trucking, the Court takes a Narrow Road". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  26. ^ PIN analysis by DataGenetics [2], September 20, 2012.
  27. ^ "Advanced DishPlayer Codes". Satelliteone.com. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  28. ^ "The First 100,000 Twin Primes". 
  29. ^ O'Boyle, Maureen (October 2012). "Stretching Your Dollar: Jenny's Number Saves Money". Charlotte, NC: WBTV. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  30. ^ "'Know Your Numbers': Mayo Clinic Parodies '867-5309/Jenny' Song To Promote Heart Health". The Huffington Post. October 24, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  31. ^ Horowitz, Carl F. "Sue Me, Sue You: Musical 'Plagiarism' in Court". National Legal and Policy Center. Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008. 

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