867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#4) & Mainstream Rock (1 for 3 weeks); 1982

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The nomadic lifestyle of Tommy Heath’s Air Force family exposed him to a great variety of music. He loved soul, played surf, and even tried his hand as a banjo-totin’ folkie. In the 1970’s Tommy performed country music. Years later, the execs at Columbia Records loved the name of Tommy’s one time college band, Tommy and The Two-Tones (after Tommy’s boyhood nickname), and used a shortened version of it for their newest act. Tommy Tutone’s first album yielded the #38 single Angel Say No in 1980. TT returned to the Top 40 in 1982 with a song inspired by a real person and her phone number. “Jenny” had given Tommy her phone number for him to pass along to TT guitarist Jim Keller. Instead, Heath scrawled it on a bathroom wall. Later Keller co-wrote a song about Jenny and her number. TT’s relentless repetition of the seven digits made for many a prank call in 1982: a phenomenon that continues today.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Jim Keller
  • Chuck Plotkin
  • Geoff Workman
  • Tommy Tutone

Lyrics Written by:

  • Alex Call
  • Jim Keller