Tommy Tutone and his 867-5309

By Carol Anne Szel

There are tunes where the myths and mystique surrounding them are more substantial than the songs themselves.

Tommy Tutone recorded “867-5309/Jenny” in 1982 on Columbia Records, causing an instant uproar about his leaked phone number.  Who is Jenny? Why does he want to find her? Why doesn’t she answer her phone?

The single, which by the way brought the album “Tommy Tutone 2″ to RIAA Gold status,  and covered over the last two decades hundreds of times on compilation records and by artists like Everclear, Goo Goo Dolls, Foo Fighters and dozens more.

And, of course, with notoriety comes, well, legalities.   The phone number was, well, literally stuck in the pipes of the court system for a time.  Seems a plumbing company in Rhode Island claimed bragging rights, which travelled to a sister company in Massachusetts which in time was part of a clock company, and general mayhem ensued until one or the other was mandated to stop using the now infamous phone number.  Businesses then snatched up the phone number in their area codes across the country, which they eventually sold on eBay.

Enough.  Enjoy the mystique.

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