Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tommy Tutone - 867-5309/Jenny

Tommy Tutone was a solid, straight-ahead rock band who came up with the killer single that most bands dream about.  That song, "867-5309/Jenny" shot to #4 on the charts and helped make Tommy Tutone 2 a #20 LP.  Interestingly, that was not Tommy Tutone's only top 40 hit (although they are often considered a one hit wonder) ... but more on that later.

The Northern California band was led by lead singer Tommy Heath and guitarist Jim Keller.  The group was originally called Tommy and the Tu-tones; this eventually was shortened to Tommy Tutone.  While there is some mythology around the song, it was simply a made-up story as there was no Jenny.  The song was co-written by Jim Keller (Tommy Tutone) and Alex Call (who also wrote "Perfect World" for Huey Lewis and the News and "Little Too Late" for Pat Benatar).

As alluded to before, Tommy Tutone had a minor hit in 1980 with "Angel Say No," which was my first choice for the blog.  However, it does not appear that a video was ever made for that song, so we put up an audio clip on the ERV Facebook page.  "Angel Say No," from Tommy Tutone's 1980 self-titled debut album, peaked at #38.

Unfortunately, the band's third album, 1983's National Emotion, barely broke the top 200 album charts and the group broke up.  Jim Keller remained in the industry, while Tommy Health apparently left the music business for a time.  They both have occasionally recorded and performed, and I believe that Tommy Heath has a version of Tommy Tutone together as of this writing.

Cool trivia fact:  The actress in "867-5390/Jenny" is Karen Morton, Playboy's Playmate of the month for July 1978.  For those who are interested, there is an interview with her on the Noblemania blog.


  1. Now That's Eighties
    Love Guitar Jangle...
    If They Play A Telecaster I'm There.
    Hey, Just A Suggestion
    I've Been Rockin On Sparks
    "Cool Places"
    Now That's 80's

    1. Ahhh, "Cool Places" with Jane Wiedlin -- I had forgotten about that one, guess it's another vid for the list.

      I totally agree about the Telecaster; the band also used a Stratocaster for the rocking parts -- it was practically a Fender convention.