When you think about it, and/or read the backstories of such songs, you wonder why having a song title as a phone number could spell doom to those citizens and businesses who have the very same numbers. In other words, depending on what position the song is ranked at in the charts, listeners are likely going to whip their phones out to dial the numbers curious to know who's on the other line. As a matter of fact, maybe this article may urge aspiring musicians to come up with a song titling it with a phone number. Could we make that trendy again?
It sure was thanks to that popular hit calling for Jenny. In fact, you'd be surprised to know there are other songs that followed suit, but let's start with the obvious one:
• "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone (1981):
According to bandmates, Jenny was a girl one of them knew personally. Writing her number at a motel room, in the men's bathroom, one of them decided to call the number and oddly enough, they dated for a while. Other sources state that the song writer fabricated the name "Jenny" and the musical arrangements fit with the rhythm in the making of the song. Last I read about the song was that lead singer Tommy spontaneously dialed the number, asked who answered and it was a woman named "Jenny," thus decided to compose a song after it.
Whatever the case, the official music video is kind of fun. It's very much Tommy looking to sneak in through Jenny's bedroom window only to get caught by police getting arrested. His mug shot very much made the entire video.
Still a huge hit to this day, but let's go all the way back in time—the forties:
• "Pennsylvania 6-5000" by Glenn Miller and the Orchestra (1940):
A classic jazz/swing song that may have fired up the idea of having a phone number as a song title. It may not look like an actual phone number but back then, they implemented what's called telephone exchange names. The actual number translated in today's standards would be "736-5000." This track was used in films, such as The Majestic and Any Given Sunday.
(This is for you, Glenn Miller!)
• "Beechwood 4-5789" by The Marvelettes (1962):
Using the not-used-anymore telephone exchange name, the actual phone number of this song would be "234-5789." The song is about a girl being flattered by a guy she just met, mingling through dance, hoping they could meet at her place giving him her number to keep in contact. Simple song but a true classic.
This song was also covered by The Carpenters in the early eighties.
• "777-9311" by The Time (1982):
Yup, an R&B song by The Time that happened to be recorded at Prince's home (listening to the song, it almost sounds like a track from Prince). As a matter of fact, legendary artist 2Pac made a musical reference to this song in his hit Whatz Ya Phone #?; MC Common mentioned this song's title in his song Puppy Chow.
It just so happens that the phone number is the number of , who is a guitarist for Prince.
• "634-5789" by Tina Turner & Robert Cray (1989):
Originally recorded and sung by Wilson Pickett back in 1966, Tina Turner covered and released her own variant of the song.
While there isn't much back story, the only fact was when Wilson Pickett performed the song in the film Blues Brothers 2000. Whether you liked the Pickett or the Turner version is very much up to your taste.
Anyway, the release of the this song—if we lived back in that year of 1988—the number would have been (01) 853 5937 which is southeast London, UK. After the millenium, the modern day number is actually (020) 853 5937.
Not too bad of a list as we're sure you haven't heard some of these alternatives to Tommy Tutone's famous "867-5309" hit. We're also certain that the first artist to use a phone number as a song title will be the number that experiences a heavy amount of phone calls in the span of a week. How about make a song using the number 555-1212 or 555-6350? It's a number used on television and movies, and if you call those numbers, it rings endlessly so at least no one and no businesses feels violated thanks to a song release. Then again, anything goes nowadays.
If you know any other popular songs with phone numbers as the titles, mention them in the comments section below!