Monday, October 15, 2012

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack... One-Hit Wonders

This is prolly the ne-plus-ultra in the one-hit genre...

Jenny, Jenny who can I turn to?
You give me something I can hold on to
I know you'll think I'm like the others before
Who saw your name and number on the wall

Jenny, I've got your number

I need to make you mine
Jenny don't change your number
The song... aside from bein' one helluva rocker... generated a lot of Unintended Consequences, to wit:
The song, released in late 1981, initially gained west-coast popularity in January 1982; many who had the number soon abandoned it due to 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, random Alabama householder formerly at +1-205-867-5309, disconnected in 1982.[7]
In some cases, the number was picked up by commercial businesses or acquired for use in radio promotions.
  • In 2003, Southwest Junior High School had to change the school phone number due to repetitive calls asking for Jenny. This was in area code 704.
  • Brown University, which in 2002 owned the number in the 401 area code, transferred the number to Gem Plumbing & Heating,[8] a local business in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Gem began using the number in advertising campaigns both in Rhode Island and in eastern Massachusetts (area code 617). Gem trademarked the number in 2005.
  • In 2004, Weehawken, New Jersey resident Spencer Potter picked up the number for free after discovering to his surprise that it was available in the 201 area code, hoping it would improve his DJ business. Unable to handle the overwhelming volume of calls, he sought to sell the number on eBay in February 2009. Although bids reached $1 million, his inability to confirm the identity of the bidders led him to sell it privately to Retro Fitness, a gym franchise with a location in Secaucus, New Jersey that felt the 1980s origin of the number tied in perfectly with their business's retro theme.[4]
  • In 2006, Benjamin Franklin Franchising, a large national plumbing franchise, began using a toll-free version of the number (+1-866-867-5309). In 2007, Gem brought suit against Clockwork Home Services, the parent company of Benjamin Franklin Franchising, alleging a violation of its trademark. Clockwork contended that Gem's trademark was invalid. Effective in May 2007, Clockwork was ordered by a court to stop using the number in New England. Currently (as of July 1, 2011), +1-866-867-5309 is back in the hands of Benjamin Franklin Franchising and is considered a valid method of reaching BFF customer support.[9][10]
  • In July 2009, a Pennsylvania company had the number assigned to a Vonage phone line in the name of a small business, and then listed the entire business for sale on eBay.[11] Whereas telephone numbers are the legal property of the wireline carrier, so the logic behind this company and several others was that Vonage, as a VOIP provider did not own the numbers, making them open for sale, with eBay being the typical medium.[12][13]
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 fairly random (as opposed to the #1 most common 7-digit password: 1234567).[14]
That's from The Wiki... and I killed a lot o' extraneous links in that quote. The runner-up in the one-hit-wonder category is this (it's a TIE, actually, a dead heat):

You're whispering in my ear
Tell me all the things that I wanna hear
'Cause that's true
That's what I like about you

What I like about you
You really know how to dance
When you go up, down, jump around
Think about true romance, yeah
Yeah... there's that and ya dance like you... umm, well, you KNOW.  Heh.


  1. Sorry to be a naysayer, but the Romantics did chart another song. "Talking in you Sleep." It pisses me off 'cuz the singer has a list.

    "When you're talkin' in you thleep"

    Let's not forget "I'm too sexy" "I wanna be a cowboy" "Blinded me with science" etc etc.

    The '80s had a ton of weird one-hitters.

    1. You're right about "Talking In Your Sleep," My Bad. Have you seen the vid on the Tube O' You? Wow... what HAIR! ;-)

      You're also right about the '80s and the huge number of one-hit wonders. I'll let that slide, though.

  2. Buck/

    Talking about cars and now one-hit-wonders got me thinking about novelty songs about cars/driving. Remember Jerry Lee Lewis' 1951 "Sunday Driving?" The lyrics are killer (as sung by the "Killer" lol) And then there is the 1956 hysterical, ABSOLUTELY UNfFORGETTABLE, song by Nervous Norvus "Transfusion." You've GOT to cut & paste the lyrics to both for the younger crowd of viewers(btw, do you have any in that category, Buck? lol) They'll go Able Sugar over both sets of lyrics--you GOT to do it as a featured post! Dr. Demento time Part II!!!

  3. IPS: I haven't checked, but maybe there is a vid or audio of one or both if you dig around..

    1. I'm not familiar with either tune, Virgil, but I will take your comments as an action item. (Heh... we're still up to speed with our CorporateSpeak. Didja notice?)

  4. 2 great songs! They bring back fond memories of some pretty good times during those years. Ah yes...

  5. I'm ill fated with the name. I'm either plagued with references to the song, or Forrest Gump ie. Jenny, we're like peas and carrots!

    1. I ALMOST addressed a disclaimer towards you with this post, but I figgered you'd get it. ;-)


Just be polite... that's all I ask.