Wrong Number

By Emily Gold / January / February 2000
October 24th, 2007
Pop musician Tommy Tutone's 1982 hit song, "Jenny (867-5309)," was nothing but grief for telephone customers unlucky enough to have that dailing combination for their home number. The song's relentless chorus, Jenny don't change your number - eight six seven five three oh nah-eeh-ah-ine, burned the phone number into pop-culture consciousness so effectively that teenagers in every English-speaking country started dialing it and asking for Jenny.

Last fall, thanks to the implementation of a new student phone exchange, two freshmen fell prey to the Tutone curse. Since September, their dorm-room phone has rung day and night with enthusiastic, if unoriginal, callers. Some callers yuk it up by simply asking to speak to Jenny, but others blast the song through the line. While the roommates are at class, voice mail for Jenny piles up. (Wary of attracting more callers, they asked the BAM to withhold their names.)

At the time the exchange was added, University officials did not remember the song, says Associate Director of Communications Kara Kelley. Not until after the change had been announced did she overhear students talking about the Tutone tune. Kelley offered to change the students' number, but they declined, explaining they had already given it out to friends and family.

To callers (most of whom were in nursery school when "Jenny" was a hit), the roommates have a message: for a good time, please don't call eight six seven five three oh nah-eeh-ah-ine. Jenny's not in.

What do you think?
See what other readers are saying about this article and add your voice. 
Related Issue
January / February 2000