In the days of rotary and push-button phones, most Americans knew the phone numbers of their nearest and dearest. However, now that we can call the ones we love with just one click, many of us can’t remember the digits of most of our friends’ or family members’ numbers. You might not know your partner’s or mom’s details, but these iconic phone numbers from the music world are probably very familiar!
867-5309 From “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone
People who had the phone number 867-5309 struggled to get any peace during the 1980s. The phone number, immortalized in Tommy Tutone’s ’80s pop smash hit “867-5309/Jenny,” was called by music fans all over the country keen to talk to the woman who inspired the song.
Tommy Tutone’s lead guitarist reportedly dated the famous Jenny after finding her name and number on a men’s room wall. In a 1982 interview, he said he hadn’t spoken to her since the song zoomed up the charts. However, he’d heard along the grapevine that she wasn’t impressed by the track revealing her actual number.
Of course it wasn’t just Jenny who received these calls, but anyone who shared her number. You couldn’t perform a reverse phone number search online back then, and telephone companies said they were powerless to stop the calls, as they came from all over the country. This led many ordinary households to disconnect their 867-5309 numbers.
634-5789 From “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)” by Wilson Pickett
Long before “867-5309/Jenny,” another phone number song made an impression on the charts. In his 1966 hit, “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.),” Wilson Pickett urged listening fans looking for “huggin” and “kissin” to dial the number his sultry back-up vocalists sang. The song became a soul staple; Otis Redding, Tina Turner, and Ry Cooder have all recorded notable cover versions.
“777-9311” From 777-9311 by The Time
Another track where the phone number is put front and center, “777-9311” was the lead single for The Time’s album “What Time Is It?” In the song, The Time’s flamboyant frontman Morris Day asks a beautiful woman for her digits. The phone number that forms the song’s title is her reply.
Like so many of The Time’s smash hits, “777-9311” was recorded, produced, and composed by Prince. The Purple One used the actual phone number of Dez Dickerson, the guitarist in his band The Revolution, in the song’s title and lyrics. His phone reportedly rang night and day following the song’s release until he changed his number.
Despite fans’ enthusiasm for the song, “777-9311” was only a minor hit, reaching number 88 on the pop charts. However, it has become a cult classic after being sampled in tracks from 2Pac, J Moss, and Tichina Arnold.
1-900-MIX-A-LOT From “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot
Many teenage boys in the 1990s went wild at the thought of who might call 1-900-MIX-A-LOT. Sir Mix-A-Lot encouraged ladies with round butts wanting “a triple X throw down” to call this fantasy hotline to “kick them nasty thoughts.” No one is quite sure how the Washington rapper would have counseled the curvaceous women. Today, curious dialers are informed that the number is out of service.
“(281) 330-8004” From “Back Then” by Mike Jones
Anyone who called the phone number (281) 330-8004 near the 2005 release of Mike Jones’ hit “Back Then” was in for a real surprise. The phone number the Houston rapper gave out in the lyrics was his real cell phone number, meaning fans could do just as he said and “Hit Mike Jones up on the low.” It was a great marketing tactic for Jones, who filmed a few of the phone calls and put them on YouTube. However, today the number is out of service. Perhaps he had one too many harassing phone calls and decided to put a stop to them once and for all!
489-4608 From “Diary” by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys beat Mike Jones to the punch when she used the lyrics of her phone number, 489-4608, in her song “Diary” in 2004. She offered comfort to listeners, telling them “Oh baby, if there is anything that you fear (anything), call 489-4608 and I’ll be here.” The number was sung so quickly, it takes several listens to decipher it. But fans that did were rewarded for their efforts. The R&B singer wasn’t quite as personal in her approach as Mr. Jones, but her marketing ploy was perhaps a little savvier. On the song’s release, dialing the number with a 347 area code for Georgia let you listen to a pre-recorded message from the soul songstress.
Today, the number as it’s sung in the lyrics is no longer in service. However, many cluey fans keen to connect with Keys have tried calling with the 347 area code. MTV staffer Maggie Serota said she tried this tactic in 2015 and connected with a retired preacher from Keys’ home state. While the pair had a lovely conversation, he seemed very confused about the reason for Serota’s call!
(313) 515-8772 From “Outro” by Big Sean
Big Sean is one of the latest musicians to share his own phone number in a song. However, fans needed to work for it. The number appeared in “Outro,” a hidden track from the Detroit rapper’s 2015 album “Dark Sky Paradise.”
Big Sean confirmed the number was his own and that he included it in the song to connect with his fans. However, just a few months after the album dropped, it seems Big Sean had grown tired of the regular contact with those who adored him. While the number was still active, his mailbox was full of messages that were undeleted and perhaps unheard.
Our memory of the numbers we use in our daily lives might have faded, but we’ll never forget these popular musical phone numbers!