Having a phone number immortalized by a hit song started out as a goof for a Weehawken deejay, but in five years, it’s resulted in about 50,000 phone calls — mostly from strangers — some long-distance friendships, a possible windfall from the sale of the digits, and at least one girlfriend. The notable numbers were made famous by Tommy Tutone’s catchy 1982 hit song, “867-5309/Jenny.” Spencer Potter, 28, got Jenny’s number in the 201 area code when he and several roommates requested it in jest for their home phone. They were in luck, it seemed. “We thought it would be funny to call people from that number,” he said. “The day I called the phone company was the day they released the number back into circulation, though, so we got it.”
Potter said the second they plugged their phone into the wall, it began to ring.” All hell broke loose and it hasn’t stopped since,” he said. According to Potter, the now-famous phone receives approximately 30 to 40 calls a day, and as many as 10,000 calls in a year. The daunting number of calls has required an answering machine and a second phone. One of the callers was a young woman who gave out the number to men who she didn’t want to hear from.
“She called me one day, since she gave out my number as a bum number,” he said. “She thought I must be cool if I had the number…so I invited her out for drinks — we dated for a while.” Despite the barrage of calls, Potter has maintained the number since he moved to Weehawken five years ago, where he ran his entertainment business, A Blast Entertainment. But Potter’s association with the musical numerals will soon come to an end.
A Blast Entertainment is now up for sale, and Potter has moved to Rye Brook, N.Y. to run his newest venture, Turntable Events. Along with his company, he is selling the phone number as part of the package. Potter is using Internet marketplace eBay to sell the number, which he says allows him to do so as a part of the sale of his company. “The problem was with just selling the number by itself,” he said. “With selling the business, and the number coming with it, it’s an asset of the company.”
Potter said he has also secured permission for sale of the phone number from his provider, Vonage. Even though Potter has received calls at all times of the day and night for five years, he does not regret the experience. “It’s been awesome, you meet some great people. I’ve met people from all over the (United States),” he said, adding that he maintains friendships online with some.
Verizon Spokesman Rich Young was not surprised that such a number would receive that volume of calls.” From a practical stand point, a number like this would certainly generate a lot of calls,” he said. “It is certainly a number teens or children would make calls too…maybe even adults reliving their youth.” Tommy Tutone, the entity behind the distinguished digits, is not actually a person, but rather, a four-piece band fronted by singer-guitarist Tommy Heath. They featured the phone number prominently — overall, it is uttered 20 times during the song, and shown three times in the corresponding music video. Potter admitted that there was one aspect of having a famous phone number that he won’t miss. “I’ve heard some very, very bad singing performances, ” he said