Friday, January 3, 2014

I got the number is an excellent website, and the source of a lot of the trivial information that dots my life and my conversations like cloves on a ham.  I don't know who is behind the website, but I like it a lot.  They interview performers and songwriters, and share interesting facts about, and the real lyrics to,  songs we all sing as we drive along or take a shower.

No surprise then, that I was skipping through the site the other day and read an interview with Gary Lewis of "This Diamond Ring" fame and also of being Jerry Lewis's son fame.  (I often spend hours reading about, watching or listening to Jerry Lewis.  You said it would be ok, remember?)  From there, I saw a link to this interview with Alex Call, the guy who wrote Tommy Tutone's 1982 hit  "867-5309 (Jenny)",  and what an eye-opener that was!  The interview tells you all you will want to know about the song, except for why, in the video, the bassist is wearing one of those French sailor shirts with a red bandana around his neck.  There are some things that we are just bound to puzzle over forever.

There used to be a website devoted to the antics of two guys who spent their days and nights calling 867-5309 in every area code across the nation, chronicling the results as they asked for Jenny if anyone answered.

And you legal scholars certainly remember last summer in a US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision, Justice Elena Kagan included the following sly Tutone callout in her opinion in American Trucking Association v. City of Los Angeles, which, as you all know, said there can be no agreements between trucking companies and the Port of Los Angeles.

“Under that contract, a company may transport cargo at the Port in exchange for complying with various requirements. The two directly at issue here compel the company to (1) affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting environmental or safety concerns (You’ve seen the type: “How am I driving? 213-867-5309”) and (2) submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck when not in service.” 
Justice Kagan is also doing standup three nights a week at Giggles, a comedy club in Silver Spring, MD.

But one thing struck me in the Song Facts interview.  Apparently, Tommy Tutone is still touring on the strength of his one and only hit record, and weaves a tale about how the song came to be written.  Alex Call says, "Tommy Tutone's been using the story for years that there was a Jenny and she ran a recording studio and so forth. It makes a better story but it's not true. That sounds a lot better than I made it up under a plum tree in my backyard."

Hold everything.  Wait a second.  You're telling me you can have a tree right in your backyard and grow your own plums? I got to get me one of them!

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