FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.
No Wrong Number Here
Try this fun experiment I saw on TikTok. Without giving any context, ask folks you know, "What is Jenny's number?" Millenials and Gen Zs will be clueless. However, those who were lucky enough to be around in the 1980s will likely know that the fictional Jenny can be reached at "eight six seven five three oh ni-i-i-i-i-ne."
While Tommy Tutone's "867-5309 / Jenny" (1981) is probably one of the most famous popular songs with a phone number in the title or lyrics, there are many others. Join us in a trip down memory lane as we review pop, rock, country, and R&B songs with phone numbers in them. Then make your own fun phone number playlist that crosses genres.
1. "867-5309 / Jenny" by Tommy Tutone
Jenny, your phone number belongs to a generation.
This iconic 1981 earworm of a rock song features a socially awkward guy who copies a random phone number of a girl named Jenny that is scrawled on a bathroom wall. Word on the street is that Jenny offers a good time, if you know what I mean. Although the narrator cannot gather the gumption to call poor Jenny, he knows that if he could, she'd be the perfect girl just for him.
People who have had the number 867-5309 in real life have been harassed with thousands of unwanted calls seeking the fictional Jenny at all hours. Most of them have had to change their numbers.
2. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic (Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid)
The first time I heard this 2017 pop rap it almost took my breath away (in a good way), as I have lost several people in my life to suicide. This is song with a positive purpose: to empathize with pain and promote the number of The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. (Note that starting in July 2022 The Lifeline could also be accessed via 988, although the 1-800 number will always remain active.)
In this worldwide hit, the narrator initially describes the crushing feelings of suicidal depression that have been weighing him down. He hurts deeply, feels like no one else cares, and doesn't want to live.
As the narrator seeks help, the person on the other end of the line counsels him that he doesn't have to die today. They encourage him to hold on, suggesting that he might be able to see the light through the darkest moments. The narrator makes the powerful choice to stay alive. Having found his purpose, he realizes that he does indeed matter and does not truly want to die.
Music can save lives. Research has found that both calls to the helpline and actual suicides overall corresponded to:
- the release of this song, "1-800-273-8255,"
- the song's performance at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, and
- the song's performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018 as a tribute to rockers Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, both of whom died by suicide.
3. "865" by Morgan Wallen
Eric Church music blares in the background as the man in this 2021 country song sips on Jack Daniels and nurses a heartache. Soon he finds himself drunk dialing his ex-girlfriend at (865) 409-1021, a phone number that is emblazoned into his memory. Claiming to seek closure, the narrator wants just one last romp in the sack with his former lover for old times' sake or to make things right.
Morgan Wallen first rose to fame in 2014 after competing unsuccessfully in the sixth season of the NBC reality singing competition show, The Voice. Wallen is from Sneedville, Tennesee, a rural town in the eastern part of the state, and its area code is 865. Initially, the area code in the song was supposed to be 919, but Wallen went with 865 because it felt like home.
4. "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC
Need a loathsome, vengeful personal task completed? According to this 1976 metal song, you don't need to pony up much money. Just dial up this hit man at 362436, an actual phone number in Australia at the time.
Some listeners interpreted the "hey" in the lyrics as an "8," thus making the phone number 362-4368, an American phone number. (This just proves that we hear what we want to.) An Illinois couple unsuccessfully sued AC/DC for $250,000 for giving out their phone number after they received a multitude of "lewd, suggestive and threatening" calls daily from people seeking unsavory, lecherous tasks done on the cheap.
In the song, the narrator advertises his services to those who are having trouble with adulterous or troublesome mates or other difficult individuals in their lives. The contract killer offers to get even on their behalf using techniques such as TNT, cyanide, concrete shoes, high voltage, or other creative means. Apparently he's not in it for the money. You gotta love a man who enjoys his work.
5. "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot
By today's standards, it's hard to believe that this hip-hop ditty was controversial back in 1992. The Grammy Award-winning tune challenged and diversified the standard of beauty to include more women of color.
Sir Mix-a-Lot proclaims in this song, "I like big butts and I cannot lie," then he proceeds to detail his enjoyment for an itty-bitty waist and jeans that pack a big punch in back. What's more, he establishes his own hotline, 1-900-MIXALOT, for big booty women who are looking for some action.
6. "911" by Lady Gaga
To help de-stigmatize mental health, Lady Gaga reveals her own demons with this 2020 synth-pop tune. The famed singer-songwriter was once a marginalized, bullied child, and she's never forgotten the jarring experience. She has also experienced PTSD after being sexually assaulted by a producer at age 19, a trauma that resulted in an unwanted pregnancy.
"911" describes the singer's persistent loop of negative self-talk with no off switch. The three-digit code is intended as a contact number for fast emergency assistance. In the song, Lady Gaga describes her biologically-based manic highs that interfere with her ability to maintain quality friendships.
She reports that has been prescribed a mood stabilizing antipsychotic medication (olanzapine) to control her racing thoughts. Gaga perceives the medication as her paradise. The singer considers her medication to be her rescue or emergency help, although it does come with potential side effects that include sadness and crying. She is her biggest enemy and doesn't want to see herself cry anymore.
7. "Don't Push" by Sublime
This 1992 American reggae and ska punk ditty celebrates the fun of making music all night. The narrator remarks that his main focus is music, a positive force in his life. That doesn't leave much time for love, however, as you might expect. He can't find an appropriate partner, anyway. He doesn't like conflict. Besides, these days there is a big need to protect yourself from STDs if you choose to engage in sexual activity.
This fella puts it out there that he can be reached at 438-4386 for laughter and a good time. (You know, just in case someone needs to get in touch.)
Although band members of Sublime are Caucasian, they offer up race-sensitive lyrics to the effect of "stolen from an African land" and "racism is schism, on a serious tip." Additional references to racism include being chased out of both Africa and a bar. Finally, the narrator derides the habit of smoking crack cocaine and its plastic smell. He notes that smoking dope is superior.
8. "Ocean Eyes" by Billie Eilish (Blackbear Remix)
The love in this 2016 synthpop tune is easily a one-way affair. Billie Eilish's protagonist is drawn to a partner's eyes that remind her of the color of the ocean. She better beware though because this dude's toxic love will pull her under like the undertow.
Last year he made her cry, and the young girl still remembers the hurt. As she stares into his mesmerizing eyes now, the narrator feels vulnerable and scared to feel so lost and lonely in love. He's nothing but a player and she isn't listening to her gut.
His expression of affection is emotionally stunted, limited to the response that "I meant it when I said it, you can always hit my phone (213) 267-9932." They say that eyes are the window to the soul, but this guy is empty. She'll learn the hard way about love.
9. "Every Angel Is Terrifying" by The Weeknd
Pushing the edge of the creative envelope here is The Weeknd in this unusual 2022 spoken word-poem song. The premise is that angels are hardly the sweet baby-faced creatures donned in feathers and gossamer that we have traditionally imagined them to be. The artists make listeners question the afterlife.
Those who are very literal-minded see this as an actual advertisement. Even if you dislike what's going on here, at least understand the intent. The narrator is an infomercial presenter who pitches a subscription to the afterlife to the audience. The offering can be yours for an ongoing fee by calling 1-800-414-4444. (Obviously this isn't a real product.)
With the next life described as both "a world beyond your imagination" and a "future out of control," the infomercial treatment of heaven cheapens our concept of eternity, making immortality an extension of the metaverse. Really weird.
10. "Your Secret's Safe" by Robert Cray
This is no way to attract a mate. The stalker in this 1988 R&B tune has been window peeping on a woman for weeks, tracking her movements with her steady lover. Then, when she doesn't keep her window shade pulled all the way down, he observes that his victim has a different lover tonight and is wearing a black nightgown.
The creeper decides to make his move. He calls to inform her that he's been watching. The stalker taunts that her secret's safe with him and he's sexually available. The peeping Tom leaves his number (685-2033) on her voice mail and awaits a call back. Let's hope that it's from the police!
11. "777-9311" by The Time
At the time this 1982 funk/R&B song was written 777-9311 was the actual phone number of Prince's guitarist. The band was closely associated with Prince, particularly in his early days.
In the song, the narrator is a guy in a club who is trying to pick up on an attractive lady, and he's wasting absolutely no time. Instead of beginning with small talk, he launches with a request for her phone number, announcing clearing his desire to spend the night with her. He begs for relief from his agony and even asks her to marry him.
12. "Girls' Night Out" by Miley Cyrus
Years before sexualizing teddy bears on stage and wearing prosthetic breasts and strap-ons as props, Miley Cyrus was just Hanna Montana who was getting started on the wild ride of her singing career. In this 2007 pop song, the former Disney darling is looking forward to a night on the town with her galpals after a boyfriend upset her. Reading between the lines, he may have been unfaithful because she says that their night on the town is a "911" (an emergency) and she doesn't want him contacting her.
The narrator's objective is fun with friends, including dancing with whomever she wants. She taunts her fella that he will get the "411" (information) about it from other people. This is a girls' night out.
13. "You Can Get It" by Ciara
Ciara can barely keep her drawers on in this sultry 2012 R&B. When she coincidentally runs into a crush and catches him staring, the woman decides to pounce.
She confesses her love, suggests that they can go somewhere and hook up now. Because she's full of options, the love sick lady asks for his cell phone to plug in not one number but both of her contact numbers. The two phone numbers she cites (404-612 and 310-412) are incomplete American phone numbers, so hopefully she didn't get overexcited and type them in incorrectly!
14. "Lonesome 7-7203" by Hawkshaw Hawkins
Back in the landline-only days, small communities required only four or five digits to connect a phone call. This mournful 1963 country crossover hit features a fella who has been getting calls that are intended for his former wife. They've become so plentiful that the despondent guy has had to change his phone number. He provides only his ex with the new number, 7-7203, so that if it rings at all he knows that the caller is her.
Hawkshaw Hawkins a popular country singer who was killed in the same 1963 small engine aircraft accident that took the lives of Patsy Cline and the Cowboy Copas. In a tragic twist of fate, Hawkins traded spots with another singer who needed to return home more quickly. Hawkins gave him his commercial airline ticket in exchange for a seat on the puddle jumper, an act of good will that ultimately resulted in Hawkins' death.
15. "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" by Soulja Boy (Featuring Sammie)
Telecommunications company AT&T used to advocate reaching out and touching someone in their ads. However, what's going down in this successful worldwide R&B track is probably not what they meant. The narrator misses his love partner and wants to with her tonight, but sadly, they find themselves separated by current circumstances.
Until they can be together in person some over-the-phone affection will have to suffice (i.e., phone sex). The "future wifey" in this 2008 song hits up her man's number at (678) 999-8212 to exchange both photos and kisses as foreplay for what's on special later.
16. "Star 69" by R.E.M.
I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, a time before caller ID or *69. For better or worse, we could initiate prank calls and get away with it.
In addition to placing such calls I was also the unfortunate recipient. A silly teenage boyfriend thought it was funny to call the stock brokerage firm where I was a switchboard operator for the summer and request to speak to nonexistent people like Dick Burns, Mike Hunt, and Dewey Cheatum. He disguised his voice and, of course, I announced the dirty names over the facility intercom (e.g., "Dick Hertz line four please").
Prank calls like these all but died by the early 1990s, when an automatic redial service (*69) became available. The feature automatically called the last phone number. In this 1994 rock song R.E.M. celebrates the advent of the *69 service by telling his friend that he absolutely knows he is guilty of a hangup call.
17. "Dealer" by Lana Del Rey
Once again, moody Lana Del Rey specializes in restless despondency as disenfranchisement overtakes the female narrator in this haunting indie-rock tune from 2021. The emotionally detached narrator issues a request not to be located. The usual social connections who might know of her whereabouts are deemed unreliable or useless. Her dealer (555-9275) won't pick up his phone, her father hasn't been home in years, and her doctor is out of pocket (i.e., away for the weekend).
This is a girl who is stranded on an emotional island and she says she doesn't want company. The narrator complains that she has given all her money to the person she is addressing. While she may be alluding to a drug dealer and drug culture, it's also possible that she could be referencing the music industry and the pressures of fame. Del Rey has received heavy criticism for glamorizing abuse in her music. In 2021, she called out a number of other famous musicians on social media and received heavy public backlash. This resulted in the singer's decision to suddenly shut down her social media accounts.
18. "The Rodeo Fan" by Chris LeDoux
In this 1977 country song, a husband regrettably treats his wife to a traveling rodeo show where she becomes an instant fan of roping and riding. There the wife finds a new love match in the form of a glamorous belt-buckled cowboy who wears a huge hat. The cowboy she's swooning over is full of swagger. He rides horses, steers, and bulls, and the love swept lady imagines him to be a hell of a man.
The missus then gets gone from town along with her mysterious cowboy friend. She swings a lasso and waves goodbye to her lovelorn husband. All he can do is stare at his sweetheart is in a pickup truck with a plastic sign that reads, "Buck Bennett / Wild Horse Rider / (307) 373-2280 Just Call Anytime."
19. "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)" by Wilson Pickett
If you find yourself lonesome, then Wilson Pickett can fix your problem with a little lovin', huggin', and kissin', according to this 1965 soul ditty. All you need to do is dial him up at 634-5789 and your needs will be satisfied.
Pickett used the same five digits that The Marvelettes did in their 1962 tune, "Beechwood 4-5789." Their song themes are also similar. The Marvelettes' song features a girl at a dance who waits patiently for a potential suitor to ask her to dance. When she supplies her phone number to him, she expresses how much she wants to get to know him.
20. "Speaking in Tongues" by Toni Braxton
There's such a rich fantasy life between the ex-lovers in this R&B ditty from 2000 that it seems doubtful their love affair is truly over. For old time's sake, the woman gives her former partner her phone number (315-3769) and invites him to relive their passion via a supposedly harmless intimate phone exchange. But just because they don't meet in person doesn't mean their interaction is not sensual. There's moaning and groaning involved. This conversation is way out of bounds if they have significant others. Personal boundaries?
Even More Songs with Phone Numbers in the Title or Lyrics
21. Hanging On by a Thread (Don't Give Up)
22. 1-800 Bone
23. 842-3089 (Call My Name)
24. Beechwood 4-5789
Jimmy Eat World
27. Long Tall Shorty
Jay Z (Featuring Beanie Sigel, Freeway & Memphis Bleek)
33. Back Then
35. Star 67
36. Give Me Central 209
37. PEnnsylvania 6-5000
38. If You Leave
Destiny's Child (Featuring Next)
39. Click Clack
40. One Night Affair
41. Kiss Kiss
Chris Brown (Featuring T-Pain
42. LOL Smiley Face
43. What's the 411?
Mary J. Blige
44. Love @ 1st Sight
Mary J. Blige
45. Phone Booth
47. Mr. Telephone Man
48. Whatever You Want
Tony! Toni! Toné!
49. After Dark
Drake (Featuring Static Major & Ty Dolla Sign)
50. Echo Valley 2-6809
The Partridge Family
52. Hey Na Na
54. Don't Pick The Phone (Pick Up The Phone)
55. Goodbye (I'm Sorry)
56. Haley's Got A Harley
57. Just Like Paradise
David Lee Roth
58. 1-800 Used to Be
59. Hello Grandma
60. Somebody’s Gettin’ on My Nerves
61. We Are the Lonely
Cardi B (Featuring Kehlani)
Wyclef Jean (Featuring Mary J. Blige)
64. Emergency (911)
65. Heart Attack
66. No Love Allowed
68. Missing Persons
69. Letter to My Son (Call Your Father)
DMX (Featuring Usher & Brian King Joseph
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