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Album Review

Tommy Tutone is best known for the power pop gold single "867-5309/Jenny" which peaked in early 1982 and was one of the decade's signature mainstream hits. But the San Francisco-based band wasn't a one-hit wonder. In fact, "867-5309/Jenny" was Tommy Tutone's second hit. Its predecessor, "Angel Say No," squeaked into the Top 40 in 1980. By 1984 Tommy Tutone faded out of sight and disbanded. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist/songwriter Tommy Heath resurrected the Tommy Tutone name for recording in the mid-'90s and then again in 1998 for Tutone.rtf. ("Rtf" is a computer term for "rich text file.") Tutone.rtf reliably keeps a power pop and pop/rock feel — with Heath's skewed, slightly cynical lyrical bent intact. According to the copyright information, the 12 songs were written between 1986 and 1997. Heath obviously took his time on Tutone.rtf, for which he recruited a slew of musicians to join him in the studio. "Jenny's Calling" appears to be a sequel to "867-5309/Jenny." It has a similar beat, but this time around, Jenny is the aggressor! "The Grifter's Prayer" has a muted, mid-tempo feel befitting the world-weary lyrics (the only ones reprinted in the liner notes). Slinky hooks make "Happy Birthday, Anyway" a catchy, enjoyable tune. "A Little bit o' Heaven (And a Whole Lot of Hell)" is a heavy rockabilly winner. "The World Ain't Flat," "Lynn's Song," and "Everybody Else Is Wrong" also display Heath's songcraft. Tutone.rtf went largely unnoticed, but it was reassuring to know that somebody still wrote songs and made albums like this.


Formed: 1978

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tommy Tutone were an early-'80s power pop band led by vocalist Tommy Heath and guitarist Jim Keller. The group's first single, 1980's "Angel Say No," scraped the bottom of the American Top 40, yet it was 1981's "867-5309/Jenny" that sent the group to the top of the charts. Peaking in early 1982, the single hit number four and went gold. Tommy Tutone was never able to duplicate that success and the band broke up after the release of their third album, 1983's National Emotion. In 1994, Heath returned,...
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Tutone-Ality, Tommy Tutone
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