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Group Members: Jim Keller
All Music Guide:
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, using the name Tommy Tutone for a new release, Nervous Love, a collection of various post-Tommy Tutone recordings. Heath continued to sporadically work with Tommy Tutone over the next two decades, releasing Tutone.rtf in 1998. Nervous Love saw a retitled reissue called A Long Time Ago in the summer of 2011.
Tommy Tutone is a power pop band, best known for its 1982 hit "867-5309/Jenny", which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it is usually referred to as a San Francisco band, it was actually based in Willits, California, at the time that "Jenny" was released. The song became so popular that people in the United States to this day dial this telephone number and ask for Jenny as a prank. Regarding the famous number, "We had people threatening to sue us. It was the Buffalo Chief of Police's daughter's number in New York," said frontman Tommy Heath. Although the band is frequently remembered as a one-hit wonder, it already had another Top-40 hit on the Hot 100 with "Angel Say No" from 1980.
A common misconception is that Tommy Tutone is the name of the lead singer; it is actually the name of the band. Tommy Heath is the lead singer. The name of the band developed from its original name, Tommy and the Tu-tones, to merely Tommy Tutone.
Heath and Jim Keller founded the band in 1978, with Heath acting as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, also playing keyboards on occasion; Keller playing lead guitar and supporting vocals. Bassist Jon Lyons (original name Jonathan Lyons Terlep) who replaced original bassist Terry Nails (Steve Jones, Ozzy Osbourne) was later replaced by Greg Sutton, Pete Costello, and Jimmy James. Mona Gnader, a member of Sammy Hagar's Waborita band, played with the band as well. Original drummer Mickey Shine (Clover and drummer on the first Elvis Costello album) was replaced by Victor Carberry who in turn was replaced with Jerry Angel. Joe Lamond played drums in the mid to late eighties. John Cowsill of The Cowsills played drums (and sang) on "867-5309/Jenny." From 2001 onward, the band has consisted of Heath, James, Greg Georgeson (guitar), Andy Gauthier (drums), and occasionally Costello.
Tommy Heath became a computer analyst and moved to Portland, Oregon where he worked for a startup called Cornerstone Revolutions, though he currently resides in Santa Rosa, California. In 2007, the band signed a recording contract with Spectra Records. In 2009, Tommy played Nashville and met with Phil Summers. As of 2010, Tommy has relocated to Tennessee. He is working on new music and his new band Drummer Garfield Redden & Bass player David Geiger continues to tour.
Jim Keller went on to become the director of Philip Glass's publishing company, Dunvagen Music Publishers. He still performs in New York City.