2 U.S. plumbing companies battle over phone number made famous by '80s hit song

  1. 2 U.S. plumbing companies battle over phone number made famous by '80s hit song

    Sat May 19, 3:14 PM

    LINCOLN, R.I. (AP) - One-hit wonder Tommy Tutone made the phone number 8-6-7-5-3-0-9 famous in the band's 1982 hit single, which uses the digits over and over in its catchy refrain.

    Now, two U.S. plumbing companies are battling over the right to use the number.

    Callers won't reach the "Jenny" that Tutone sings about, but may find a decent plumber.

    Two years ago, Gem Plumbing & Heating in Rhode Island trademarked the phone number from the early 1980s hit, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

    Gem acquired the number in Rhode Island when its original owner, Brown University, gave up 8-6-7-5-3-0-9 after growing weary of the constant prank calls.

    Gem's number works in the 401 area code in Rhode Island and the 617 area code in southern Massachusetts.

    But Florida-based Clockwork Home Services, also a plumbing company, uses a toll-free version of 8-6-7-5-3-0-9 in New England. They argue a company can only trademark a vanity number, like 1-800-FLOWERS.

    Gem won the first round of the legal fight over the number when a federal judge in Boston recently barred Clockwork from using the number in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, effective this week.

    But Clockwork's lawyers said they would fight on.

    Tommy (Tutone) Heath told The Boston Globe that he'd prefer if neither company used the number.

    "It's ridiculous," said Heath. "If I wanted to get into it, I could probably take the number away from both of them."