Song of the Day #5,179: ‘Angel Say No’ – Tommy Tutone

Here’s the rare case where a one-hit wonder’s second-biggest hit came before their breakthrough.

Power pop band Tommy Tutone is known for the 1981 hit ‘867-5309/Jenny,’ a song I remember fondly from my own childhood. I think I was one of the thousands of people who tried dialing the number to ask for Jenny. The press at the time was filled with accounts of homes and businesses having to change their numbers due to the influx of calls.

‘867-5309/Jenny’ appeared on Tommy Tutone’s second album, Tommy Tutone 2, but the band’s self-titled debut, released a year earlier, produced a modest hit as well.

‘Angel Say No,’ the album’s opening track and first single, reached #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s a catchy little pop tune, reminiscent of Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp era. I sampled a few other tracks from the album and found a consistent sound and quality.

Tommy Tutone released four more albums after their hit sophomore effort, including one in 2019. They are still actively touring.

This is a group that exemplifies the idea that some one-hit wonders are just successful, hard-working bands with one more hit than most.

Angel I love you, you know I love you, but what can I say
You’re not really here anymore and I know it
It’s getting late they’re waiting outside you’re gonna run away
One more time, it might be-e too la-a-ate

Angel say no
You’re better on your own
Angel say no no no
Baby don’t you know-ow

Don’t try to tell me, baby don’t tell me, I already know
You got that look in your eyes that shows me (hey)
I can’t take it, I just can’t take it, when you start to go-o
Well any American boy would fe-el the same way-ay

Angel say no
You’re better on your own
Angel say no no no
Baby don’t you know-ow

Cause you know I’m right
It’s another night
You’re gonna take that ride
(yeah) No no no no!

Angel say no
You’re better on your own
Angel say no no no
Baby don’t you know, baby don’t you know

Angel say no no no
(angel don’t you know)
Angel say no no no
(angel!)
Angel say no no no
(ah-ee-ah-ee-ah-ee baby don’t you want want want want want want)
Angel say no no no
(angel don’t you wan’t)
Angel say no no no
(you better run now)
Angel say no no no
(you better run now)
Angel say no no no
(yeah, you better run for your life they’re gonna get you babe
They got a needle and a hound
Ah-ee-ah-ee-ah-angel say no-o)
Angel say no no

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,179: ‘Angel Say No’ – Tommy Tutone

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Their big hit is also a time capsule to when only seven digits, rather than ten with the area code included, needed to be dialed. The chorus would have been quite awkward if the lyric was 212-867-5309, though at least less people would have had to change their phone numbers.😀

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    The same great sound but definitely not as compelling.

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