Morgan Wallen ‘865’ meaning: What does his new song mean?

Bruno Cooke January 8, 2021
What does 865 mean in Morgan Wallen's new song?
Photo by Jason Kempin/ACMA2020/Getty Images for ACM

American country music singer-songwriter Morgan Wallen got back at Walmart by leaking his own music – including a new song called “865”. What does Morgan Wallen’s 865 song mean?

Morgan Wallen’s 865 meaning revealed

Morgan Wallen’s song “865” contains a string of numbers – two sets of three, then a set of four. The number is the length of a US telephone number.

In situ, the complete song lyric is: 

This bottle tastes like 865-409-1021
Yeah, one last time don”t think twice
Girl, just pick it up and come over
Give the bedroom door a little closure
I know I told you I wouldn’t call and I tried
But this bottle tastes like 865 (409-1021)
This bottle tastes like 865 (409-1021)

The whole phone number is 865-409-1021. But what does it mean? And what does the 865 in the beginning stand for?

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Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

What does 865 mean?

865 is an area code, covering the city of Knoxville, Tennessee.

According to Morgan Wallen, “865 is the area code that I use, and if I hear those 3 digits, it takes me back to place or time. It just makes me think of home.”

He also apologised to whoever owns the telephone number, because they might start receiving a lot of calls.

“Whoever’s number that is, I am extremely sorry.”

However, country music website WhiskeyRiff quotes Wallen as saying the song was originally called “919”.

Why did Morgan Wallen change it from 919 to 865?

Wallen did not write the song himself. Instead, Blake Pendergrass & John Byron are credited as songwriters.

When they sent Wallen the song, it was called “919”, rather than “865”. Apparently, Wallen does not have a connection to the number 919, so he changed it to a number that felt more relevant for him.

“I don’t even know where that area code is at. I’m sorry if you’re from that area code, I’m sure you’re great.”

Wallen responded to leaks of his new double album by leaking his music himself.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.