“Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms (1992)

Tell me do you think it’d be all right
If I could just crash here tonight
You can see I’m in no shape for driving
And anyway I’ve got no place to go

Talk about a great way to start a song. Those opening words grabbed me and shook me as soon as I heard them, although I don’t even know if I’d consumed a full beer yet. Those opening words grabbed a lot of people. “Hey Jealousy” wound up being the Gin Blossoms’ first hit, nearly a year after it was originally released. It’s still a hell of an ear worm whether you’re hearing it on a ’90s channel on satellite radio, blaring out of bar speakers, or being sung by someone at karaoke.

The story of the guy who wrote it is pretty sad, though. Douglas Hopkins founded the Gin Blossoms in the ’80s, but as the story goes, he was a pretty gnarly alcoholic and was forced out of the band once they signed a major label contract. Hopkins was replaced, forced to sign over his royalties, and the Blossoms went on to success with songs that he wrote. He died by suicide just as “Hey Jealousy” was peaking on the charts. While that adds a bitter taste to the overall story (imagine how it must feel for the other band members), it doesn’t take away from the fact that “Hey Jealousy” is a master class in how to make a power-pop gem.

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