Gin Blossoms

Brian Huttenhower signed the Gin Blossoms to A&M Records in 1991. "[A&M] gave us a chance to succeed or fail, to learn about the studio and toughen us up," said Robin Wilson. They got a spot in an A&M showcase at the College Music Journal which drew positive attention. The band chose John Hampton as producer because, "He wanted to assist us in making the Gin Blossoms album we wanted it to be."

The Gin Blossoms began to record a debut album but thought the material wasn't good enough. Huttenhower suggesed they try an EP instead. That was Up and Crumbling released in 1991. The Gin Blossoms went on a tour that focused on retail and clubs giving the band experience. 

"We cut [New Miserable Experience] with the band playing live, a few overdubs of harmony vocals, fixing individual instrument clams, and just a pinch of beefing up their slightly timid sound. I was able to create a modern sound, some call “jangle rock”: having a clean element fused with a rowdy element. Meaning if I had two clean guitar sounds, I would screw one up with distortion. Jesse was the jangle, and Doug was … harsh. These two elements of fire and ice can be heard on many hit records."--John Hampton, producer, Memphis Flyer August 28, 2014

The Gin Blossoms toured for 15 months to support their debut album that was released on August 2, 1992. They were the opening act for label mates Del Amitri and the Neville Brothers. They would gain popularity in the region they were touring in but were unable to sustain the popularity after leaving or gain popularity nationwide. There were 120,000 copies with the original album art. A&M Records repackaged the album and had a new video made of "Hey Jealousy." This promotional push broke the band with album sales topping 500,000 units. 

"Hey Jealousy" was released on July 15, 1992. It was reissued later when it became a hit on modern rock, album rock and top 40 radio stations. By 1994, the song was still hanging on, "18 months after the song began making waves, nine months after it peaked at No. 25 on the Hot 100, and six months after, by all accounts, it should have played itself out. Instead, for the week ending July 12, the song enjoyed nearly 900 plays across the country. "New York's Z100 was still playing the song 30-50 times a week for the last year. During the week ending July 18,1994, "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You" and "Until I Fall Away" were played more than 5,000 times.

There were three videos of "Hey Jealousy."

After New Miserable Experience was released, the Gin Blossoms toured for the next 2.5 years. The record was only successful in the U.S. and Britain where it sold 40,000 copies. By the end of July 1994, the album had sold 1.5 million copies. By August 1995, the album had sold more than 2.1 million copies in the U.S., was selling 21,000 copies a week and had two top 40 singles. The "Found Out About You" single was No. 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album went on to sell over 4 million copies. Sales were kept going because after "Hey Jealousy" there were four more singles, each released as the one before it was coming down the charts.

A&M senior director of product development Mike Regan told Billboard, "With a band that's had so much success at pop radio, we have to make sure we develop a real image for them. You have a lot of bands that achieve pop success but don't have a vision for the long-term career or how to leave a lasting impression."

The promotional campaign for Congratulations, I'm Sorry began with a pre-release postcard to be included in bags in retail stores. The album was to be promoted for six months after its release and included kitchen magnets, lighters, and stickers. The band also did a college tour to support the album.

"'Till I Hear It From You" was the first single and video from the Empire Records soundtrack(released August 22, 1995). It was the first new song from the Gin Blossoms in three years.


Gin Blossoms, Josh Clayton-Felt, Badlees 1996 concert ticket by A&M Records


Congratulations I'm Sorry sold about 3 million copies by 2014.


20th Century Masters press release

Outside Looking In: the Best Of press release

  1. Gin Blossoms Bloom. Catherine Applefeld. Billboard, October 17, 1992.
  2. The Gin Blossoms' A&M Singles Won't Fall Away. Eric Boehlert. Billboard, July 30, 1994.
  3. A&M Soundtrack Plants Hopes with the Gin Blossoms. Carrie Borzillo. Billboard, August 5, 1995.
  4. Gin Blossoms Cultivate Fan Base. Melinda Newman. Billboard, January 27, 1996.
Recording Years / Label
1991-1996 -  A&M Records
Name Member Years Instruments
Bill Lean bass
Doug Hopkins guitar
Jesse Valenzuela guitar
Phillip Rhodes drums
Robin Wilson vocals
Scott Johnson guitar
Name Birth Death
Bill Lean 1962-03-01
Doug Hopkins 1961-04-11 1993-12-05
Jesse Valenzuela 1962-05-22
Phillip Rhodes 1968-05-26
Robin Wilson 1965-07-12
Scott Johnson 1962-10-11
Name See associated acts
Jesse Valenzuela Low/Watts
Phillip Rhodes Gas Giants
Robin Wilson Gas GiantsPharoahs 2000Robin Wilson
Scott Johnson Low/Watts

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