Allison Road

Album: New Miserable Experience (1992)
Charted: 24
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Songfacts®:

  • There really is an Allison Road that inspired this song. It's in Roosevelt, Texas, off of I-10.

    A friend of Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson was driving back from the South By Southwest Festival in Austin on his way to El Paso when he saw a sign for it, and because his sister's name is Allison, he snapped a photo. That photo found its way to Wilson, who decided to use it for the title of a song.
  • The song is about a girl (not really named Allison), with the Allison Road a metaphor for their relationship. Robin Wilson says the lyrics came from a place of joy and with romantic intent, so it seems he's having a revelation that this is the girl for him.
  • "Allison Road" was the last in a string of hits from the New Miserable Experience album, earning airplay into 1995, two-and-a-half years after the album was first issued in the summer of 1992.

    From 1988-1991, Gin Blossoms were big in the Phoenix area but couldn't get much further despite their delightfully catchy songs. They released an album on a small label in 1989 that included early versions of "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You," both written by their guitarist, Doug Hopkins. They recorded more polished versions of those songs when they signed to A&M Records and included them on New Miserable Experience. It took a year, but "Hey Jealousy" finally broke through in the summer of 1993, and from there the band was off and running. Their jangly, uptempo pop songs were embraced by radio stations who could slot them in knowing they would get a good reaction from listeners. After "Found Out About You," A&M made sure the next singles, "Until I Fall Away" and "Allison Road," weren't available for sale, meaning you had to buy the albums to get the songs. This strategy worked: "Found Out About You" was on the air throughout the summer of 1994 in into the fall, and then "Allison Road" picked up the baton. The album went on to sell over 4 million copies.

    There is a tragic sidebar to this story though: Doug Hopkins, struggling with alcoholism and in no condition to tour, was kicked out of the band after they made the album. When "Hey Jealousy" took off, he became despondent and took his own life.

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