Learn more about an era of music and the connections behind the songs. Interwoven with personal anecdotes, commentary and artist history. A unique way to tap into music nostalgia and discovery.
My Personal Chart, September 8, 1990
The companion Spotify playlist has all the songs discussed in the blog.
Number in Parentheses after bolded and underlined songs are the chart position on my personal chart that week.
Just Came Back/Colin James (5)
This song had just come off a 4-week run at the top of my personal chart in July and August and spending its 9th week in my top 10. The song starts like a campfire song recorded in a bygone era and then transforms into a blistering Blues-Rocker smoothed out by a killer melody, horns, and female background vocals. The production of the time added a simmering synth backdrop and all these elements have put this song in a grand place in my personal chart history. At the time it was my #4 song of the year but now it stands as my favorite song of 1990, surpassing the original #1 “Heart Of The Matter” by Don Henley, #2 “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode, and #3 by Winger ?! “Can’t Get Enuff” (8). That one also had an underlying keyboard groove that elevated it above other hair metal of the time.
Saskatchewan native Colin James is an acclaimed blues guitarist who was discovered by Stevie Ray Vaughn and has had 16 albums and 17 charted singles since 1988. With this song, which went to #5 in Canada, he won the Juno Award for Song of the Year in 1991 as well as Male Vocalist of the Year. “Voodoo Thing” was his 1st hit in 1988 and he returned the Canadian top 10 in 1995 with “Saviour”. In 1991 he played guitar on the Richard Marx song “Thunder and Lightning”, the B-side of his hit “Hazard”.
On his follow-up album In 1993, “Colin James and the Little Big Bad”, he dabbled in Jump Blues long before the Swing revival of the late ‘90s made it popular. He would do 4 albums in that style over the years. He also often collaborated with members of the Canadian band Odds who had a few Alternative hits in the mid-90s; “Someone Who’s Cool” (hitting #6 on Adult Alternative in 1997), “Heterosexual Man” and “Eat My Brain”. That last song was featured in the 1996 movie “Brain Candy” from Canadian comedy troupe Kids In The Hall who had a successful TV show from 1988-1995.
Stevie Ray Vaughn was also instrumental in bringing Blues guitarist Jeff Healey to recognition. Healey had a rare cancer and went blind at the age of 1. At 3 he started playing guitar and uniquely played it flat on his lap. In 1989 he scored a major hit with the Blues ballad “Angel Eyes”. The song co-written by famed artist John Hiatt hit #5 on the Hot 100. In the summer of ’89 “Angel Eyes” and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s own “Crossfire” were both moving up my chart. The week of Sept. 30 ‘Eyes’ peaked at #5 and “Crossfire” and #22.
In 1990 The Jeff Healey Band won Entertainer of the Year at the Juno Awards. Their 1990 album “Hell To Pay” produced 2 Rock top 10 songs; the #5 “I Think I Love You too Much” written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and the Beatles cover “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (14). This version went to #1 on my chart and #7 on the Rock chart. On this track they got an assist from the song’s writer George Harrison and ELO’s Jeff Lynne. In 2007 Healey died at the age of 41 from complications from sarcoma.