My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Open Spaces and Gas Stations and another hit song

by Paul Bellini

James Collins has had a pretty charmed career as a songwriter. Though he looks like a cop (and has played one on several episodes of Kids in the Hall, which is where we met), Collins is a softy, a balladeer with a tender heart. He’s a terrific lyricist and a huge asset to the gay community of Toronto. He’s had over 20 top ten hits to his credit, including hits for various Canadian Idol winners.

One of the best things to happen to James was when an executive matched him up with the legendary Melissa Manchester. Anyone of a certain age will remember Melissa.

She began her career as a backup singer for Bette Midler at the Continental Baths before becoming a huge success as a solo act. Her songs “Midnight Blue,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” were all gigantic hits.

Back in 2006, the duo collaborated on a song called “My Christmas Song for You.”

They enjoyed each other’s creativity so much that they’ve returned with a new song, “Open Spaces and Gas Stations,” which Manchester has released as a new single. It’s up to the duo’s usually high standards, and definitely worth a listen.