Stephen Bishop Biography

14 November 1951, San Diego, California, USA. While he had mastered both piano and trombone, it was an older brother’s gift of an electric guitar that launched a vocational flight whereby an unprepossessing, bespectacled 14-year-old became a highly popular songwriter of US pop. In 1967, he formed his first group, the Weeds, who recorded some Beatles -inspired demos in Los Angeles before disbanding. During a subsequent seven-year search for a solo recording contract, Bishop worked as a tunesmith for a publishing house before securing a contract in 1976 via the patronage of Art Garfunkel. Indeed, his debut album for ABC Records, Careless, was much in the style of his champion. It also employed the cream of Los Angeles session players. Fortunately for ABC, it was nominated for a Grammy and, like the succeeding Bish, hovered in the lower reaches of the national Top 40 for several months. The spin-off singles (particularly ‘On And On’ from Careless) also fared well. The Four Tops, Chaka Khan and Barbra Streisand covered his compositions and Bishop gained studio assistance from Khan, Garfunkel, Gary Brooker, Steve Cropper, Phil Collins and other stars. He returned these favours by contributing to Collins’ Face Value (1981) and composing ‘Separate Lives’, the Englishman’s duet with Marilyn Martin from the movie White Nights.

Bishop’s own performances on film included the theme songs to Animal House (‘Dream Girl’), Roadie (‘Your Precious Love’ with Yvonne Elliman), 1982’s Tootsie (‘It Might Be You’, a non-original) and The China Syndrome. In common with the ubiquitous Garfunkel, he also tried his hand as a supporting actor - notably in 1980’s The Blues Brothers - but his musicianship remains Bishop’s calling card. Although his later albums were commercially erratic, he extended his stylistic range - as exemplified byRed Cab To Manhattan, which embraced both an attempt at big band jazz (‘This Is The Night’) and ‘Don’t You Worry’, a tribute to the Beatles. Bowling In Paris featured contributions from Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting and Randy Crawford.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.