Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
On and On: The Hits of Stephen Bishop
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
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Page three of the liner notes almost says more than I could
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Listen to many of his songs," someone writes, "and you might think you're privy to the innermost feelings of the world's champion hopeless romantic." (Here, all the time, I thought that was me). Stephen Bishop is one of only three people on Earth who can shake me to my foundations everytime I come in contact with them, taking me back to a darkened college radio station control room, where, prior to sign-on, I would listen over and over to "Never Letting Go" and swear that I wouldn't (though I did), or to any one of a now-nameless gaggle of mid-pubescent prom night heartbreaks through "On And On," or to thinking of the one one never gets over when "Madge" comes to call (love the little, wistful piece of "London Bridge" in there). THEN, what does he do? Gives us "Save It For A Rainy Day" or "Everybody Needs Love" (what kind of mind comes up with "...from the old man sleepin' in the corner/ to the baby smilin' in a hurricane"?) and it's sunshine and roses and a little bit of hope for love in the world all over again. This compilation, and the all-too-tough-to-find "Red Cab to Manhattan" are must-have CDs for the true student/fan of "Bish." Very well done."
One of the Cleverest Singer/Songwriters From the '70s
Musings | Illinois United States | 03/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the surface, Bishop appears to be another in a string of soft rock singers from the late '70s whose only connection seem to be one or two big hits and a beard (see Andrew Gold, Rupert Holmes). Bish stands out because he made a lot of buddies over the years (Art Garfunkel, Chaka Khan, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton), and his music contains a healthy dollop of humor.With his original major-label studio albums long out of print, this is the best representation of those early years ("20th Century Masters" omits six songs found here, with an alternate mix of "Looking for the Right One" the only other distinction). That's unfortunate, as the first three LPs show a natural progression in his work (the terrific "Red Cab to Manhattan" ranges all the way from the tender "Send a Little Love My Way" to the rocking "City Girl" to the goofball raveup "Sex Kittens Go to College"). Bishop has concentrated mostly on movie themes in the last few years, along with a book, "Songs in the Rough" (which, given I worked for the publisher for 13 years, you'd think I would have secured -- apparently it's due in paperback).In any case, if you can find a copy of this particular greatest hits set, it's worth the investment. And if, like me, you're intersted in the original LPs... well, check out those used record stores!"
A soft rock goldmine
Dave | United States | 03/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1994 MCA Records compilation "On And On--The Hits of Stephen Bishop" is a superb collection of the recorded work of Stephen Bishop, a definitive hopeless romantic singer-songwriter. Containing 18 tracks & running well over an hour, this disc demonstrates that Bishop was one of those people who had seemingly a magic touch when it came to great songwriting, not to mention his beautiful and soulful vocals.
"On And On", "Never Letting Go", "Madge", "One More Night", & the solo performance of "Separate Lives" (which blows away the Phil Collins-Marilyn Martin hit version) are all terrific examples of his impressively tuneful & resonating acoustic guitar-based soft rock; "Losing Myself In You", which features Michael McDonald on backing vocals, is also a fine example. Stephen also did great with the ultra-catchy uptempo tune "Everybody Needs Love"; the wonderful & breezy "Little Italy"; the tender orchestrated ballad "Looking For The Right One"; and the pop-rock confection "Save It For A Rainy Day", included here in what I presume is its single mix (it is regrettably marred by the darn fade with Chaka Khan's obnoxious vocals). Another thing to point out is that Bishop enjoyed letting his hair down regularly, and you get a taste of that here with the fun, playful "Animal House".
That leads to another big thing with Bish: soundtracks. Bishop has a whole bunch of songs that didn't turn up on his albums/ were written specifically for soundtracks, and this disc nicely gathers a bunch of these including the aforementioned "Animal House"; the highly engaging, haunting uptempo tune "Somewhere Inbetween" (with superb electric piano work); the rather sappy but still nice "Only Love" (written by Burt Bacharach, Stephen Bishop, & Carol Bayer Sager), & the wonderful romantic ballad "It Might Be You" which Bishop didn't write but it suits him perfectly.
The disc also salvages the catchy feel-good tune "Walking On Air"--which features longtime Bishop admirer & friend Phil Collins--from Bish's overall weak 1989 'comeback' album "Bowling In Paris".
The only track here that hands-down does not belong on any Stephen Bishop "best of" CD is the closing track, "(You'll Always Be) My Heart And Soul", a song that Stephen didn't write and which features Andrew Gold on all instruments. It's a sappy, generic Adult Contemporary ballad that hints at the dullness of certain tracks on Bish's 1996 album "Blue Guitars" which Gold was a major part of.
However, the song choices here are overall very wise, & the extensive liner notes & performance credits for each track really go that extra mile to make this great collection even better & more satisfying.
All that said, there's definitely more to the Bishop story than what's on here. The only track here representing Bish's very strong 1980 album "Red Cab To Manhattan" is an alternate version (probably the single version) of "Send A Little Love My Way (Like Always)", a great inclusion since it's definitely one of his best songs--the version here has mind-blowing falsetto vocals from Bishop on the fade. A previous reviewer mentions the song "City Girl" which starts off as a dreamy ballad before switching into a cathartic rocker--it would have been a great inclusion here in the sense that there's really nothing even close to a bonafide rocker on this entire disc. Also, serious Bish fans shouldn't make the mistake of ignoring a 1988 Rhino disc called "Best of Bish" thinking that this disc makes it totally redundant--"Best of Bish" has 3 tracks from the never released "Sleeping With Girls" album including a full band version of "Separate Lives" & the haunting ballad "Fallin'", and it also has a couple more soundtrack tunes as well as the great title track from "Red Can To Manhattan".
In the end, "On And On--The Hits of Stephen Bishop" isn't all the Bish you need, but it's certainly a superb collection/ introduction to his work and a great disc for any fan/ serious listener to have."