Stephen Bishop!!! THIS is songwriting!

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by slopeshoulder, Dec 16, 2009.


  1. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

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    This guy seems forgotten, and written off for a few skillful yet insipid movie themes (Tootsie), but I must say that his first 2-3 records were great and he belongs aside Jimmy Webb, James Taylor, Burt Bacharach and a few others as a GREAT American songwriter of soft-rock and R&B ballads. Almost brazilian in its quality and scope (e.g. ivan lins, tom jobim). Up there with Paddy McAloon and Paul Buchanan too. The soft rock style may be dated, but the NOTES are wonderful. Few wrote songs this well, ever. But he and or the music biz only took it so far.
    Great melodies, key changes, song structure, etc. (On and On, his most popular song, is IMO his worst song). A songwriter's songwriter.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RapIK8chpVE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQrD07bepy0&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pxv38Y_PEw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cqqbeZkApQ&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw4AwMMcqiA&feature=related
     
  2. parker

    parker Member

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    Yup, it's good stuff, I'm such a sucker for this... thanks for posting!
     
  3. mockoman

    mockoman Member

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    My wife turned me on to him. Kinda McCartneyesque...
     
  4. getbent

    getbent Member

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    I remember when stephen drove a honda to gigs! ha ha!

    'find your heaven in the corner bar'...

    losing myself in you...

    he was the first person who I ever heard who claimed to have written "I'm so miserable here without you, it is almost like having you here."
     
  5. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't forget his cameo in Animal House:

     
  6. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

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    I've been listening to him all week (first 2 albums).
    I hear gershwin, hogy carmichael, richard rogers, burt bacharach, smokey robinson, cole porter, paul williams, jimmy webb, randy newman, fagan/becker, stevie wonder, and james taylor all crafted together into a coherent whole that somehow only sounds like Bish.

    I know the styles he worked in (mellow 70's singer songwriter and light R&B with disco overtones) are dated and invisisble today. But THE NOTES THEMSELVES are wonderful: soaring and surprising melodies, long forms, great chord changes and key changes, and middle 8's that take it over the top. If nothing else, it's a textbook study in all the things you can do with a min7b5 chord and dominant 11th chord.
    These days it's more popular to do a static or near static groove, or a 3-5 chord song. And I like those too!! But man is it refreshing and inspriing to hear a guy who channels so much melody and harmony into an accessible song.

    And when he did that "tromblone" thing, he phrased like chet baker.

    He released his stuff just as punk and new wave were starting to happen, so he made his "fortune" writing some film themesongs and a few smash hits for others. But if he had broke five years earlier, he'd currently be on the lifetime achievement award circuit.

    That's probably why so many A-list players and big stars appeaered on his albums.
    I mean, "Never Letting Go," "Madge" "One More Night" etc etc etc?
    (I'll bet the folks over at gearslutz love him).
     

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