Fans of the soft rock genre are quite familiar with the name of Stephen Bishop. This multi-talented singer/songwriter helped to fuel the romantic fancies of many in the 70’s and 80’s. His unique ability to score some of the best loved ballads both for film and radio is quite impressive.
In fact, Stephen has written songs for Animal House, White Nights, Roadie, Tootsie and many more. Not only that, but Bishop has also had great success writing memorable tracks for other artists, such as Art Garfunkel, Streisand, Steve Perry and more. To top it off, vocalists such as Phoebe Snow, the Four Tops and Yvonne Elliman have made successful covers of his compositions.
When it comes right down to it, choosing the absolute best Stephen Bishop songs of all time can be a daunting task. After all, he’s a prolific songwriter who has penned tracks for hit movies, radio and other personalities.That’s a lot of ground to cover. For instance, the track “Separate Lives” wasn’t performed by Bishop, but by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin.To put it mildly, Stephen Bishop songs have left an imprint on a generation, and here are out picks for the top ten Stephen Bishop songs of all time.
10. Like Mother Like Daughter
“Like Mother Like Daughter” is a track found on Bishop’s 2019 album, We’ll Talk About it Later in the Car. The song revolves around a young girl whose mother abandoned the family, leaving her husband to take care of things.
As the girl matures, she takes after her mom and leaves the father. The song’s structure resembles a cross between soft rock and easy listening country. Composed by Bishop and Robin Lerner, the song is one of family and the issues many face.
9. Animal House
Back in the day, the film Animal House was a surprise hit. This tale about life in a fraternity starred John Belushi. Stephen Bishop penned two songs for the film, “Animal House” and the trippy “Dream Girl”, which was actually about his crush on actress Carrie Fisher.
“Animal House” was both written and performed by Bishop with the process being supervised by Kenny Vance. Considered the film’s theme song, it was released in 1978 on the National Lampoon Animal House Soundtrack.
8. Walking On Air
“Walking on Air” was composed and performed by Bishop specifically for the 1986 film, The Boy Who Could Fly. The song was chosen to accompany the film’s closing credits. The song’s upbeat tempo is a pleasant reminder of the butterflies one feels when love enters our lives, our hearts hopelessly flutters leaving us in a state of ecstasy.
The track was released once more on the 1989 album, Bowling in Paris where it reportedly peaked at number 13 on the charts. Here’s a fun fact for those of you who are a fan of the song and film: Rock drummer Phil Collins handled both the percussion and background vocal duties for the track..
7. Everybody Needs Love
This upbeat track comes off his second studio album, entitled Bish. In this song, the singer seems to be trying to woo a lady of interest by telling her that everyone needs love, even her. Released in 1978 as a disco single, “Everybody Needs Love” reached number 5 on the Adult Contemporary charts in the U.S. You might fend it interesting to note that musician Ray Parker, Jr. of Ghost Busters theme fame, plays guitar on the song.
6. Looking for the Right One
Stephen’s sophomore effort, 1978’s Bish, is an album filled with some of Stephen’s best work. The album’s strength is provided by the support provided by some of the choicest musical talent in the business.
Top talent included Art Garfunkel, Chaka Khan, Steve Cropper, Ed Shaughnessy, Natalie Cole and more. “Looking for the Right One” was the second single from the album and had been recorded by Art Garfunkel 3 years prior.
The song tells the narrative of a man searching for a connection while hoping that same connection will be searching for him in return. Arranger extraordinaire, Marty Paich is responsible for the depth of feeling with regards to the string arrangements in the track.
5. Never Letting Go
“Never Letting Go” is our third offering from Stephen’s 1976 debut album, Careless. Composed by Bishop, this track is a tender ballad originally intended for Bette Midler. It concerns a man who is devoted, in love and is determined to stay,
“I could be a gentleman and walk away with style,
But I fight to keep you, throw my arms around you,
This is crazy I know but I just end the show,
I’m never letting go, never, never”
An interesting fact involves vocalist Phoebe Snow. As soon as she heard Bishop’s song from his 1976 album Careless, she decided to name her 1977 album “Never Letting Go”, using the song as her title track.
4. Separate Lives
When Stephen worked on the film Animal House, he met actress Karen Allen. They proceeded to have a romantic relationship and it was this relationship that was the basis for the song “Separate Lives”. This lovely, soft yet bittersweet track is based on their break-up.
According to Bishop, “When I first wrote it, I felt like it was my angry song,” he said. “And then I played it for her and she went, ‘Oh, that’s beautiful.’The track was written specifically for the film White Knights. Bishop did not perform the song. Instead it was performed by Marilyn Martin and Phil Collins. Released in 1985, the song reached the number one position in the U.S and number 4 in the U.K.
3. It Might Be You
Bishop hit the charts again with another soundtrack hit with “It Might Be You”, from the popular film Tootsie. The song was composed not by Bishop, but by Dave Grusin, Alan and Marliln Bergman. Bishop was chosen by the film’s producers to sing the song as they felt his vocal talents would suit the project.
Bishop’s version landed on the number one spot on the adult contemporary charts, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1983. As a side note, it appears that the song is incredibly popular in the Philippines! According to Bishop He’s played there 11 times with people of all ages being huge fans of the song.
2. Save it For a Rainy Day
“Save it For a Rainy Day” is the second single from Bishop’s debut album, Careless, that hit the charts. Released in 1976, “Save it for a Rainy Day” is still considered one of the best soft rock songs ever written. The song concerns a man who is emotionally attached to a girl who is the exact opposite of what he needs. Friends want him to save his love for a rainy day instead of pine for her. An interesting tidbit is that the soulful Chaka Khan provided some of the background vocals.
1. On and On
Of all Stephen Bishop songs, “On and On” can easily be considered by Bishop’s fans as his signature song. Recorded in 1976 and released in 1977, this track came off his debut album, Careless and reached number 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Recorded under the genre of soft rock, “On and On” tells the tale of several characters dealing with the emotional pain of a love gone wrong. In the end, the singer seeks his own escape in Jamaica. For more insight into this multi-talented vocalist/songwriter, check out this charming interview where he performs songs from his album Careless, including “On and On”
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