At the age of thirteen, Stephen Bishop found himself at a crossroads. A clarinetist with hopes of becoming a History teacher, he was forever changed after watching the Beatles one night on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” He convinced his brother to buy him an electric guitar. He bought a “Mel Bay” chord book and began to learn to play guitar and make up chords as well, writing his first song, “Surf’s Turf.” a pathetic sounding instrumental. He formed a band called The Weeds and began to play at local fraternity parties incorporating his own original songs with various songs from the Top 40.
The Weeds won second place at the Claremont Battle of the Bands, prompting one of the judges to exclaim that “Stephen Bishop is going to be a big songwriter someday!” Determined to fulfill that prophesy, Stephen made the trip to Los Angeles. He walked the streets with his $12 acoustic guitar, playing songs for various publishers in Hollywood, eventually landing a publishing deal at $50 a week for E.H.Morris Publishing. One of his songs was recorded only to be followed by a long wait. Many years went by. At one point, Stephen considered leaving Los Angeles to return home and work for his Dad’s insurance company. Through a good friend, Art Garfunkel heard some of his new songs and recorded two of them on his Gold recording, Breakaway.
He started playing around town singing his songs in person for artists, like Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Michelle Phillips. Shortly thereafter, he was signed to ABC Records who released his first album, Careless. His two hits from that album were “Save It For a Rainy Day,” and “On and On.” Soon the album went gold, as well as his next album, Bish.
He sang the theme, “It Might Be You,” from the movie, “Tootsie,” as well as writing and/or singing thirteen other films including, “Animal House,” and “Separate Lives” from “White Nights.” His songs have been sung by such artists as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Barbra Streisand, Art Garfunkel, Steve Perry, Stephanie Mills, Kenny Loggins, Johnny Mathis, Phoebe Snow, David Crosby, The Four Tops and Pavarotti.
Bishop has been nominated for two Grammys and an Oscar nomination for his song, “Separate Lives”. His new CD is entitled Saudade (re-released as Romance in Rio). His book on rough drafts, Songs in the Rough, published by St. Martins’ Press, sold out in its first printing. He sang and co-wrote the song, “You Can Do Anything” for the movie, “Barney’s Big Adventure.”