At the age of 13, 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. His brother Denny bought Stephen an electric guitar and a “Mel Bay” chord book and turned his stereo into an amp so Stephen could play music. Stephen began to learn to play guitar and make up his own 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 Top 40.
Stephen made a trip to Los Angeles at 17 eventually landing a publishing deal at $50 a week. After years of trying to make it, a good friend, Leah Kunkel, got some of Stephen’s songs to Art Garfunkel, who wound up recording two of them on his gold recording, “Breakaway.”
Stephen started playing around town singing his songs in person for artists like Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Diana Ross. Shortly thereafter, he was signed to ABC Records who released his first album, “Careless.” He had two hits from the album: “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 hit theme “It Might Be You” for the movie Tootsie (1982), as well as writing and/or singing songs for 13 other films including ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). He also composed “Separate Lives” for the film White Nights (1985). His songs have been recorded by Beyoncé, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand, Art Garfunkel, Steve Perry, Stephanie Mills, Kenny Loggins, Johnny Mathis, Phoebe Snow, David Crosby, The Four Tops, Aswad and Pavarotti.
He appeared as the Charming Guitar Player in ANIMAL HOUSE, wherein John Belushi slams his guitar to smithereens in the toga party scene. Stephen was nominated for two Grammys and awarded an Oscar nomination for his song “Separate Lives,” which became a no. 1 hit for Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin. In Eric Clapton’s autobiography, Eric mentions Stephen as “one of the great singer songwriters.” Stephen recently released his 25-year anniversary album, “Bowling in Paris.” Remastered with new artwork the album features Sting on bass and vocals, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins, and is produced by Michael Omartian and Phil Collins.
Beyoncé released her platinum album self-titled album in 2013, which includes the song “Ring Off” co-written by Stephen and Beyoncé. Stephen released his newest album “Blueprint,” produced by Jon Gilutin. It features a song co-written with Eric Clapton called, “Holy Mother.” Stephen also co-wrote “Almost Home” with Curt Sobel, which is the theme of the new film Benji (2018).