Stephen Bishop

The Best of Stephen Bishop: 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection: Stephen Bishop

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Folk-pop singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop has bounced around from one record label to another, but he had his greatest success on the ABC label in the mid-'70s when he scored the Top 40 pop hits "Save It for a Rainy Day" and "On and On." In fact, his two ABC LPs, Careless (1977) and the gold-certified Bish (1978), are his only ones to sell well enough to make the charts. ABC was absorbed into MCA, which is now part of Universal, the major label responsible for the 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection series of discount-priced best-of compilations, and the Bishop number draws heavily from those two albums, which provide nine of the 12 tracks. Unusually for the series, however, the compilers have licensed a track from outside Universal, Bishop's chart-topping adult contemporary hit "It Might Be You," the theme from the 1983 movie Tootsie, which is controlled by Warner Brothers Records. With that inclusion, all of Bishop's Top 40 pop hits are featured, although a handful of other adult contemporary hits, including "Unfaithfully Yours (One Love)" and "Walking on Air," are missing. Still, this is the Bishop most listeners remember, with his wispy tenor, shading into a falsetto, singing songs of romantic disappointment that boast strong hooks. Bishop's theme for National Lampoon's Animal House, sung in falsetto and in a 1950s doo wop style, is uncharacteristic but enjoyable, while his own version of his song "Separate Lives," a hit for Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin, is just about unrecognizable in its voice-and-acoustic-guitar arrangement, but sensitively performed. This is a good album for anyone who heard "On and On" on the radio, liked it, and wondered if its singer had more like it. He does.

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