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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Bishop, Stephen - 1989 Bowling In Paris
Bishop, Stephen - 1989 Bowling In Paris

ARTIST: Bishop, Stephen
ALBUM: Bowling In Paris
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 81970-1 (LP), 7 81970-2
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Stephen Bishop - vocals, guitars, various instruments

Guests: Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Michael Thompson, Steve Lukather, Dean Parks, Eric Clapton, Martin Jenner, Ronnie Caryl, Mathew Downs, Steve Bolton - guitars * Sting, Mo Foster, Joe Chemay, Nathan East - bass * Michael Omartian, Jeff Jones, Pete Wingfield, Adrian Lee - keyboards * Michael Omartian, Phil Collins, John Keane - drums and drum programming * Dave Boruff - sax * Michael Omartian, Sting, Phil Collins, Brenda Russell, Randy Crwaford, Debby Boone, Mark Spiro, Susanne Christian, Stacey Earle - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mr Heartbreak * 02 I Think I Know What Love Is * 03 Kari * 04 Sleeping With Girls * 05 Parked Cars * 06 Walking On Air * 07 Innocent Lov * 08 Tip Of The Iceberg * 09 Love At A Distance * 10 Love On The Outside (Bonus) * 11 Hall Light


Singer songwriter Stephen Bishop really hit the nail on the head with this overlooked set of hi-tech West Coast/AOR. Best remembered for his Jimmy Buffet styled hit 'On And On' plus 'It Might Be You' from the movie 'Tootsie', Bishop has hovered around the softer edges of rock for many years. A host of albums as well, but this beauty 'Bowling In Paris' takes the cake. As you can see from the assembled lineup, we are talking top shelf here. Production has been spared no cost, spread between LA and the UK and places in between. Who else can bring together the likes of Phil Collins, Sting, and Eric Clapton, all of whom were admittedly in strong phases of their careers at this time. It seems Stephen Bishop can, but the guitar backline is the AOR Dream Team of melodic rock, though not all playing simultaneously (wouldn't that be something?).

The Songs
The songs that have been produced in collaboration with Michael Omartian (7 out of the 11 onboard), have a strong West Coast sheen to them. The opening pair of 'Mr Heartbreak' and 'Think I Know What Love Is' would get fans of Planet 3 and Airplay very interested. The latter track is incredible AOR with Giant's Dann Huff at the six-string helm, while the third offering 'Kari' is a Mark Spiro penned special. This is the track 'Better With A Broken Heart' obviously rewritten, featured on his 'Devotion' album from 1997. 'Sleeping With Girls' has a darker edge to it, similar to the undercover lover work of Gino Vanelli, and according to the lyrics, that's exactly what it's about.. an undercover lover.. 'Parked Cars' and 'Tip Of The Iceberg' are both smooth pieces of West Coast, lilting and soft to the touch. The bright and breezy 'Walking On Air'.. features the dulcet tones of Phil Collins. Meanwhile the L.A rush returns with 'Innocent Lov', with Steve Lukather doing the honors this time around in typical six-string aplomb. Apart from the first three songs, 'Love At A Distance' is the next best AOR effort, and not an L.A session muso was in sight. This one put together by the UK team of players including Phil Collins, Adrian Lee, Mo Foster, Ronnie Caryl and lead guitarist Steve Bolton.. great stuff. And finally, the All-Stars turn up to play on 'Hall Light', where Collins, Sting and Clapton lend their collective weight to precedings. Not the strongest song on offer, but a privilege to hear them together.

In Summary
Of all the Bishop discography, this is the one that will appeal most to melodic rockers. Actually, the Rhino Records 'Best Of Bish' from the year before is pretty good too, containing 15 tracks of his strongest material, including the two aforementioned hits. Bish is still in circulation, though perhaps not flying the AOR/melodic rock flag as he did here with 'Bowling In Paris'. So, if you know what's good for you, get your balls at the ready!

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#1 | jeffduran on July 22 2008 23:08:21
This is excellent! 'Love At A Distance' is amazing AOR!
#2 | richardb on July 23 2008 14:05:06
A very classy release. Bishop's vocals are top notch throughout (they were made for this kind of material) For me 'Kari' and 'Innocent lov' are the stand out cuts.

Richard B
#3 | rostoned on July 23 2008 14:10:19
I look at the cover...another Buddy Holly lookalike à la Donnie Iris? hilarious
#4 | jefflynnefan on July 24 2008 01:26:36
Yea, he does look like a nerd on the cover but I like his songs. Marshall Crenshaw would later fill his shoes ala Buddy Holly.
#5 | Eric on January 29 2009 21:28:09
A really good album although I prefer his 70's albums in particular 'Careless' which included the charming 'On and On'.
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