Book Review: On And Off By Stephen Bishop

Stephen Bishop’s memoir, On and Off, is now available! I had the honor of interviewing Stephen about his book and career, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Now that I’ve read his autobiography, I have an even greater appreciation for him as a person and an artist. Read on for my thoughts on On and Off.

Publisher’s Summary

Stephen Bishop, a songwriter since the age of thirteen, left his home in San Diego for Los Angeles at seventeen. He got a job writing songs for a publishing company for fifty dollars a week. Years later, this veteran songwriter has had his songs recorded by Phil Collins, Barbra Streisand, Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, Beyonce, Art Garfunkel, Pavarotti, David Crosby, and many others.

He has written the theme songs to “Animal House,” “The China Syndrome,” “White Nights,” and countless other films. Stephen is a two-time Grammy-nominated recording artist and Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter.

His hits include, “On and On,” “It Might Be You” (the theme from tootsie), “Separate Lives,” “Save it For A Rainy Day” and more. In total Stephen has written 650+ songs, released 19 albums, has had his music streamed over 500+ million times, and sold over 15+ million records worldwide for himself and other songwriters.

This autobiography follows his journey from childhood to the present. Describing his hardships, successes, and whacky experiences throughout his fifty-year career.

My Thoughts

At 259 pages, Stephen Bishop’s long-awaited autobiography is just as enjoyable as his music. On and Off provides readers with the expected — tales of Stephen’s career and life, full-color photos, etc. — along with the unexpected. What do I mean? Well, rather than simply rely on the conventional chronological structure that most autobiographies adhere to, Stephen’s book features “memories” in between the chapters, and these intervals provide bite-sized stories that are highly entertaining; whether they are about Stephen’s personal life or career, these memories are an effective way to keep the reader engaged with fresh, easy-to-digest content in between the long-form writing. Moreover, these memories are so succinct and plentiful that this unique structure has allowed Stephen to tell more stories in his autobiography than most artists can. It’s a stroke of brilliance.

The writing in On and Off is straightforward and easy to absorb. It felt as though I was sitting across the table from Stephen while he told me his stories. I was routinely amazed while reading about the wild adventures he’s experienced, and I could relate to many of the scenarios he found himself in. The stories in life that we like the most are those we see ourselves in, and the same goes for songs. Stephen effectively captured that relatability in his autobiography, making it an immersive and satisfying experience.

On and Off is a wonderful, detailed read about the life and prolific career of a phenomenally talented artist. Featuring the humor, quirkiness, and variety that Stephen Bishop is known for, On and Off is sure to please hardcore fans and intrigue those who are familiar with this singer-songwriter’s big hits. This book provides a buffet of content, including Stephen’s memories, his thoughts on other artists and his own albums, lyrics, photos, chapters devoted to important moments in his life and career, and more. No stone is left unturned, making On and Off a beautiful way to celebrate an extraordinary career and person.

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