On and On

Album: Careless (1977)
Charted: 11

Songfacts®:

  • There's a lot of pathos in this song, as the various characters presented (Lonesome Sue, Jimmy) deal with cheating and heartbreak. The singer finds himself in Jamaica, where he lets it all go.

    Bishop didn't write this from personal experience. He told Songfacts: "I write from titles usually. I was walking down to the corner grocery store in Silverlake where I was living at the time and I came up with the idea of 'On and On.' My landlady had a lot of exotic flowers all around the house and I wanted to write something from somewhere else, like Jamaica."
  • This was Bishop's first hit and his biggest as a performer. As a songwriter, he went to #1 with "Separate Lives."
  • Here's the personnel on this one:

    Bass - Mac Cridlin
    Drums - Larry Brown
    Electric guitar - Andrew Gold
    Electric piano - Barlow Jarvis
    Percussion, vibraphone, marimba - Victor Feldman
    Steel guitar - Michael Staton
  • Aswad did a reggae version in 1989, taking the song to #25 in the UK.

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 1st 1977, "On and On" by Stephen Bishop entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #93; and after a 11 weeks on the chart, on October 2nd it finally peaked at #11 (for 1 week), in all it spent over a half-year on the Top 100 (28 weeks)...
    As already stated, this was his biggest hit; he had four other Top 100 hits, "Save It For A Rainy Day" (#22 in 1977), "Everybody Needs Love" (#32 in 1978), "Animal House" (#73 in 1979), and "It Might Be You" (#25 in 1983)...
    Mr. Bishop will celebrate his 63rd birthday this coming November 14th, 2014.
  • Steve from Torrance, CaDrummer Jeff Hamilton has recorded a jazz version of this song with his trio. The album is called Red Sparkle.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaI love this song. I'm a sucker for pathos, especially with clever, humorous, insightful lyrics. "So he takes a ladder, steals the stars from the sky, puts on Sinatra, and starts to cry." You can't write any better than that!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.

Dan ReedSongwriter Interviews

Dan cracked the Top 40 with "Ritual," then went to India and spent 2 hours with the Dalai Lama.

Francesca BattistelliSongwriter Interviews

The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.