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.
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!
"Here Comes Your Man" is the closest the Pixies came to a hit in America. It was rumored to be about a drug dealer, but Black Francis says it's just a story about some hobos who travel by train and die in an earthquake.
When "Nothin' On You" reached #1 on the Hot 100, B.o.B became the first American act whose name is a palindrome to top the chart. The other two who did so prior to the Atlanta rapper were both Scandinavian groups - ABBA and A-Ha.