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Tyrell, Steve

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Every recording artist has one album that they are destined to make - an album so singularly in-sync with their sensibility and history that its' making smacks of pure destiny. For Steve Tyrell - the distinguished Grammy winner and Emmy nominated purveyor of pop standards, as well as a behind the scenes impresario- that album is Back to Bacharach, a deeply personal collection of songs from the piano of Burt Bacharach and the pen of Hal David.    

 

When Steve arrived at Scepter Records and its adjacent Baby Monica Publishing Company, he immediately found himself surrounded by swiftly developing super teams such as Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. But it was with a pair of outside contractors - songwriting producers Burt Bacharach & Hal David - that Steve would forge his most personal alliance.    

 

Through his work with Bacharach & David, Tyrell got to work in motion pictures and at a very young age became one of the first music supervisors responsible for coordinating hit songs with the release of the films they appeared in. Those successes included the gold standard of foreplay songs, "The Look of Love" (recorded for the James Bond spy spoof Casino Royale by Dusty Springfield), and the theme for Alfie (sung by Cher in the film and by Dionne Warwick at the Academy Awards) as well as the theme from the legendary Jacqueline Susan film Valley Of The Dolls (which Tyrell helped to make Dionne's first number one Pop hit record.) The film song that Steve played a major role in was "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" - the one that earned Bacharach & David the OscarR for 1969's Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. When looking for an artist to sing the song, Steve called in his friend from Texas, B.J. Thomas who recorded it for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.    

 

In the early `70s, Steve moved to California and co-founded (with Barry Mann) Tyrell-Mann Music in order to continue his innovative work in movie music. Among his many achievements, Steve won a GrammyR in 2004 for producing Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Volume III. And the 3X EmmyR-nominee co-produced with Peter Asher the groundbreaking "Somewhere Out There" for Steven Spielberg's 1986 feature An American Tail. It marked the first time a song sung by animated characters was reprised at film's end by pop stars to become a hit - in this case for Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram. That recording won two Grammy Awards for "Song Of The Year" and "Best Song From A Motion Picture."    

 

Steve was content working his behind-the-scenes magic until he was "rediscovered" as an artist singing "The Way You Look Tonight" as the wedding singer in Disney's 1991 comedy Father of the Bride. After he sang two more numbers in the 1995 sequel, fans demanded more of Tyrell, resulting in his first album A New Standard, released on Atlantic Records to a 90-week run on the BillboardR jazz chart and peaking in the Top 5. A switch to Columbia Records resulted in three more Top 5 charters: Standard Time (2001), This Time of Year (2002) and This Guy's In Love (2003).    

 

In 2003, the stage was finally set for Steve to do the Bacharach album. He called Burt in to help and got two songs completed before tragedy struck. His beloved wife and co-producer of the first three albums, Stephanie Tyrell, had been diagnosed with cancer. A gifted lyricist is her own right, Stephanie composed many wonderful songs including a 1992 Number 1 Pop hit entitled "How Do You Talk To An Angel?" But the song that she was most proud of was "Remember the Dream," a piece Coretta Scott King personally requested be sung over the grave of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death.    

 

When Stephanie became ill, Steve put everything on hold. He completed his fourth album, This Guy's in Love, with other standards he'd already recorded and spent the last 18 months of his wife's life by her side. "Burt called me almost every day when she was sick...always concerned," Steve remembers. "And when she died, he played 'A House is Not a Home' - with James Ingram singing - at her memorial.    

 

After Stephanie's death, Steve did not immediately return to the Bacharach project. First came the equally humbling and fortifying Songs of Sinatra project for Hollywood Records in 2005 which once again achieved Top 5 status on the Billboard jazz charts, followed by a collection of Disney film music titled The Disney Standards in 2006, which achieved Top 10 status on the Billboard jazz charts. Finally ready to get Back to Bacharach, Steve took a year and a half to handcraft his dream project.    

 

The song that gets the Technicolor treatment on Back To Bacharach is their 1965 anthem, "What the World Needs Now is Love," a song Steve believes is "more relevant now than it ever was." Bacharach's piano glues together the whole affair which features superstars Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Martina McBride and Dionne Warwick along with Tyrell. The all-star recording is for a worthy cause - all proceeds will go to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) in remembrance of Steve's wife Stephanie and Jay Monahan, the late husband of television journalist Katie Couric. Close friends, Steve Tyrell and Katie Couric have worked together constantly since his wife's death raising funds to benefit Colon Cancer research and co-host an annual benefit in Seattle called "Make The Evening Matter." 

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