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Steve Tyrell: What the World Needs Now

Steve Tyrell

Gravel-voiced Texan Steve Tyrell can legitimately claim his latest album, Back to Bacharach (released on his own New Design Records), has been 40 years in the making. Tyrell was a mere lad of 19 when he jettisoned a budding career as an R&B singer in his native Houston, traveled to New York City in the mid-’60s and landed himself a job as a staff producer for Scepter Records, home to Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown, the Shirelles and, most famously and lucratively, Dionne Warwick. It was at Scepter that Tyrell first met Burt Bacharach and Hal David, whom he would work with closely for a fully decade, has remained friends with ever since, and credits as “the biggest influence of my career, especially Burt. I used to sit in the studio with him and would add my two cents all the time. You know how kids are; you’re too stupid to be bashful.”

Early in the 1970s, Tyrell changed coasts, formed Tyrell-Mann Music with songwriter Barry Mann, and established himself as one of the most respected music supervisors in the film business. In 1991, he unexpectedly found his singing career reignited while working on the Steve Martin comedy Father of the Bride. Cast in the bit part of the wedding singer, Tyrell crooned “The Way You Look Tonight.” Fans clamored for more, resulting in the release of his debut album, A New Standard, which spent 90 weeks on the Billboard jazz charts and sold in excess of 400,000 copies. A like-minded follow-up, Standard Time, quickly followed.

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