Steve Forbert performing on July 12, 2008
|Birth name||Samuel Stephen Forbert|
December 13, 1954 |
Meridian, Mississippi, United States
|Genres||Folk, Americana, pop rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, Harmonica, vocals.|
|Labels||Nemperor/CBS, Geffen, Giant, BMG, Paladin, Rolling Tide, Koch, Valley Entertainment, Silverline, Disky, 429, Blue Corn|
Samuel Stephen "Steve" Forbert (born December 13, 1954) is an American pop music singer-songwriter. He is best known for his song "Romeo's Tune", which reached No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980, and is ranked as the 60th biggest American hit of 1980. The song also spent two weeks at No. 8 in Canada, and is ranked as the 47th biggest Canadian hit of 1980. In Australia it reached No. 13.
Life and career
Forbert signed a recording contract with Nemperor in 1978, and they released his debut album, Alive on Arrival that year. Allmusic noted that it "earned critical acclaim for its taut, poetic lyrics". Even though the sleeve of his second album Jackrabbit Slim (1979) stated that "Romeo's Tune" is "dedicated to the memory of Florence Ballard," the song is not really about the Supremes singer who died in 1976. The song was actually written about a girl from Forbert's home town of Meridian, Mississippi, but was dedicated to Ballard because, as Forbert explained, "that seemed like such bad news to me and such sad news. She wasn't really taken care of by the music business, which is not a new story." The signature piano part on "Romeo's Tune" was played by former Elvis Presley pianist Bobby Ogdin.
Jackrabbit Slim was recorded completely live at Quadrophonic Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and produced by John Simon, who had worked with The Band. On any comparison to Bob Dylan, Forbert said, "You can't pay any attention to that. It was just a cliché back then, and it's nothing I take seriously. I'm off the hook — I don't have to be smarter than everybody else and know all the answers like Bob Dylan." Jackrabbit Slim peaked at No. 54 in the UK Albums Chart.
In 1984, Forbert had a disagreement with his record company (Nemperor), which apparently did not want to release a recording he made. The record was shelved, and contractual issues prevented Forbert from recording for a number of years afterwards. Although he has never again recorded a song as commercially successful as "Romeo's Tune", his first recording for Geffen Records, 1988's Streets of This Town, has been credited with "intelligence and maturity that bested most of his previous work". His The American in Me follow-up in 1992 was praised as "equally strong". Forbert has made music "steadily ever since, writing songs and singing them, on CDs and on the road". His songs have been recorded by several artists, including Rosanne Cash, Keith Urban, Marty Stuart and Webb Wilder.
After many successful years, Forbert sought out new inspiration and found it when he relocated to Nashville in 1985. Forbert's tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, Any Old Time, was nominated for a 2004 Grammy in the best traditional folk category. In 2006, he was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame, and in 2007, Keith Urban covered Forbert hit "Romeo's Tune." The same year, Forbert's music was featured in the film, Margot at the Wedding starring Nicole Kidman.
Forbert has written new music in support of the Occupy Wall St. movement as well as re-releasing some of his earlier recordings on CD. One of his latest artistic adventures is photography. Using an old LG phone, an exhibit of his cell phone photographs opened at the Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery in Nashville in September, 2011.
He has released a series of recordings, including his most recent release, 2012's Over With You (Blue Corn Music) which was produced by Chris Goldsmith. Musical backing on the record included Ben Sollee on cello and bass, with Ben Harper guesting on guitar on several tracks. Reviews have been strong, with American Songwriter stating "it’s all lovely, melancholy, lyrically moving and beautifully performed."
Blue Corn Music in 2013 re-released Forbert's career-launching first two albums - the aptly titled Alive on Arrival, and its Gold Record follow-up Jackrabbit Slim. 2013 marks the 35th anniversary of the release of Alive on Arrival, and Forbert was to play that album in its entirety at a number of shows. That album was also chosen to be profiled as one of the greatest debut albums ever in the book Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself.
- Alive on Arrival, Nemperor/CBS Records, 1978
- Jackrabbit Slim, Nemperor, 1979
- Little Stevie Orbit, Nemperor, 1980
- Steve Forbert, Nemperor, 1982
- Down in Flames Rolling Tide, 1983 (Released 2009)
- Streets of This Town, Geffen Records, 1988
- The American In Me, Geffen Records, 1992
- Mission of the Crossroad Palms, Giant/Warner Bros. Records, 1995
- Rocking Horse Head, Giant/Warner Bros. Records, 1996
- Evergreen Boy, Koch Records, 2000
- Any Old Time (Songs of Jimmie Rodgers), Koch Records, 2002
- Just Like There's Nothin' to It, Koch Records, 2004
- Strange Names & New Sensations, 429 Records, 2007
- The Place And The Time, 429 Records, 2009
- Over With You, Blue Corn Music, 2012
- Compromised, Rock Ridge Music, 2015
- King Biscuit Flower Hour: New York, 1982 1996
- Here's Your Pizza 1997
- Live at the Bottom Line 2000
SteveForbert.com Exclusive Releases
- Be Here Now: Solo Live Rolling Tide Records 1994
- Be Here Again: Solo Live Rolling Tide Records 1998
- Acoustic Live: The WFUV Concert Rolling Tide Records 2000
- Solo Live in Bethlehem Rolling Tide Records 2002
- Good Soul Food - Live at the Ark Rolling Tide Records 2004
- It's Been A Long Time: Live Acoustic With Paul Errico Rolling Tide Records 2006
- Best of the Downloads Vols. 1 + 2 (Live compilation) Rolling Tide Records 2008
- Meridian CD/DVD Rolling Tide Records 2008
- Don't Look Down Rolling Tide Records 2011
- Get Your Motor Running Rolling Tide Records 2012
- Early On: The Best of the Mississippi Recordings Rolling Tide Records 2012
- Palladium (Live In New York on November 24, 1979) Rolling Tide Records 2013
- New Liberty Half Vol. 1 (Pre Production Demos for "The Place and the Time") Rolling Tide Records 2013
- The Best of Steve Forbert: What Kinda Guy? Columbia/Sony 1993
- Young, Guitar Days Madacy/Rolling Tide Records 2001
- More Young, Guitar Days Valley Entertainment 2002
- Rock While I Can Rock: The Geffen Years Geffen 2003
- Alive On Arrival / Jackrabbit Slim 2CD Reissue Blue Corn Records 2013
- Knockaround Guys, 2001 - performed "Romeo's Tune"
- Margot at the Wedding, 2007 - performed "Romeo's Tune" and "Goin' Down To Laurel"
- The Steve Forbert DVD Anthology: You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play, 2005
- On Stage at World Cafe Live, 2007
- Steve Forbert In Concert, 2007
- "The American in me. By Steve Forbert, It sure was better back then, So good to feel good again". Faqs.org. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Steve Forbert - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
-  Archived November 13, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
- Forbert, Steve. "Steve Forbert, Seasoned Optimist, In Studio 4A". NPR. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 207. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Piece » Steve Forbert's "Any Old Time"". PRX. 2004-02-09. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "An Evening with Steve Forbert | Vienna Art & Entertainment, Food & Drink, and Music Events on Patch - Vienna, VA Patch". Vienna.patch.com. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "Steve Forbert". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "Protest Song by Steve Forbert". OccupyWallSt.org. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "Exhibition: Jonathan Postal // Tinney Contemporary". Tinneycontemporary.com. 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "Steve Forbert's first studio album in three years". Blue Corn Music. 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "Steve Forbert: Over With You". American Songwriter. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Ragogna, Mike (2013-01-18). "La Costa Perdida: Chatting With Camper Van Beethoven's David Lowery, Plus Steve Forbert's "Sandy" Video". Huffington Post.
- "CD Reissue Review: Steve Forbert - Alive on Arrival / Jackrabbit Slim (Blue Corn, 2013)". hyperbolium. April 13, 2013.