Stephen Cummings - A Life Is A Life - Cover Art

(album out 5 April 2019 through Bloodlines)

  1. What Am I Going To Do?
  2. Gymnasium
  3. Backstabbers
  4. Another Kick In The Head
  5. I Can’t Face The Day
  6. Speak With Frankness
  7. Love Is Crucial But Money, That’s Everything
  8. Where Are You Going?
  9. Some Prayers Are Answered
  10. Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die
  11. She Set Fire To The House
  12. A Life Is A Life
  13. Your House Is Falling
  14. When Love Comes Back To Haunt You
  15. Wherever I Go Goodwill And Happiness Follow
  16. Hell (You’ve Put Me Through)
  17. Blue Hour
  18. Don’t Look For Trouble
  19. Heart For Heart
  20. Keep The Ball Rolling
  21. Like A Shadow Following You
  22. You Jane
  23. Melancholy Hour
  24. Walk Softly, But Carry A Big Stick
  25. White Noise
  26. I Fell From A Great Height
  27. Pretty Big Crush
  28. Satellite
  29. Stick To My Fingers (with Angie Hart)
  30. When You Know More Of Her
  31. Wishing Machine
  32. Because It’s Spring
  33. The Half Light
  34. Love Is Mighty Close To You
  35. You Put A Pain On My Heart
  36. Go Right Ahead And Break My Heart
  37. The Popular One
  38. I Need You Tonight
  39. Something Else
  40. You Are So In The Past
  41. Little Girl On A Sofa
  42. It’s Not Me, It’s You
  43. This Song Can Save You
  44. Straight To Your Arms
  45. Now Here She Comes
  46. Great Stereo
  47. I’m Your Number One Fan
  48. Stupidity (feat. Billy Miller, Rebecca Barnard, Bill McDonald & John Annas)
  49. Love Is A Hurting Thing
  50. A Joy To Sit Alone

The 50 songs that make up Stephen Cummings’ anthology tell a remarkable story. It opens with ‘What Am I Going To Do?’, where the lead singer of a successful band goes solo and wonders what’s coming next, and then closes with the reflections of an older more mature artist, who realises what a joy it is to reflect alone.

Inexplicably, Stephen’s solo work has not been met by the same sustained chart success as some of his contemporaries, but it is a creative triumph. Bloodlines is proud to present his incredible work in the new anthology A Life Is A Life.

Stephen wasn’t built for stardom, but around the time of Lovetown he was dubbed ‘The St Kilda Sinatra’. It was a fair description, though Stephen is undeniably a better songwriter. Stephen’s songs have been covered by artists far and wide including Jimmy Little, The Whitlams, Vika & Linda Bull and Weddings Parties Anything, and he has even collaborated with the Australian Dance Theatre.

After Stephen’s band The Sports disbanded in late 1981, Stephen embarked on a solo career, and released his debut solo album, Senso, in August 1984, produced by his former The Sports bandmate Martin Armiger.

In September 1986 he went on to release his second album, This Wonderful Life. This Wonderful Life was more personal and less busy than Senso, and was self-produced by Stephen himself. This Wonderful Life produced the singles, ‘Speak with Frankness’ and ‘Love is Crucial’.

Lovetown, Stephen’s third solo album, was released in January 1988, and was a very subtle, alluring, personal and mostly acoustic album full of conversational, narrative vignettes. Following Lovetown, Stephen changed labels and released A New Kind of Blue, which earnt Stephen an ARIA Award for Best Contemporary Album in 1990. Lovetown and A New Kind Of Blue provided the soundtrack to many music loving Australians in their early 20s.

For his fifth solo album Good Humour, Cummings returned to the dance and funk sound that was heard on Senso. Unguided Tour came along in 1992, produced by Cummings and Shane O’Mara, and was followed by Swinger in 1994, produced by Steve Kilbey of The Church, who also produced Swinger’s follow up Escapist in 1996.

In 1996, prior to releasing Swinger, Stephen published his first novel, Wonderboy. Wonderboy dealt with human relationships, especially those between a father and son.

In 1999 Stephen produced and released yet another album – Spiritual Bum. The album returned him to a more acoustic and melancholic sound. He also released his critically acclaimed second novel, Stay Away From Lightning Girl.

Spiritual Bum was followed by a slew of albums: Skeleton Key in 2001, Firecracker in 2003, Close Ups in 2004, Love-O-Meter in 2005, Space Travel in 2007, and Happiest Man Alive in 2008.

Cummings published his memoir, Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy? in 2009, which was met with critical acclaim and described as “often hilarious if occasionally uncomfortable” by the Sydney Morning Herald. Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy? led to the film documentary Don’t Throw Stones, which went on to premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Following the release of his memoir, Stephen continued to consistently release new music; Tickety Boo (a pop album produced by Billy Miller) came in 2009, Good Bones (a companion album to Close Ups) in 2010, an album of acoustic re-workings of songs from across his career, Reverse Psychology in 2012, and Nothing To Be Frightened Of in 2014.

Cummings released his 20th solo album, Prisoner Of Love, in February on Stephen’s new label home, Bloodlines (Mushroom Group). For Prisoner Of Love, Stephen has reunited with Billy Miller, who produced Tickety Boo and Reverse Psychology, to produce the new album.

Prisoner Of Love is a dynamic-sounding album, though Billy says they let Stephen’s voice do the work:

“The sound we were after? When you’ve got a great singer like Stephen, it’s pretty simple: everything we add is merely a support for that voice.”

A Life Is A Life will be released digitally, with strictly limited collector’s editions available on CD and vinyl. The album superbly complemented by artwork from long-time collaborator Jim Pavlidis. The double vinyl features 25 classic Stephen Cummings tracks, remastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark, and is signed and numbered by Stephen. The 4CD set features 50 tracks, also remastered by Don Bartley. It is presented in a deluxe hard cover A5 book with 60 colour pages with extensive notes and photos from Stephen’s career, and is also signed and numbered by Stephen.

Best Stephen Cummings lyrics:

“I’m not a wonderful person, I’m envious, full of hurt and disdain” – ‘Speak With Frankness’

“Would you like a souvenir? Take my heart in your hands, smash it against the wall”
– ‘
Love Is Crucial But Money, That’s Everything’

“You can’t have everything, sometimes you can’t have anything at all”
– ‘Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die’

“There are murders that aren’t murders and they happen every single day” ‘She Set Fire To The House’

“The spirit is fragile and climbs up on the roof, who said love was foolproof?” – ‘Your House Is Falling’

“When love comes back to haunt you, all the magic disappears from your sky. And you know that you’re going to keep on living, but you want to die” – ‘When Love Comes Back To Haunt You’

“Only thing I know for sure, the street of love is just a cul-de-sac” – ‘Blue Hour’

“The more I know the less I understand” – ‘Don’t Look For Trouble’

“I tend to look over my shoulder if I think I’m having too much fun” – ‘Heart For Heart’

“If you don’t wanna play then what are you doing in my garden?” – ‘Keep The Ball Rolling’

“What you’ve never had, you’ll never miss” – ‘You Jane’

“Anyone may fall from grace into the arms of temptation. Don’t you be harsh on me, someday you might be in the same situation” – ‘Melancholy Hour’

“I said, “Have we met before?” And she said, “Well, maybe, nah … no, never””
– ‘Walk Softly, Carry A Big Stick’

“Everything changes, and the simplest things, they’re always the best” – ‘Like A Shadow’

“You have to be in hell to see heaven’s light” – ‘Wishing Machine’

“Because your taste is on my lips, and my hand is on your hips” – ‘Because It’s Spring’

“What good is love when love has gone?” – ‘You Put A Pain On My Heart’

“It’s not dark, but it’s not yet light” – ‘Love Is Mighty Close To You’

“Love will leave you standing alone in the rain” – ‘You’re So In The Past’

“It’s a joy to sit alone, without a book or telephone” – ‘A Joy To Sit Alone’

“I’d like to say I did it my way, but that line belongs to someone else” – ‘If You Wish To Be Loved’

“And everything will be revealed in the end, as it is, as it will be. In the half light, we will fall in love”
– ‘The Half Light’

“Life is just a waiting room, don’t collapse like a pile of bricks. Lighten up, kick against the pricks”
– ‘A Life Is A Life’