He may be a Las Vegas legend, but when Steve Lawrence asked Garth Brooks to sing “When You Come Back to Me Again” at the country superstar’s Vegas concert last year—a song Steve discovered in the film “Frequency”—blinding spotlights kept Garth from realizing who his famous audience member was.
“Afterwards, I introduced myself and told him I was the one who requested it. He said ‘Oh, God! Steve, I’m such a big fan of yours!’ the 78-year-old crooner exclusively shares with Closer.
“I said, ‘I’m gonna record that song!’ He said, ‘I’ll play the guitar!’ I said, ‘Take it easy, let me make the record first – you may hate it!’”
Quite the contrary—Garth and his wife Trisha Yearwood surprised Steve by sending the track back to him with their backing vocals added to the chorus!
It’s the title song of Steve’s new Amazon.com exclusive CD, which became an unexpected tribute to his wife and musical partner of 55 years, Eydie Gorme, when she passed away last August just before her 85th birthday.
“She was pure, she was honest, she could tug at your heartstrings and she could make you swing & dance,” Steve shares.
Steve & Eydie in 1958
Though they always had separate careers, the pair was best known as “Steve & Eydie” (‘We became tied at the hip,’ he says). Their intertwined personal and professional lives clearly make her loss all the more difficult for him.
“It’s one of the reasons that I’m not going to go touring right now,” Steve reveals. “I don’t think I can do that just yet.”
Steve & Eydie in 2001
For the time being, he’s focusing on a few acting jobs to keep himself busy, including a recent appearance with comedy legends Carl Reiner, Tim Conway and Garry Marshall on “Two and a Half Men,” and possibly a role in exec producer Amy Poehler’s new NBC sitcom pilot “Old Soul.”
Steve (far right) with Garry Marshall, Tim Conway & Carl Reiner on “Two and a Half Men”
Steve still has many happy memories of his times with Eydie, including one with another Vegas legend who cemented their famous “Steve & Eydie” moniker.
“Dean Martin nailed us with that thing,” he laughs. “When I’d come into a restaurant, he would call me ‘Steve & Eydie’— just me! And if Edie was behind me, he’d say ‘Heeeeeeey, Steve & Eydie and Eydie!’”
They had other famous fans, including the one and only Barbra Streisand, who Steve & Eydie saw in 1969 when they were all performing in Vegas.
“She came to see us several times in Lake Tahoe and other places. She’s a big fan of Eydie’s—she just adored her,” Steve reveals. “She said ‘You’re the best, Eydie, you really are.’ Eydie looked at her, straight in the face, and said, ‘You know, Barbra… [long pause] You’re right!’” he laughs. “Took her time, like she was Jack Benny!”
Fortunately, Eydie got to hear Steve’s latest CD—his first in more than a decade, after making over fifty albums. It’s a mix of standards he’s never recorded and newer tracks produced by Ron Dante, best known for The Archies and Barry Manilow’s 70s classics.
“She loved all of ‘em,” Steve reveals, adding that “Our Day Will Come,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” Manilow’s “I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)” and his Garth cover were her favorites.
Curb Records delayed the CD’s planned release after she passed last summer. “Mike Curb called me and said ‘I’ll hold it till you tell me it’s ok.’ So I said ‘Around Valentine’s Day would be nice.’”
The just-released collection is a fitting romantic tribute to one of the most enduring showbiz partnerships in history—and it’s dedicated from Steve to Eydie.