Van Wesley Stephenson (November 4, 1953 – April 8, 2001) was an American singer-songwriter. He scored two US Billboard Hot 100 hits in the 1980s as a solo artist, and later became tenor vocalist in the country music band BlackHawk in the 1990s. In addition, Van co-wrote several singles for other artists, such as Restless Heart. Stephenson died of melanoma in 2001.
Stephenson was born in Hamilton, Ohio but moved to Nashville, Tennessee when he was ten years old, and played in garage bands as a teenager. He graduated from seminary school and wrote songs on the side in the 1970s; his first chart hit as a songwriter was for Crystal Gayle, who cracked the US country Top Ten with his “Your Kisses Will” in 1979. Stephenson went on to write hits for Kenny Rogers, Dan Seals, Janie Fricke, and John Anderson. Partnering with Dave Robbins, Stephenson wrote a string of hits for Restless Heart, and would continue to work with Robbins later in his career.
Stephenson landed a recording contract of his own with Handshake Records, through which he released his first solo album, China Girl in 1981. He later signed with MCA, and his second album, Righteous Anger was released in 1984.
He scored big on the Billboard charts with “Modern Day Delilah” peaking at No. 22, and a second hit, “What the Big Girls Do” peaked at No. 45. Righteous Anger charted at No. 54 on the Billboard 200, but his follow-up 1986 disc, Suspicious Heart, did not chart, nor did its lead single, “We’re Doing Alright.” It also included two songs featured on movie soundtracks: “Make It Glamorous” from the 1984 film The Wild Life and “No Secrets” from the 1985 film Secret Admirer.
Stephenson returned to songwriting duties until the early 1990s, when he became one-third of BlackHawk, a successful country group, through the end of the decade. In February 1999, Stephenson was diagnosed with melanoma and underwent surgery. He left the group in early 2000 to continue battling the cancer, and he died on the morning of April 8, 2001 as a result of the disease.
China Girl Deluxe Edition
MelodicRock Classics 2022
Tracks: CD1: You've Got A Good Love Coming, Looks Like A Loser, Seeing Is Believing, China Girl, Weekend Warrior, I Would If I Could, Tonight The Love's On Me, Hotter In The Night, New York Hold Her Tight, Lion In The Night, I Would If I Could (Original Demo), New York Hold Her Tight (Original Demo), Lion In The Night (Guitar & Vocal Version) & New York Hold Her Tight (Acoustic Version). CD2: Burning The Midnight Love, Kiss Your Heartache Goodbye (Rock Mix), Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (Full Demo), I Don't Want To Know, The Night Is Saying Yes (Full Demo), Still Falling, As Long As I'm With You, When You're In Love, With Love To Spare (Full Demo), Is She In Love, Come Out Come Out Where Ever You Are, Marlena, Don't Give In (Gospel Version), Kiss Your Heartache Goodbye (AOR Mix) & Here Today Gone Tomorrow.
Musicians on the China Girl Deluxe Edition album: Van Stephenson, Wayne Perkins, Kenny Mims, Mike Hanna, Shane Keister, Joe English, Larry Paxton, Bob Montgomery & The Shelly Kurland String Section.
MelodicRock Classics 2022
Tracks: CD1: VAN'S VERSIONS 1980 - 1985: Set The Night On Fire (Vocal Demo), Catch The Next Dream, Undivided Love, Bad Enough, Til I Loved You, If The Fall Don't Get You, All My Life, Everybody's Dream Girl, You've Got A Loog Love Coming (Original Demo), Others Only Dream (Original Demo), What The Big Girls Do (Original Demo), The Cure Will Kill You (Original Demo), Modern Day Delilah (Original Demo), I Know Who You Are I Saw What You Did (Original Demo), You've Been Lied To Before (Original Demo), Righteous Anger (Original Demo), It's Not Me It's Not You, Back To The Heartbreak Kid, She Danced Her Way Into My Heart, (You Don't Hear) The One That Gets You, Restless Heart & Dancing With Danger (Original Demo). CD2: VAN'S VERSIONS 1985 - 2000: Suspicious Heart (Original Demo), South December Road, Grand Illusion, Jenny Come Back, Never In A Million Years, It Happens All The Time, Calm Before The Storm, House Of Fire, Big Dreams In A Small Town, Bluest Eyes In Texas, When Pink Turns To Blue, Nature Of Love, I've Never Been So Sure, Get Used To It, It Ain't About Love Anymore (Vocal Demo), If That Was A Lie (Acoustic Demo), All The Time In The World (Vocal Demo), Think Again (Vocal Demo) & Ships Of Heaven (Acoustic Demo).
Musicians on the Van´s Versions album: Van Stephenson and others.
MCA Records 1986
MCA Records 1984
Handshake Records 1981