Best known as the co-writer of a string of pop-country hits with fellow Hall of Fame member Eddie Rabbitt, Even Stevens is also a talented visual artist, a record producer and a vocalist. His other collaborators include such Hall of Fame inductees as Shel Silverstein, Paul Overstreet, Mac Davis, Roger Cook, Paul Davis and Thom Schuyler.
Born in Cincinnati and raised in the small town of Lewistown, OH, Stevens was first exposed to music by his minister father, Floyd, and sister Sandra in their family group The Gospel Balladeers, which toured and recorded locally.
After high school, he worked for about a year as a barber before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he became a Morse Code operator. While stationed in California, Stevens began to write songs and perform in the folk clubs of Monterey and San Francisco. He also began to sell his paintings.
Back in Ohio, his plans to enroll in art school were interrupted by an invitation from his musician/engineer uncle, Bob, to visit Nashville. Even Stevens arrived in 1970, and the “visit” turned into permanent residency.
The first years in Music City were rough. He slept in his Jeep and on friends’ couches. He worked as a parking-lot attendant at the airport. He began collaborating with fellow struggling songwriter Eddie Rabbitt in 1972, and they teamed up with engineer/producer/writer David Malloy in a publishing venture called DebDave/Briarpatch. In 1973, Even Stevens finally got his first song recorded when Sammi Smith sang “I’m in for Stormy Weather.”
Others who recorded early Stevens songs included George Jones, Stella Parton, Stonewall Jackson and Billy Walker. Rabbitt began having hits with their co-written songs in 1975 and by the following year was scoring the first of many No. 1 hits with them.
In 1975-78, Even Stevens recorded an album and a series of singles for Elektra Records. But he quickly learned that he much preferred being a writer to being a performer.
The Malloy/Rabbitt/Stevens songs “I Love a Rainy Night,” “Drivin’ My Life Away” and “Step By Step” became pop-crossover smashes in 1980-81. “Suspicions,” co-written by the trio with Randy McCormick, was BMI’s 1980 Country Song of the Year.
Stevens’ collaborations with others resulted in such hits as Conway Twitty’s “Crazy in Love” (1990), Lacy J. Dalton’s “Black Coffee” (1990), Ricky Skaggs’ “Lovin’ Only Me” (1989) and The Oak Ridge Boys’ “No Matter How High” (1989). Even Stevens wrote the 1979 Dr. Hook pop hit “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman” on his own.
“Love Will Turn You Around,” co-written with Schuyler, Malloy and its singer, Kenny Rogers, was ASCAP’s Country Song of the Year of 1982. Stevens also won awards for a series of Miller Beer jingles. By 2015, he had accumulated 55 BMI songwriting honors.
As a producer, Even Stevens has guided recordings by Englebert Humperdinck, Wood Newton, Stella Parton and Zella Lehr, as well as Rabbitt. In addition to the artists mentioned above, his songs have been recorded by Blake Shelton, Alabama, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Johnny Mathis, Dolly Parton, Joe Cocker, Glen Campbell, Barbara Mandrell, Kim Carnes, Ronnie Milsap, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Kenny Chesney, Trace Adkins and Julio Iglesias, among many others.
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