LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dave Stewart was half the musical duo Eurythmics in the 1980s, but when his partnership with singer Annie Lennox faded the British artist found other outlets for his creativity.
The guitarist, singer and music producer released a new album, "The Dave Stewart Songbook, Volume 1" on Tuesday and will tour with a "rock fabulous orchestra" later this month.
"I'm not the new big anything. I've been around for ages, and I've been doing all this stuff behind the scenes, and I want to put it in the spotlight a bit," Stewart told Reuters.
Stewart, 55, sold more than 75 million albums with Eurythmics. He and Lennox disbanded the band in 1990 but reunited for the 1999 album "Peace."
He described his role on "Dave Stewart Songbook" as akin to a big band leader from the 1940s or 1950s, bringing together the work of several artists at one time.
The album showcases songs Stewart co-wrote with Gwen Stefani, Jon Bon Jovi, Sinead O'Connor and Tom Petty. It is being released with a book describing how the songs came about.
Stewart says his collaboration with pop music's top names is born of serendipity.
Take his collaboration with Bon Jovi on "Midnight in Chelsea."
He ran into the rock singer in the English countryside when Stewart was delivering photos to actress Demi Moore that he had taken of her in India. He found himself at a star-studded dinner party that turned into a jam session.
Bon Jovi was on guitar, Moore's then-husband, actor Bruce Willis, was blowing into a harmonica and Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York were chatting in the background.
Stewart and Bon Jovi teased out a riff from that jam and the resulting song was "Midnight in Chelsea," which made it to Bon Jovi's 1997 album "Destination Anywhere."
"I'm just having experiences and the songs are just spitting out because the experiences are there," Stewart said.
Other songs featured on the album include "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," a Eurythmics breakthrough hit, "Don't Come Around Here No More," a Tom Petty hit, and "Underneath It All," which Gwen Stefani originally recorded with her band No Doubt.
Stewart sings on a few songs but female vocalists take the lead on the rest, an arrangement that will continue when he starts his tour on August 29 as "Dave Stewart and His 30-Piece Rock Fabulous Orchestra."
Stewart plans to tour with a backing band and an orchestra. Depending on the size of each venue, the shows will have anywhere from 26 to 36 musicians on stage, he said.
The North American tour starts in Highland Park, Illinois, and includes stops in San Francisco and New York. It ends in Washington, D.C., on September 21.