Jim Steinman was a legendary songwriter, playwright, producer, musician and singer. He died on April 19, 2021, at age 73. Connecticut’s state medical examiner confirmed Steinman’s death, though a cause was not immediately announced. Bill Steinman told The Associated Press that his brother died from kidney failure and had been ill for some time.
“I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long-term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman,” Bonnie Tyler wrote. “Jim wrote and produced some of the most iconic rock songs of all time and I was massively privileged to have been given some of them by him. I made two albums with Jim, despite my record company initially thinking he wouldn’t want to work with me. Thankfully they were wrong, and can say without any doubt that Jim was a true genius. He was also a funny, kind, supportive, and deeply caring human being and the world is a better place for his life and his work and a worse one for his passing. I will always be grateful to him for the opportunity to work with him and also to know him, too. Rest in peace, Jim, my friend.”
Steinman’s work included musical theater, rock, pop, and film scores. He released a solo album in 1981 and worked with artists ranging from Bonnie Tyler and Def Leppard to Billy Squire, The Sisters of Mercy, Pandora’s Box, Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Todd Rundgren. He is best remembered for his work with Meat Loaf, however, including their best-selling 1977 album “Bat Out of Hell”.
James Richard Steinman was born into a Jewish family in Hewlett, New York, on November 1, 1947. Steinman graduated from George W. Hewlett High School in 1965 and received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1969. While at college, Steinman contributed music for an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s 1926 play “A Man’s a Man” (March 1968) and he also directed Michael McClure’s “The Beard” in May of 1968.
Over the summer of 1968, he contributed music for an adaptation of “Baal”, a play by Brecht that had premiered in 1923. Steinman then wrote the book, music and lyrics for the satirical-dystopian musical “The Dream Engine” (April 1969), with Jim himself playing the leader of The Tribe, a group of wild boys that doesn’t accept the restraints and limits of society.
The youtube account “The Historian” has collected several unreleased demos by Jim Steinman, the earliest being “You’ve Got to Love Me With the Sun in Your Eyes Until the Day That You Go Blind”. While the sound quality is bad and it never got officially released, this song supposedly features Larry Dilg and Steinman performing in 1970. Dilg worked with Steinman in the musicals “The Dream Engine” and “Neverland” before portraying the Con Edison Man in the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters”.
Steinman would later re-use several parts from “The Dream Engine”, including the line “turn around bright eyes” in Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983) and the monologue that opens Meat Loaf’s “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)” of 1977. It was Steinman and actress Marcia McClain that provided the spoken introduction on the studio version.
The “turn around bright eyes” refrain originated in a composition called “Skull of Your Country”, which Meat Loaf eventually recorded with Cian Coey for his 2016 album “Braver Than We Are”.
In 1971, Steinman provided music for a puppet show titled “Ubu”, an adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s 1888 play “Ubu on the Hill”. In 1972, Steinman worked with college friend Barry Keating on “Rhinegold”, a musical based on Richard Wagner’s 1869 opera “Das Rheingold”. Also in 1972, a pre-fame Bette Midler sang a demo of the Steinman song “Heaven Can Wait”. The recording was produced by Michael Kamen but it was never officially released. “Heaven Can Wait”, of course, would later be recorded by Meat Loaf in 1977, having also been intended for inclusion in Steinman’s proposed Peter Pan musical “Neverland”. At the time of the original recording, Bette Midler was working on her first solo album after starring in the first professional production of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” in 1971. Michael Kamen would later work on Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and with Queen, Aerosmith, Queensryche, Bryan Adams, Guns N’ Roses, Kate Bush, and Metallica on “Nothing Else Matters” and the live album “S&M”. He is perhaps best known for his film scores, however, including “The Three Musketeers”, “Highlander”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, “Licence to Kill”, and the “Lethal Weapon”, “Die Hard” and “Band of Brothers” series.
The also exist a Jim Steinman solo demo of “Heaven Can Wait”, along with a demo called “Train of Love” from 1972. You can hear these below, along with the recording of “Train of Love” that Meat Loaf eventually released in 2016.
The first Steinman composition to be released on record was “Happy Ending”, which featured on Yvonne Elliman’s second solo album, 1973’s “Food of Love”. Elliman had been discovered by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who asked her to sing Mary Magdalene’s part for the original audio recording of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, featuring Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan in the role of Jesus. After that album was released in 1970, Elliman joined the stage show’s cast for four years.
Meanwhile, Marvin Lee Aday – better known as Meat Loaf – had been trying to make a name for himself on the musical circuit. A duet album called “Stoney & Meatloaf” had been released in 1971 on the Motown subsidiary label Rare Earth. A more notable release would follow in 1976, with Ted Nugent’s album “Free-for-All”. With regular Nugent lead vocalist Derek St. Holmes temporarily out of the band, Meat Loaf got to sing lead on five of the album’s nine tracks.
Prior to that, Meat Loaf had released his first solo single on the RSO label (i.e. Robert Stigwood Organisation, run by the former manager of Cream and the Bee Gees) in 1973. Although Cream had disbanded in late 1968, Eric Clapton remained signed to RSO and Meat Loaf’s first single featured Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord” as the B-side. That song was first recorded by Blind Faith, the super-group also featuring Ginger Baker (ex-Cream), Ric Grech (ex-Family) and Steve Winwood of Traffic. Anyway, the A-side of said single was the Steinman composition “More Than You Deserve”.
That single came about after Meat Loaf had joined the cast of “More Than You Deserve”, Steinman’s 1973 musical. Michael Weller was the playwright of a story set at an army base during the Vietnam War. Meat Loaf performed as Perrine / Rabbit for 63 performances on November 21, 1973-January 13, 1974. The title song was later re-recorded for the 1981 Meat Loaf album “Dead Ringer”.
Steinman also recorded “More Than You Deserve” as a solo demo, and there has surfaced several other 1973 demos of songs from the “More Than You Deserve” musical. These include “Give Me the Simple Life”, a song which also features Meat Loaf.
Barry Keating is an American composer, lyricist, author, and director. Jim Steinman would eventually turn “Bat Out Of Hell” into a musical, with Keating credited as “Creative Consultant to Mr. Steinman” on the 2017 release “Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical (Original Cast Recording)”. Way back in 1973, Keating also recorded a couple of demos with Steinman.
“Water Seller’s Song” is a song adapted from “Song of the Water Seller in the Rain” from Bertolt Brecht’s play “The Good Person of Szechwan.” “Smoke Song” is an adaptation of “Song of the Smoke” and “Song of the Gods” is an adaptation of “Song of Defencelessness” from the same play. Keating performed the latter song in Steinman’s 1977 musical “Neverland” before it was re-used as the instrumental “Great Boleros of Fire” during Meat Loaf concerts. It was finally recorded by Meat Loaf and included as “Godz” on his 2016 studio album “Braver Than We Are”.
“Der gute Mensch von Sezuan” (first translated less literally as “The Good Woman of Szechuan”) is a play written by the German theater practitioner Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Margarete Steffin and Ruth Berlau. The play was begun in 1938 but not completed until 1943, while the author was in exile in the United States. In March 1971, Steinman scored a production of “The Good Woman of Szechuan” which was directed by Barry Keating and had a cast which featured Larry Dilg and Bob Sather, a fellow student who was later cast in the aborted New York production of “The Dream Engine”. Some of Steinman’s later musical work has its roots in this production.
Around the time that Steinman was working on “More Than You Deserve”, he was also writing a new musical called “Skin Alley”, loosely based on “Good Woman of Szechuan”. According to Steinman’s description at the time, “it takes place in New York, not China, about 15-20 years from now. The story is still mainly focused on the conflict between good and evil impulses within the main character, the ‘good woman’, but it is opened up to also focus on the almost surreal hallucinatory blackly comic and delirium-infested life of the city and its people.” The Brecht estate declined to give permission for the play to be adapted in this manner, however, so “Skin Alley” was never produced.
The video below features a demo tape assembled by Steinman in August 1973. The recordings from 1972-1973 originate from two different projects. The first three tracks with Keating are from “Good Woman of Szechuan” while the last six are from the “More Than You Deserve” musical. “Souvenirs” was recorded in 1972 but the rest are from 1973, including “The Spooky Song (Give Me The Simple Life)”, “Oh, What A War!” and “The Igoo Boogie Nookie Nookie Song (Go Go Guerillas)”.
In 1975, Steinman contributed music and lyrics to Thomas Babe’s “Kid Champion”, starring Christopher Walken as a former rock star. Eventually recorded by Meat Loaf, “For Crying Out Loud” was originally written for “Kid Champion”. Who sang on the demo remains unknown, as is the case with who sang “Yogi” on a 1975 demo recording with Steinman on piano.
1976 saw a brief one-month run of a musical titled “The Confidence Man”, based loosely on Herman Melville’s novel of 1857. Steinman provided the music and a cabaret show with songs from “The Confidence Man” was presented in 1977, at the Manhattan Theatre Club where Steinman had previously written music for a show called “Bloodshot Wine”. “Milady”, a song from “The Confidence Man”, was recorded by Barry Manilow but never released.
The melody of that song later appeared in the 1997 musical “Tanz der Vampire”, in the song “Für Sarah”. Some music from the show was also re-used in the score for the 1980 film “A Small Circle of Friends”. Music from “The Confidence Man” was also re-used by Steinman for “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”, a 1983 hit for Air Supply that was also recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1995. A cast album of the songs from “The Confidence Man” was eventually released in 2003.
In 1974, a brief workshop had been held for a work-in-progress musical titled “Neverland”. Adapted largely from source material developed for “the Dream Engine”, it loosely sourced material from J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”, originally a play first staged in 1904. While Steinman was preparing the “Neverland” show, he and Meat Loaf were touring with the National Lampoon show. This was after Meat Loaf worked with Ted Nugent and appeared as Eddie in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, the 1975 musical comedy horror film in which he performed “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul”.
Steinman would later write the theme music for the National Lampoon sitcom “Delta House”, a 1979 TV show for which Meat Loaf was an alternate choice for the role of Bluto if John Belushi decided to drop out. Steinman later reworked the melody of the show’s theme song into “Dead Ringer for Love”, the song off “Dead Ringer” that was sung by Meat Loaf and Cher.
Anyway, Meat Loaf felt that three of Steinman’s songs for “Neverland” were “exceptional“: “Bat Out of Hell”, “Heaven Can Wait” and “The Formation of the Pack”, which was eventually retitled “All Revved Up With No Place to Go”. Steinman soon set out to develop these as part of a seven-song set to be recorded as an album. Recording started in late 1975 and the duo performed the songs live in 1976, sometimes joined by Ellen Foley for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. Performing the role of Wendy, Foley can also be heard performing “Heaven Can Wait” during a 1977 performance of Jim Steinman’s “Neverland”. Steinman and Meat Loaf had trouble getting a record deal, however.
Then, in October 1977, Meat Loaf’s solo debut was finally released as “Bat Out of Hell”, produced by Utopia’s Todd Rundgren (ex-Nazz) and featuring Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Members of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell and John Wilcox) appeared on the album, and the saxophone on “All Revved Up” was played by Edgar Winter. Steinman had started working on the material back in 1972, and it finally paid off. “Bat Out of Hell” became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with more than 43 million copies!
“I think of Bat Out of Hell as a fairly unified collection of seven visions or dreams … or even adventures”, Steinman said in 1978. “When you start playing the record, it’s like setting off on a voyage, on a series of adventures through this kingdom, this world. And it just so happens that almost all of the people in the world are teenagers. That’s just because I think that’s the best kind of world. If you have a world only of teenagers, at least musically for the course of one record, you’re bound to get a lot of excitement, a lot of romance, a lot of violence, a lot of chills and fever, a lot of sex. And those are all very good things. A lot of motorcycles.”
Steinman had initially wanted the “Bat Out of Hell” album to feature Kim Milford, a vocalist that had appeared with Meat Loaf in “More Than You Deserve” and the original 1975 Broadway cast of “The Rocky Horror Show”. Milford had also performed in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and briefly joined Beck, Bogert & Appice, for six performances billed as The Jeff Beck Group in 1972. Milford can be heard with Steinman on “Song of the Golden Egg”, a demo recording from 1973
While neither played on the album recordings, the tour in support of “Bat Out of Hell” featured Bob Kulick and future Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick as part of Meat Loaf’s backing band, The Neverland Express, named so because of Steinman’s love of Peter Pan. In the tour introductions, they were introduced as ‘Pretty Boy’ and ‘Killer’. After the “Bat Out of Hell” tour, Bruce and Bob Kulick did a club show backing up Michael Bolotin, who’d by then released two solo albums. Afterwards both Kulick brothers were invited to join Bolotin (i.e. Michael Bolton) in a proper band, Blackjack, but only Bruce accepted. Having failed to find commercial success with his excellent band Balance, Bob Kulick would later re-join The Neverland Express in 1983 and remain with them until 1988. Jim Steinman only played piano during the first 1977-1978 tour, however.
Karla DeVito also joined said tour and she’s the one seen singing with Meat Loaf in the video clips of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and “Bat Out of Hell”, synced to the original vocal by Ellen Foley. One of the bonus live tracks the 25th anniversary version of “Bat Out of Hell”, “Great Boleros of Fire”, is an instrumental version of “Gods” from Steinman’s “Neverland”.
Another original member of The Neverland Express was Rory Dodd, having provided backing vocals on all tracks off “Bat out of Hell” except “All Revved Up with No Place to Go”. While not as famous as Meat Loaf, Rory Dodd was another vocalist that Jim Steinman frequently used when his songs were to be recorded. There exists several Jim Steinman demos of songs featuring Rory Dodd. Some of these can be heard below, including “Vaults of Heaven” with Jim on piano. This one was supposedly recorded at 2:00 AM after finishing up a day of laying down background vocal tracks for Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” in 1984. Incidentally, Rory Dodd is also the man singing the “turn around bright eyes” refrain on the Bonnie Tyler recording of Jim Steinman’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Another demo below, “Kiss Me Red”, was recorded around 1990 for an intended ELO Part II project. ELO Part II, of course, was former Black Sabbath drummer Bev Bevan’s project after Jeff Lynne decided to disband the original ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra, in 1986.
“I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us” was later recorded by Meat Loaf on the 1981 album “Dead Ringer” while “It Just Won’t Quit” re-surfaced on “Original Sin by Pandora’ss Box and on Meat Loaf’s 1993 album “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell.” Rory Dodd recorded “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” with Steinman on piano in 1982, before it was officially released by Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler.
The recording of “Kiss Me Red” was produced and played by Steinman, but he did not write that song. “Kiss Me Red” was composed by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, and first released in 1984 on the soundtrack of “Dreams”. The latter was a TV series about a fictional band featuring John Stamos, perhaps best known as “Jesse Katsopolis” on the sitcom “Full House”.
“Kiss Me Red” was notably covered by Cheap Trick in 1986 before being included on “Electric Light Orchestra Part Two”. The latter version wasn’t produced by Steinman, but rather Jeff Glixman, and had Neil Lockwood on vocals. Steinberg and Kelly, the songwriting team behind “Kiss Me Red”, got together after they had both provided songs for Pat Benatar. Steinberg and Kelly also wrote “Like a Virgin” (Madonna, 1984), “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper, 1986), “I Drove All Night” (Cyndi Lauper, Roy Orbison), “Eternal Flame” (the Bangles, 1989) and “Alone”, as famously recorded by Heart in 1987. “Alone” was originally included on 1983’s “Taking a Cold Look”, the sole album by i-Ten, a project headed by Steinberg and Kelly that featured members of Toto (Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro) and Mr Mister (Richard Page) as session musicians.
But let’s now return to what happened after the release of “Bat Out of Hell”, shall we?
In 1979, the Freeway Records label had made a 2-LP compilation promo album titled “L.A. Radio”. It featured a spoken word segment written and recited by Steinman, “Shadows on the Freeway”, which was later included (as “Nocturnal Pleasure”) on the 1981 Meat Loaf album “Dead Ringer”. Parts of this piece can also be heard at the beginning of the 1989 music video for the first release (by the all-female group Pandora’s Box) of the Steinman song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”.
In 1980, Steinman also provided an instrumental score for the film “A Small Circle of Friends”. The motifs of this orchestral score (orchestrated by Steinman’s frequent collaborator Steve Margoshes) match the melodies of numerous songs that Steinman later released, including “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” and “Für Sarah”. Also, the mashup of the Steinman compositions “Come in the Night” (written 1968-1969 for “The Dream Engine”) and “Oh, What A War” (written 1973 for “More Than You Deserve”) used in “A Small Circle of Friends”, was re-worked into “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.
Around that time, Steinman also went to work on preparing a follow-up album to “Bat Out of Hell”. Sadly, Meat Loaf developed vocal problems around this time and was thus unable to continue on the project which was initially intended to be called “Renegade Angel”. Steinman proceeded with the album, “Bad for Good” (April 1981), singing most of the songs himself.
Three of the songs (“Lost Boys and Golden Girls”, “Surf’s Up”, and “Rock and Roll Dreams Come True”) were sung by Rory Dodd, however, though he didn’t receive a clear indication for his work in the album’s credits. Karla DeVito was also around, providing a duet part on “Dance in My Pants”. Karla DeVito also released her solo debut in 1981, “Is This a Cool World or What?”, an album which incidentally happened to feature a version of Steinman’s “Heaven Can Wait”.
“Bad For Good” featured many of the same musicians as on “Bat Out of Hell” (backing vocalist Ellen Foley, guitarist Todd Rundgren, Utopia’s Sulton and Powell, and Springsteen alumni Weinberg and Bittan) but also guitarist Davey Johnstone of Elton John fame. Steinman himself was credited as co-producer with Todd Rundgren for all but one track, with Steinman and Jimmy Iovine co-producing “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”. On the original vinyl release, “The Storm” and “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” were enclosed with the album on a 33-rpm 7″ single. These tracks, according to Steinman’s concept, were supposed to be the prelude and epilogue of the album.
Steinman later re-used excerpts from “The Storm” for “Opening of the Box” by his female pop ensamble Pandora’s Box, and later in the “Ouverture” for the musical “Dance of the Vampires”.
The intro to “Stark Raving Love”, meanwhile, was re-used for “Holding Out for a Hero”, a 1984 hit for Bonnie Tyler. “My solo record”, Steinman said in 1981, “has pretty much the same core of musicians as Bat Out Of Hell – Todd Rundgren on guitars, background vocals, two of the best players from the E Street Band – Bruce Springsteen’s band – Roy Bittan on piano, Max Weinberg on drums – Some of the members of Todd Rundgren’s band Utopia. Some of the most amazing stuff on the album is just an overdub done by Davey Johnstone, who used to play with Elton John. Davey came in because Todd was on tour and I thought the song was done. It was another one of my real thundering teenage anthems this song, Stark Raving Love. In fact, I thought, in many ways, it was the theme of the whole album because one of the key lines in it is “too much is never enough” and that was really the theme of the album. It was about excess. I mean, the album was about going too far. It was about that one step beyond where you should always go and so “too much is never enough” seems a good theme. And this song, Stark Raving Love – I was really trying to capture the sort of…as feverishly as I could, the delirious kind of horny excitement of a Saturday night in a city. And we were doing it and I thought the…I thought it was basically finished and then at the end I had all this fade-out and I thought there must be something I can do here. So I brought in Davey Johnstone and we put together…I think of it as the charge of the guitar brigade – but it’s 25 different guitars going from speaker to speaker, back and forth and we used 25 guitars and about nine amplifiers and about 5 or 6 pre-amplifiers – and it sounds like just an army of guitars charging! Or else the other image I sometimes have is if you leave guitars alone in the dark at night and they start to mate when you’re not there – it’s sort of the sexual play of guitars. It seems to me like a sex dance between guitars and you can really hear the guitars screaming and moaning and teasing each other – and Davey did that all himself and to me it is one of the most amazing instrumental sections of the whole record.”
“Lost Boys and Golden Girls”, meanwhile, had been the basis for the musical “Neverland”, which Steinman said was “a rock ‘n’ roll science fiction version of Peter Pan that takes place in a city built on the ruins of Los Angeles after a series of chemical wars“.
“My idea is that the whole album should sound like a soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet”, Steinman said. “So that you could listen to the movie and basically create the film yourself. But I try to write them so visually and cinematically, as much as possible because to me they are films. Every song is one and the entire album fits together. It’s just a very powerful film to me, and this one in particular. Bad For Good and a lot of the songs on this album, and especially this first song, I wrote with a very specific movie in mind, which has sort of been my dream project for almost two years now, and that’s a film called Neverland which is a rock’n’roll, science fiction version of Peter Pan. Peter Pan’s always been about my favorite story and I’ve always looked at it from the perspective that it’s a great rock’n’roll myth because it’s about – when you get right down to it – it’s about a gang of lost boys who never grow up, who are going to be young forever and that’s about as perfect an image for rock’n’roll as I can think of. I mean, the way I see this movie – it’s like a mixture of Westside Story, A Clockwork Orange and Star Wars…I mean it’s a real dance, real musical – singing and dancing like a Westside Story, and the dancing is like Westside Story 25 years later. I means it’s very athletic, virtuostic, real tough dancing – much tougher than Westside Story, but it’s that style – real showy, and it’s got a lot of special effects – science fiction Star Wars kind of tradition…”, “In a way, to me, this album is more than anything else a journey through this world of Neverland”, “and that opening song, for instance, Bad For Good to me is the song that Peter sings to Wendy when he breaks in her room – right at the beginning of the movie he breaks through the window and comes in with the lost boys and tries to seduce her and abduct her, to kidnap her and get her to leave the city where she lives with her father Captain Hook, who’s an evil sort of Dr. Strangelove military commander.”, “The second song, Lost Boys And Golden Girls obviously, from the title, is also from Neverland – it’s one of the songs that Peter sings to Wendy. It’s like a love song he sings to her.”
The album track “Left In the Dark” would be covered by Barbra Streisand on her 1984 album, “Emotion”, with Steinman producing, and later covered by Meat Loaf in 1995.
“Well, I’m working on two of them at once”, Steinman said about scripts for movies that ultimately never got made. “I’m working on Neverland […] and then there’s another movie called Guitar”, “The third song on the album which is really not so much a song as a speech – a sort of spoken fantasy called Love And Death And An American Guitar. And I was really influenced by The Doors. I know I loved The Doors growing up and they did stuff like this and no-one’s been doing it since and I wanted to do a spoken piece when the rhythm wasn’t coming from the drums so much as the voice – the rhythm of the spoken voice and the heartbeat behind it. So this piece is part of a movie I’m writing called Guitar which is really the life story of one Fender electric guitar – the first Telecaster guitar from 1953 to 1986. I don’t know if you saw the movie? There’s a movie made a couple of years ago called The Yellow Rolls Royce. And there’s been a few of the style. That one followed one yellow Rolls Royce down through like 30 years and all the people who owned it and four different stories. Well, this one follows this one electric guitar from 1953 to 1986, and it’s narrated by the guitar. The guitar tells the story itself. I’ve been writing the narration of the guitar. That’s the most fun of it because it’s great to hear the voice of the guitar speaking and it basically tells you its life from 1953 to 1986 and by doing that you not only get an adventure story about what happens to the guitar – I mean, who owns it, who loses it, who finds it, who steals it, how they use it, how they abuse it, the people who exploit it, the ones who exalt it and worship it, the ones who hate it, try to destroy it. It’s used to smuggle drugs. It’s used as a murder weapon and it just has an amazing life and you hear an entire history of the music over that 30 year period. Through the guitar sounds you can hear everything that happened in rock’n’roll and pop music and beyond that. If it’s done well it becomes a saga of a history of America because it’s set in America – of how America changed over those 30 years, because when you think about it, the sounds of the guitar represent the sounds of the country in which it exists. I means the minute you hear Jimi Hendrix you know that has something to do with the late ’60’s. That music sounded that way because the world was a certain way. When you hear the kind of music Clapton’s playing now, you know it is a much kind of more passive, mellower age and when you hear Townshend – the kind of music that The Who did in the early ’60’s – it’s a lot more violent than the music they’re doing now, and you really get a sense of the kinds of – you know, the way the times change. So you get a sort of adventure about the guitar, a history of the music and a saga about the country and the world and all this narrated by the guitar. And plus, I see a lot of it filmed from the guitar’s point of view, like in Jaws when you see things from the shark’s point of view through the water. I see a lot of it like if you were inside the guitar like someone reaches out – Like a great sequence where the Hendrix character tries to play it by, you know biting the strings, by setting fire to it, and you’re inside the guitar and you can imagine the disgust of the guitar that has lighter fluid – the guitar has a great attitude to all of this. It’s very sarcastic. It’s like the computer Hal in 2001. It’s attitude to the whole thing is sort of like “none of you are really good enough to play me”.
Meat Loaf would eventually record most of the songs off “Bad For Good”: “Surf’s Up” (on “Bad Attitude”, 1984), “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”, “Out of the Frying Pan (and Into the Fire)”, “Love and Death and an American Guitar” (retitled “Wasted Youth” but still performed by Steinman as a spoken word piece), “Lost Boys and Golden Girls” (on “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell”), “Left in the Dark” (on “Welcome to the Neighborhood”, 1995) and “Bad for Good” (on “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose”, 2006) with Queen’s Brian May on guitar. An excerpt of “The Storm” was also used as intro to “Seize the Night” on the third “Bat Out of Hell” album.
Jim Steinman did a radio interview in the summer of 1981. As a part of BBC Transcription Services, the label London Wavelength made the interview available on vinyl (as “BBC Rock Hour #233”) for broadcast purposes. It was not for sale to the general public but it can now be heard below:
“Phil Spector’s my idol. Yeah, and he was like Ronnie Spector”, Steinman said about Meat Loaf’s role. “He was like The Ronettes! Meat Loaf was all The Ronettes and The Crystals and The Angels put together! – and I just felt that he was someone who, you know, could take direction because he had no preconceptions. He had no idea he could even sing like that. So I would teach him the songs over a period of a year and a half, it took. And I would teach him line by line which is why he picked up a lot – like if you listen to my album Bad For Good and Bat Out Of Hell next to each other, a lot of people think the vocals are very similar in terms of style and I know a lot of people come to me and they say “You know you sing like Meat Loaf”, when in actual fact it’s equally true that he sings like me, because he picked up my phrasing by me teaching it to him – because I really taught it to him very precisely, and so it was just a great bit of luck that he came along.” […] “Todd, he’s magnificent”, Steinman said and reasoned that Bat Out of Hell “could never even have been begun without” Rundgren. “For one thing, he put up his own money to start it – we had no record company. He’s totally astonishing to work with, in fact Meat Loaf finds him very intimidating, which I guess is one reason he didn’t do the new Meat Loaf record, but to me he’s just a thrill from beginning to end. He’s astounding to watch in the studio. He’s a lot like a magician when he works and he works very fast. He has a very short attention span, but he doesn’t like to produce records particularly. He says this constantly. He hates producing when it’s only production. The one thing he liked about the records he did with me is they involved playing a lot of guitar and a lot of background vocals, so that was a lot more demanded of him than just production. But a lot of the records that he just produces, he hates to do ’em. He kept complaining. I finally said “Todd, why do you keep doing it?”‘ And he said very simply “Well, if people would stop offering me so much damn money, I’d stop!”
“I started writing what I felt was Bat Out Of Hell part 2”, Steinman said about “Bad For Good”, “definitely like The Godfather part I and part 2, that’s how I saw it. I wanted to do a continuation and I wanted to do an album that went even further and that was more extreme, if possible, which a lot of people felt wasn’t possible but I just wanted to see if I could make a record that was even more heroic because that’s what I thought of it…Bat Out Of Hell to me was ultimately very heroic, though it was funny. I thought it was a heroic album and I wanted to do one that to me would be even more heroic and more epic and a little more operatic and passionate. So I was working on this record and we’d just finished a grueling year and a half tour, and I’d gotten about 10 percent of it done and I’d just started really – scratched the surface – and I asked Meat Loaf to come up and start just rehearsing, just so I could hear what shape his voice was in – and he opened his mouth and we both like just looked at each other in shock – because the sound that came out of his mouth didn’t even resemble a human voice. And it wasn’t like most singers who just become hoarse or their voice is tired. He sounded literally like the little girl in The Exorcist – that’s the only description I can ever use. It was like this low, guttural like blghblgh – made him sound like a dragon trying to sing – it was a horrifying sound, and there was no way we’d be able to do a record like that and he didn’t know what to do. He just stared at me, sort of helplessly, and said “What do I do now?” I said “I think you better go get help.” And so, he started out on a procession of doctors, vocal coaches, vocal teachers, throat specialists, hypnotists and it was really at the point he would see a witch doctor – he would see anybody! And all this time I just kept writing because I had nothing else to do. I kept writing the music to Bat Out Of Hell part 2- to Bad For Good is how I conceived it – my sequel. And after about, oh, seven months he came to me and said, “No progress there’s nothing happening. I’m gonna go do a movie,” he said. So he went to do this film called Roadie. He only did it to get his mind off the music business. I actually I think he knew that it wasn’t much of a movie, but he wanted to forget about the record. He thought maybe…because this whole problem with his voice, everyone realized, was about 50 per cent physical and 50 per cent psychological. He really was in terror of trying to follow up Bat Out Of Hell because you have to remember that he had thought at most it would sell 700,000. I was the insane one who thought it would sell 5 millions, but when it ended up selling 8 million, I think he just paralyzed with fear about how to top it.”
Meat Loaf’s second album, “Dead Ringer”, was also released in 1981. Steinman contributed all eight songs and the recording started around the time that Steinman finished recording “Bad For Good”.
“I went in a sort of a blaze wrote the other 75 percent of the album [“Bad For Good”] really fast and started recording it in the Summer of 1980 and really worked straight through up until about 3 months ago when I finished it”, Steinman said. “And right before I did that, though, he [Meat Loaf] did ask me to have another record ready for him – totally different. And so just on the assumption that he would get his voice back, I did it. I’ve never worked this fast before – I wrote an entire album for him – did all the tracks, co-produced it, arranged it, and had it all sitting there – sort of sitting waiting in the cans ready for him for when he did get his voice back – and then I went and did my record.”, “When I sat down to do this new Meat Loaf album, that’s coming out this Fall, I tried to think of a different style even though it’s still got a lot of my qualities in the writing. I mean, it’s a very passionate record. It’s much more intimate in that it’s more personal. It’s not so much mythic and epic as it is about people. You know, it’s the difference between a movie that’s about four people and a movie that’s like Star Wars. You know it’s not so much a big spectacular as it is every song is really a love song of some sort so, it’s scaled down a bit in a sense and that’s what his album is and the songs in a way are more traditional in terms of rock’n’roll musical styles.”, “We didn’t work with Todd on that because I think Meat felt uncomfortable. Partly because Todd’s very intimidating and Meat was having troubles. And also because Todd’s very impatient and Meat felt, I think, that pressure. And so this one was co-produced with Jimmy Iovine, who’s a wonderful producer anyway. He did Tom Petty and Patti Smith – “Because The Night” – and Dire Straits’ last album. And so I co-produced it with Jimmy Iovine and even though Todd didn’t play on it, some of the musicians who played on Bad For Good and Bat Out Of Hell did.”
The backing tracks were produced by Steinman and Iovine but the final album co-credited Meat Loaf and Stephan Galfas. Back in 1977, Galfas had produced the Intergalactic Touring Band’s self-titled album, on which Meat Loaf appeared on “Keeper Keep Us”. That sci-fi concept album also featured Arthur Brown, Ben E. King, Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Rod Argent (ex-The Zombies), Dave Cousins (Strawbs), Anthony Phillips (ex-Genesis), David Bedford, Clarence Clemons, Larry Fast, and others. Larry Fast also played synthesizers on two tracks off “Dead Ringer”, with other session musicians including Max Weinberg, Roy Bittan, Davey Johnstone, Nicky Hopkins, and Mick Ronson.
Steinman had written five new songs and there was four singles released: “Dead Ringer for Love” (feat. Cher), “I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us”, “Read ‘Em and Weep” and “Peel Out”. The remaining songs were leftovers from previous Steinman projects, such as a re-recording of “More than You Deserve”, a song that Meat Loaf had performed years before “Bat Out of Hell”.
“Read ‘Em and Weep” become a bigger hit in late 1983, when Steinman produced a slightly re-written version for Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Hits, Vol. II” album. That version featured new lyrics for the second half of the song’s second verse, as well as slight changes in the first verse and final chorus.
For a period in 1983, two songs written and produced by Steinman held the top two positions on the Billboard singles chart, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”. Steinman supposedly wrote the latter for Meat Loaf, but the record company didn’t want him to record it. So “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” landed with the Australian duo Air Supply.
Steinman added some bite to Air Supply’s recording by enlisting Max Weinberg on drums and Roy Bittan on the piano intro. There was also a guitar solo by Rick Derringer, who would later rope Steinman in to write a song for Hulk Hogan on “The Wrestling Album”, a 1985 novelty album produced by Derringer. David Wolff, Cyndi Lauper’s manager and boyfriend at the time, was executive producer. Jim Steinman later wrote lyrics to “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” and re-released it as “Ravishing,” the opening track of Bonnie Tyler’s 1986 album “Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire”.
Back in 1982, Bonnie Tyler had signed with CBS/Columbia. She was asked to scout a new producer and her first choice was Steinman, though she also considered Phil Collins and Jeff Lynne. Tyler was a huge fan of Steinman’s records, “especially his solo album, and when my manager and I were discussing my comeback we both agreed that I had to sound the best or nobody would take me seriously.”
Sometimes referred to as “the female Rod Stewart”, Bonnie Tyler was then mostly known for her 1978 single “It’s a Heartache”. Steinman initially declined to work with her, but reconsidered after Tyler sent him demos of the rock material she was hoping to record. Her next album eventually featured songs by John Fogerty (“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” by Creedence Clearwater Revival), Bryan Adams (“Straight from the Heart”) and Blue Öyster Cult, with “Goin’ Through the Motions” written by Eric Bloom and Ian Hunter (ex-Mott the Hoople) for the 1977 album “Spectres”.
In 1983, Ian Hunter also released his album “All of the Good Ones Are Taken”. Steinman was credited with “assistance” on the title track. Rory Dodd and Eric Troyer, two singers who often sang on Steinman’s studio work, were credited with “additional background vocals”.That album also featured Mick Ronson, Mark Clarke (ex-Uriah Heep, Tempest, Rainbow, etc.) and Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band. Soon after this, Mark Clarke would join Leslie West in the re-formed Mountain.
In a 1983 interview, Steinman said he was taken aback when he was first asked to work with Bonnie Tyler. “I was primarily known for doing records for Meat Loaf and my own records, which were these thunderous, Wagnerian, almost heavy metal, epic, stormy records,” he said. “I was a little bit surprised they would ask me, but my second thought it was a real challenge because of that. And I thought she one of the most passionate voices I’d ever heard in rock & roll since Janis Joplin.”
After their initial meeting, Tyler returned to Steinman’s apartment in New York a few weeks later, where he performed “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Rory Dodd. Steinman described the song as “a Wagnerian-like onslaught of sound and emotion”, and a “showpiece” for Tyler’s voice. Steinman was inspired to write “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by the image of a lunar eclipse. “I thought of it more as a fever song,” he said. “Most pop songs are about the lyrical side of love, the pleasant side. I’ve always liked writing about the other side, the darker side. An eclipse seemed like the perfect image to describe when someone is totally overwhelmed by love. It’s like an eclipse. There’s no more light at all.”
Bonnie Tyler’s fifth album was recorded with Steinman as producer, using Rick Derringer, members of the E Street Band (Weinberg and Bittan), and backing vocalists Rory Dodd and Eric Troyer. The album also featured an appearance by Frankie Miller and backing vocals by Holly Sherwood, a singer that Steinman would keep working with. During the eighties, Steinman would form two groups to perform his material, Fire Inc. and Pandora’s Box. Holly Sherwood sang in both of these.
“Faster Than the Speed of Night” debuted at no. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with over six million units sold. Steinman also composed the album’s title track, and got credited with speaking the words “I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do that” on the song “Getting so Excited”. A decade later, Steinman would use the same words as the title of a hit single for Meat Loaf.
For the soundtrack of the 1984 film “Footloose” (starring Kevin Bacon), screenwriter Dean Pitchford worked with various songwriters. Steinman’s contribution was “Holding Out for a Hero,” for which he recommended using Bonnie Tyler. For the backing vocals, Steinman hired some of his ususal collaborators: Rory Dodd, Holly Sherwood, Eric Troyer, and Ellen Foley. The instrumental break had previously appeared on “Bad for Good”, in “Stark Raving Love”. “Holding Out for a Hero” would go on to became a pop-culture staple, also appearing in movies like “The Angry Birds Movie 2” and “Shrek 2”, then sung by Jennifer Saunders. The original version was eventually included on “Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire”, Bonnie Tyler’s 1986 follow-up to “Faster Than the Speed of Night”.
In 1984, the movie “Streets of Fire” was released. The soundtrack included two songs written, composed, and produced by Steinman. “Nowhere Fast” re-used the refrain from “Bad for Good” (“God speed! Speed us away!”) while portions of the lyrics from the “Delta House” theme song were re-worked into “Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young”. These were the only songs released by “Fire Incorporated”, an assembly of studio musicians (Roy Bittan, Max Weinberg, Davey Johnstone, Larry Fast, etc.) that included vocalists Rory Dodd, Eric Troyer, Holly Sherwood, and Laurie Sargent.
Steinman collaborator Jimmy Iovine produced five of the songs for the film, combining the voices of Laurie Sargent and Holly Sherwood for the singing voice of Ellen Aim (played by Diane Lane in the movie), lead singer of Ellen Aim and the Attackers. The Attackers were the real-life bandmates of Laurie Sargent in Face to Face (1979-1988), a new wave quintet.
The movie title was lifted from the Bruce Springsteen song on his 1978 album “Darkness on the Edge of Town”. Steinman said the filmmakers were convinced they would get the rights to the Springsteen song, and filmed an ending using “Streets of Fire”. When they realised they would not get it, they asked Steinman for a song. “So I wrote this song that I loved and I sent it to them and he and Joel, I remember, left me a great message saying, I hate you, you bastard, I love this song. We’re gonna have to do it. We’re gonna have to re-build the Wiltern Theater, which they had taken down, it was a million dollars to re-do the ending… and I felt all his hostility for Universal. A guy named Sean Daniels, who was head of production, one day said to me, well there is hostility because we understand you waited about eight months to come up with that final song and you never did it. I said, where’d you hear that? I did it in two days. He said, Jimmy Iovine. So I went to Jimmy Iovine and I said all that to his, yeah it’s true, I know. I blamed you but you can’t be upset with me. I’m not like a writer. I’ve gotta make my way with these people. I had to have a scapegoat.”
Steinman later recalled thinking the movie script was ‘terrible’, but he thought the film was going to be a big hit, in part because of the enthusiasm of Joel Silver: “He said this movie is about visuals. It’s about excitement, it’s about thrills. Don’t worry about the script… Then we go to the first edit, the first cut of the movie in the screening room and it’s Iovine and me and Joel Silver… And about 20 minutes into the movie Jimmy turns to me and he goes… this movie is really shitty isn’t it? It’s really bad. I said, yeah…”
In the clips below, Steinman is interviewed by Paul Gambaccini in 1984.
In 1984, Jim Steinman also produced “Signs of Life”, Billy Squier’s fourth solo album. This was his third and final platinum selling record, with the earlier (such as 1981’s “Don’t Say No”, featuring the breakthrough hit “The Stroke”) having been produced by Reinhold Mack (Queen, ELO, Scorpions, Deep Purple, etc.), who incidentally also co-produced Meat Loaf’s 1984 album “Bad Attitude”.
Def Leppard had supported Billy Squire on tour, something which helped the band break through in the US. In need of as perfect “extra set of ears” as possible, Squire initially wanted Robert John “Mutt” Lange, the producer behind AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”. Lange was already reserved by The Cars, however, and suffered a breakdown which prompted him to withdraw completely from the project. Squier then approached Steinman, as he appreciated “Bat out of Hell” as “the most passionate and exciting rock record of our time”.
Steinman had his backing vocalist Eric Troyer and Rory Dodd featured on “Fall for Love” and “Reach for the Sky”, while Queen guitarist Brian May added a solo on “(Another) 1984”. “Signs of Life” also featured synthesizers played by Meat Loaf collaborator Larry Fast. Steinman “only” produced the album, as Squier himself composed all songs. “Rock Me Tonite” became Squier’s highest charting U.S. single, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video has been described as one of the worst ever, however, and is sometimes associated with ending Squier’s career.
Prior to going solo, Squier had led the bands Kicks (with future New York Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan) and Piper. The latter band, which released two albums, was managed by the same management company as Kiss, and Billy Squier’s 1980 solo debut featured future Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick. His brother, Bob Kulick returned to play with Meat Loaf on “Bad Attitude”. By this point, Steinman and Meat Loaf had fallen out. The 1983 album “Midnight at the Lost and Found” hadn’t contained any Steinman material but Meat Loaf supposedly approached Steinman about writing the entire “Bad Attitude” album. This never happened, though, so Meat Loaf recorded two previously released Steinman songs (“Nowhere Fast” and “Surf’s Up”) and moved on with other writers.
Having toured with Def Leppard, Billy Squire hired Steinman when “Mutt” Lange wasn’t available. The same thing happened when Def Leppard started recording what was to become their best-selling (over 20 million worldwide) album “Hysteria”. The first time Steinman met Def Leppard, in the summer of 1984, he delivered an emphatic mission statement: “I think we can make beautiful music together.” Guitarist Phil Collen was impressed by some of what Steinman said. “He talked about recreating Phil Spector’s ‘Wall Of Sound’ while staying true to Def Leppard. It sounded like it could be cool.”
Def Leppard were less than pleased with the outcome, however. “We thought we’d got the Ferrari,” says Collen. “In reality, we’d got a second-hand Cortina”. “Steinman was less than useless”, said Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott later, claiming that the results of Def Leppard’s eight-week collaboration with Steinman will never see the light of day. “Steinman was not a producer. I pointed that out,” Elliott told Classic Rock. “But because Mutt was a producer who assists in songwriting and arrangements, [manager Cliff Burnstein] thought we might need help more in the songwriting department than in the sonics of the record. Cliff got that completely wrong. But at the time, Steinman was literally the only option we had, so we ended up going with him.” Elliott admitted that “Jim was a funny guy, very eccentric. But you could sit down with Charles Manson for 20 minutes and probably come away saying: ‘Hey, he’s not that bad.’ And in that first meeting, we realized that Jim was in a completely different orbit to us. I got this uncomfortable feeling.”
He “wasn’t giving us his full attention,” Elliott said, and Steinman also ran up a large takeout bill. “He would look at a menu and order one of everything. Every night, on our dime, there would be a fucking banquet of food.” Elliott said things came to a head when Steinman asked for the control-room carpet to be replaced. The singer told his colleagues: “We should be changing the producer before we change the fucking carpet.” “Jim Steinman made a lot of money out of Def Leppard for doing very little work. He’s a lucky man in that respect,” Elliott said, adding that Steinman’s payoff was a “six-figure sum.”.
Steinman and Def Leppard worked on seven songs: “Don’t Shoot Shotgun”, “Run Riot”, “Animal”, “Women”, “Gods Of War”, “Love And Affection” – all titles that would make it on to the final version of “Hysteria”, eventually produced by “Mutt” Lange – plus a song called “Love Bites” that was later rewritten as “I Wanna Be Your Hero”. Of the recordings that remain, Elliot added: “We would never release that stuff. There’s nothing finished. It’s like the worst bootleg you’ve ever heard. Those tapes are locked away in my library – and that’s where they’ll stay.”
Despite the reservations from Def Leppard, Steinman was in high demand. Andrew Lloyd Webber even approached him about writing lyrics for his 1986 musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. Lloyd Webber (“Jesus Christ Superstar, “Evita”, “Cats”, etc.) felt that Steinman’s “dark obsessive side” would fit in with the project but Steinman declined in order to fulfill his commitments to Bonnie Tyler.
Bonnie Tyler’s sixth studio album, “Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire” was another collaboration with Jim Steinman. As usual, many of the usual singers and studio musicans appeared on this album: Roy Bittan, Max Weinberg, Larry Fast, Rory Dodd, Eric Troyer, and Ellen Foley. In addition to “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Ravishing”, Steinman also wrote “Rebel Without a Clue” and “Loving You’s a Dirty Job but Somebody’s Gotta Do It”. The latter was a duet with “Bat Out of Hell” producer Todd Rundgren, though a demo recording featuring Rory Dodd is arguably superior. Meat Loaf later recorded this song for his 2016 album “Braver Than We Are”, as a duet with Stacy Michelle.
The album also featured a cover of the Holland–Dozier–Holland classic “Band of Gold”, originally recorded by Freda Payne in 1970. Bonnie Tyler also recorded another song written by Bryan Adams, “No Way to Treat a Lady”, which he co-wrote with Jim Vallance. In addition to being a recording artist himself, Bryan Adams also wrote alot of songs for other artists, including Prism, Ian Lloyd, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Tim Bogert, Lisa Dal Bello, Loverboy, Jon English, 38 Speacial, Ted Nugent, Krokus, April Wine, Uriah Heep, and Kiss. “No Way To Treat A Lady” had first been recorded by Australian singer Lisa Bade on her sole solo album, 1982’s “Suspicion”. “Adams and I met Lisa in 1983 when we were in Australia, touring with The Police”, Jim Vallance (who played drums with Adams on that tour) explained. “Lisa was singing backing vocals for the group Australian Crawl at the time. For me, the definitive version of this song is Bonnie Raitt’s unreleased recording.”
Jim Steinman had brought in Desmond Child (whose track record included the Kiss song “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” of 1979, around the time that Desmond Child & Rouge also released two albums) to write two songs. Steinman told Child that he wanted a song about androgyny. “I want a special song. The verses have to sound like Tina Turner, the B Section has to sound like The Police, U2, or Hall & Oates, and the chorus has to sound like Bruce Springsteen”. Child used the verbal guide to write “If You Were a Woman (and I Was a Man)”. Desmond Child also wrote “Lovers Again”.
The music video for “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)”, co-directed by Steinman, received six nominations at the Billboard Video Music Conference. The video appears to be part of Steinman’s “Obsidian” universe, a location mentioned in Steinman’s “Neverland” that would also appear in “Bat Out of Hell The Musical”. The musical is set in 2030 according to the “Obsidian Times” newspapers, whereas the elderly woman in this video refers to the turn of the 21st century. One character in the musical also mentions there had been “chemical wars” in the past. The line “You won’t believe your eyes.. or any other part of your body!” had occured in Steinman’s “Dance in My Pants” music video, and is spoken by a woman on the door of a club in the Bonnie Tyler video.
Desmond Child wasn’t quite satisfied with the sales numbers, however, and soon re-wrote the song for Bon Jovi as “You Give Love a Bad Name”. “I was sore at the record company for not pushing that song, and I said, ‘I’m going to prove that that song’s a hit!’ So we wrote it again.” Bonnie Tyler ended her partnership with Steinman after this album, instead asking Desmond Child to produce her next album. Desmond Child also went on to write hits for Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Ratt, Dream Theater, and others. Desmond Child would later produce Meat Loaf’s album “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose”, co-writing most of the songs that weren’t composed by Jim Steinman.
In 1986, Steinman also produced a modified version of Urgent’s “Love Can Make You Cry” for the “Iron Eagle” soundtrack. Written by band members Michael Kehr and Don Kehr with Ian Hunter, the original recording had been included on Urgent’s 1985 album “Cast The First Stone”, which was produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. The soundtrack for the military action film also featured “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)” by King Kobra and Queen’s “One Vision”.
In 1987, Jim Steinman worked with the Sisters of Mercy on two tracks off “Floodland”, their second album. “This Corrosion” was produced by Steinman, and “Dominion/Mother Russia” was co-produced by Steinman with Larry Alexander and Andrew Eldritch. Eldritch told Steinman he was after a “disco party run by the Borgias” for “This Corrosion”, which became their first U.K. Top 10 hit.
Eldritch has later considered producer Steinman to have been more pivotal in securing funding for additional production than the songs themselves. “Steinman was very good at getting the budget from Warner,” Eldritch remembers. “We spent money on that record that otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to. But most of it I made in a suburb of Manchester, and there weren’t that many sessions where we went to New York and put extra flimflam on the songs. Unfortunately if you ask middle-of-the-road type rock listeners what the Sisters sound like, they’ll always think of the Steinman singles”.
Andrew Eldritch had founded the post-punk/goth rock act The Sisters of Mercy in 1980, in Leeds, England. The group disbanded following their 1985 debut album, “First and Last and Always”, with guitarist Wayne Hussey going on to form a band called the Sisterhood with bass player Craig Adams. Eldritch wasn’t pleased and soon set out to record an album, “Gift”, also as The Sisterhood. This worked, with Hussey and Adams renaming their band as The Mission. Eldritch then resurrected the name The Sisters of Mercy in 1987, marking a shift away from guitar-based rock towards atmospheric Wagnerian rock and keyboard-oriented explorations. This was where Steinman came in, though he had first been apprached in 1985 regarding an intended ABBA cover. Eldritch originally contacted him when the ABBA song “Gimme Gimme Gimme” (1979) was part of the band’s setlist. Steinman was interested in producing the cover for a single release, but was too busy at that time.
In 1990, The Sisters of Mercy released their third and final studio album, “Vision Thing”. The single “More” was co-produced and co-written by Steinman and Eldritch. “He really knows how to make a wonderfully stupid record. Totally outrageous,” Eldritch once said of Steinman. “Every time you think to yourself, do we really want to go this far, and you say to Jim, ‘Jim, are you sure about this?’ and anybody else will go, ‘Don’t do it!’ Jim goes, ‘More! More! More people, singing!’ It works.”
“More” was later covered by Meat Loaf for his 2016 album “Braver Than We Are”. Steinman also used the guitar riff and the “I need all the love I can get” vocal in his musical “Batman”.
Steinman later produced a cover of “More”, by Mike Vogel and Erika Christensen, for the soundtrack of “Wuthering Heights”. A modern-day adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic 1847 novel, “Wuthering Heights” first aired on MTV in 2003. The film also featured Steinman’s song “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”, which originally appeared on the 1989 concept album which he wrote and produced for Pandora’s Box. “Wuthering Heights” was one of Steinman’s favourite books, and the inspiration for his song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”
“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” was the lead single off “Original Sin” (1989), the sole album by Pandora’s Box. Much like Fire Inc., this was a studio project put together by Jim Steinman. Some of the members had previously worked with Steinman on various other studio recordings. The listed members were Elaine Caswell, Ellen Foley, Gina Taylor, Deliria Wilde and Steinman himself, who was listed as a keyboardist. In addition, Laura Theodore and Holly Sherwood were credited for lead vocals while backing vocals were performed by Rory Dodd, Eric Troyer and Todd Rundgren.
In 2018, Elaine Caswell stated that Pandora’s Box was “four women; three that existed” and “Deliria Wilde who was somewhat mythical, someone Steinman kind of created”. Caswell had worked with Steinman on many projects , including “The Dream Engine”, while Gina Taylor was a stage actress off-Broadway and a former member of the band Musique. Taylor had previously worked with Steinman as part of the background vocals on “This Corrosion” by The Sisters Of Mercy. Roy Bittan played Grand Piano and bass vituoso Tony Levin (King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, later in Liquid Tension Experiment and Stick Men) appeared on “Original Sin (The Natives Are Restless Tonight)”. Taylor Dayne later recorded a cover of the latter track for the soundtrack of the 1994 movie version of “The Shadow”. Meat Loaf also covered it for his 1995 album “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”.
In addition to background vocals, Holly Sherwood sang lead on the track “Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)”, later covered by Meat Loaf on “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell”. According to Steinman, she also recorded a demo of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, later a hit for Celine Dion in 1996. Sherwood’s take was passed over in favor of Elaine Caswell’s, however.
The video for “Good Girls Go to Heaven”, directed by Brian Grant, was set in a prison. It shows the arrival of a new inmate called Jenny and her induction. As the song begins, the other inmates dance around her. As the prison is signposted as “Pandora’s House Of Detention”, matching the phrasing in the song “City Night” from Jim Steinman’s “Neverland”. We can thus assume that this video was intended to depict something within Steinman’s “Obsidian” mythos, the 40+ year project which culminated with “Bat Out of Hell The Musical”. The only member of Pandora’s Box to appear in the video is Ellen Foley, and only as part of the dance ensemble.
In addition to compositions by Steinman, the “Original Sin” album also contained a cover of The Doors’ “Twentieth Century Fox”, off their 1967 debut album. This version also contained a snippet of “Light My Fire”, the word “fox” as pronounced by Jimi Hendrix in “Foxy Lady”, and lyrics from “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett. Ellen Foley also sang on a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book”, as arranged by Love (The Doors’ label mates on Elektra) on their 1966 debut.
Steinman always envisioned a woman singing the iconic power ballad, so he denied giving “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” to Meat Loaf (who later recorded it “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose”) and offered it to Pandora’s Box. It was Celine Dion who made it a hit, however. Her version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts and won Steinman the award for BMI song of the year. That award is given for the song, out of all those represented in the BMI catalog, that receives the most radio airplay in a particular year.
The song was influenced by Wuthering Heights — where the wildness of the moors is mirrored in the wildness of Heathcliff’s character — and the dead coming to life. “It’s like Heathcliff digging up Cathy’s corpse and dancing with it in the cold moonlight,” Steinman said. “You can’t get more extreme, operatic, or passionate than that.” Steinman wrote the script for the original video for “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, based on director Ken Russell’s segment in the compilation opera movie “Aria”. Elements include leather, snakes, tombstones and cockrings with shrunken heads, and the video featured Caswell as a girl near death—from a motorcycle crash—being ministered to by paramedics, fantasising and being “sexually aroused by a large python and writhing on a bed that lit up in time with the music, while surrounded by a group of bemused, semi-naked dancers”. The two-day shoot ran over schedule and budget, costing £35,000 an hour. Russell and Steinman even designed a sequence where a motorcyclist would cycle up the steps of a local church-tower, jump out of the turrets at the top, and then explode. The wardens of the church, naturally, refused permission.
Although “Original Sin” wasn’t a commercial success (except in South Africa), many of the songs have gone platinum with other artists. Steinman also re-used parts from the album in various musicals, including “Tanz der Vampire” and “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical”. The track “Safe Sex” was also intended to be re-used on the debut album by The Dream Engine, a music performance group created by Jim Steinman and Steven Rinkoff, first publicly presented in 2006.
The soundtrack album for the 1989 film “Rude Awakening” included two tracks produced by Steinman. The song “Rude Awakening” was written by Rick Rose and Paul Rothchild, and had lead vocals by Bill Medley. John Sebastian’s “Darling Be Home Soon” was sung by Phoebe Snow. The latter song was originally released on The Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1967 album “You’re a Big Boy Now”, the soundtrack of the 1966 Francis Ford Coppola film with the same title.
In the late 1980s, Jim Steinman had also been working on an adaptation of the 1974 movie “Phantom of the Paradise” by writer and director Brian De Palma. Steinman made demos for this project, including “Who Needs the Young” (later recorded by Meat Loaf) and Rory Dodd singing “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”, with an extra verse not heard in the Air Supply recording.
After a series of financial and legal disputes during the 1980s, Steinman and Meat Loaf (whose 1986 album “Blind Before I Stop” hadn’t contained any Steinman material) met at the singer’s house in Connecticut around Christmas of 1989 or 1990. They started recording together again in August of 1991, working on old and new Steinman material until June of 1993.
Around 1992, Steinman also worked with the New York City punk rock band Iron Prostate. They dissolved while working with Steinman on their second album, but a recording of the song “Bring Me The Head of Jerry Garcia” (off their “Powerstation Demo”) has surfaced, with Steinman credited as executive producer. The lyrics said the Grateful Dead guitarist “plays guitar like diarrhea”.
“Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell” was released in September 1993, sixteen years after the original “Bat Out of Hell”. Featuring the singles “Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back”, “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” (with a pre-fame Angelina Jolie in the music video), “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, and “Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)”, the album reached number 1 in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. “Bat Out of Hell II” went on to sell over 15 million copies, and the lead single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” reached number one in 28 countries!
Four tracks from “Bad for Good” (the original sequel to “Bat Out of Hell”) were re-recorded for “Bat Out of Hell II” (“Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”, “Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire)”, “Lost Boys and Golden Girls”, and the Steinman monologue re-titled “Wasted Youth”), along with “Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)” and “It Just Won’t Quit” off “Original Sin”. According to Meat Loaf, the latter was written for him, but “Jim put ‘It Just Won’t Quit’ on ‘Original Sin’ without telling me. I could have strangled him.” In a 1993 promotional interview for the album, Steinman said he “didn’t call it Bat Out of Hell II just to identify with the first record. It really does feel like an extension of that… It was a chance to go back to that world and explore it deeper. It always seemed incomplete because I conceived it like a film, and what would you do without “Die Hard 2”?
Many of the performers from the original album returned for the sequel. Roy Bittan performed keyboard and piano on most tracks, with Todd Rundgren, Ellen Foley, Rory Dodd and Kasim Sulton returning to provide background vocals. Bittan and long-term Steinman collaborator Steven Rinkoff are credited as associate producers. Rinkoff first started collaborating with Steinman when he worked as engineer on Bonnie Tyler’s 1986 album “Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire”. In 1998, the two would form Ravenous Records, a division of Ravenous Entertainment.
Steinman said that “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” was “the hardest song to write and get across“, explaining that it’s “the most passionate one on the record. I mean, I’m really proud of it because that’s really one that goes over-the-top in the sense that it’s got images—it has religious imagery of resurrection, it’s got images of fertility and rebirth, it has really very good sexual images, images of cars—which I always like.” Parts of the melody were adapted from “Surf’s Up” off “Bad for Good”. Steinman later re-used the melody for “Die Unstillbare Gier”, a song in the “Tanz der Vampire” productions, and for “Confession of a Vampire” in the ill-fated US version.
The main guitar melody of “Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)” was reused in the instrumental track “Back into Hell”, and later as the main melody of “Carpe Noctem” in the Steinman musical “Tanz Der Vampire”, which premiered in 1997. Meat Loaf also recorded that song as “Seize the Night” on “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose”, leaving the melody intact.
Credited only as “Mrs. Loud”, the female vocalist on “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was Lorraine Crosby, a club singer from North East England whom Steinman was managing. Cher, Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Tyler had been considered for the role but in the end they used guide vocals recorded by Crosby, who never receive any royalties from the song. While visiting the company’s recording studios on Sunset Boulevard, Crosby had been asked to provide guide vocals for Meat Loaf. Crosby recalled, “I went and sang it twice and I never thought anything more of it until six months later when I got a phone call saying, ‘Would you mind if we used your vocals?'”. In the music video, Lorraine Crosby’s vocals are lip-synched by Dana Patrick.
In 1995, Steinman re-united with Bonnie Tyler to produce two covers of his songs for her “Free Spirit” album: Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” and a quite dreadful version of “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”, off Meat Loaf’s original 1977 “Bat Out of Hell” album.
Formed in 1987 and seemingly still active, Watershed released an album called “Twister” in 1995. Featuring material written by the band members themselves, the album credited Steinman as executive producer. Steven Rinkoff was one of the co-producers.
Jim Steinman was one of the co-producers of the Take That single “Never Forget”, which reached the No. 1 position on the UK singles chart. Written by Take That singer Gary Barlow, “Never Forget” was included on the boy band’s third studio album, 1995’s “Nobody Else”.
Steven Rinkoff was credited as associate producer and engineer and, like many Steinman/Rinkoff productions, the song featured programming and keyboard work by Jeff Bova. Bova has been active in music industry since the mid-1970s, contributing to recordings by artists like Meat Loaf, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Cyndi Lauper, and Billy Joel, among others. After leaving college, Bova participated in a jazz fusion band called Flying Island before moving back to New York to find a place in the R&B group Change (1982-1984). In 1983, Bova met avant-garde bassist and record producer Bill Laswell, who was working with jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Bova went on to work with Hancock for the next five years before teaming up with Steinman for the “Original Sin” album. Jeff Bova was also mentioned in the liner notes of “Floodland” by the The Sisters of Mercy, which Steinman was involved in. Jeff Bova would later get credited for orchestration on the Iron Maiden albums “Brave New World” (2000) and “The Book of Souls” (2015).
Steinman won album of the year at the 1997 Grammy Awards for producing three songs on Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” (1996), including a cover of his power ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Steinman and Steven Rinkoff also co-produced Celine Dion’s “Call the Man” (written by Andy Hill and Peter Sinfield, the former King Crimson lyricist) and her cover of “River Deep, Mountain High” (Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector), a remake of a classic Phil Spector production. Spector had first recorded the song with Ike & Tina Turner in 1966.
The 1997 follow-up album, “Let’s Talk About Love”, had Steinman producing the Billy Pace composition “Us”. Celine Dion also recorded “Is Nothing Sacred” in 1997 for her album. Due to legal issues, it was left of the album. It is said that one time it was intended for the soundtrack of “Titanic”, the 1997 blockbuster for which Celine Dion sang “My Heart Will Go On”.
“Is Nothing Sacred” was composed by Jim Steinman, with lyrics by Don Black. The song was first recorded by Meat Loaf for his 1995 album “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”, but not included. A longer version was included on the 1998 compilation album “The Very Best of Meat Loaf” and then re-recorded as a duet with Patti Russo for its single release in 1999. “The Very Best of Meat Loaf” also featured two other tracks that were new and produced by Steinman. “Home by Now/No Matter What” and “A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste” (featuring Bonnie Tyler) were written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman, and adapted from their 1996 musical “Whistle Down the Wind”.
Also in 1998, Steinman co-produced a version of “No Matter What” by the Irish boyband Boyzone. The single, which went on to sell more than three million copies, was recorded to tie in with the first UK production of the musical “Whistle Down the Wind”.
Andrew Lloyd Webber approached Steinman about writing lyrics for his 1986 musical “The Phantom of the Opera”, but a decade would pass before they first worked together. Steinman then provided lyrics for “Whistle Down the Wind”, a musical composed by Webber that first opened in Washington D.C. in December 1996. It initially received poor reviews and the Broadway run was cancelled. The 1998 West End production, however, ran for 1,044 performances before closing in January 2001. The children’s cast included Jessica Cornish, better known as “Jessie J”.
Boyzone’s version was included on a concept album released in 1998, as was Meat Loaf’s take on “A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”. Other performers on the album included Tom Jones (“Vaults of Heaven”), Tina Arena (“Whistle Down the Wind”), Elaine Paige (“If Only”), Donny Osmond (“When Children Rule the World”, a song also recorded for a charity single by the Red Hill Children), the Everly Brothers (“Cold”), and Bonnie Tyler on “Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts”. Steinman produced the latter recording and Boy George’s “Try Not to Be Afraid”.
There was also an Original Cast Recording released as a double CD in 1999, featuring the entire “Whistle Down The Wind” musical as performed by the West End cast.
Steinman “only” provided lyrics for “Whistle Down the Wind” but he composed the music for “Tanz der Vampire” (“Dance of the Vampires”), a musical which opened in Vienna, Austria, in 1997. The show was adapted from Roman Polanski’s 1967 movie “The Fearless Vampire Killers”, and initially directed by Polanski himself. A complete cast recording of the Vienna production was released in 1998. Since staged in many countries, several of the productions of “Tanz der Vampire” have had cast recordings released, some of them even co-produced by Steinman. Like much of Steinman’s work, the show included adaptations of previously released material, including “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”.
A separate and very different show from “Tanz der Vampire”, “Dance of the Vampires” eventually opened on Broadway in 2002. “Tanz der Vampire” had been a “sung-through” musical with no breaks in the music, much like an opera, but “Dance of the Vampires” was a humorous spoken play with songs inserted. The book written by David Ives had a large number of vulgar jokes. Steinman did not attend the opening night, in order to show his disgust with the show. The reviews also tended to be very negative and the musical closed early 2003.
Speaking of musicals, “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical” (which would premiere in 2017) had a predecessor in a movie musical which Steinman had planned back in 1996. Titled “Bat Out of Hell 2100”, Steinman’s script (which leaked onto the internet) built upon the storyline of Steinman’s 1970s musical “Neverland”. This movie was never made but Steinman did make some demos for the intended project. Kyle “Scarpia” Gordon sang “All Revved Up With No Place To Go” with an alternate lyric, Marcus Lovett took a shot at “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and Ellen Foley sang “City Night”. The latter song incorporated material from “Come With Me” from “Dance of the Vampires”, which in turn uses the melody from “New Orleans is Comin’ To Me” from “The Confidence Man”.
Steinman produced two tracks for films in the late 1990s. “In the Dark of the Night” (by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens) was included in the 1997 film “Anastasia”. It is sung by Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd speaking, Jim Cummings singing) and served as the villain song. “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” (music by James Horner, lyric by Will Jennings) was produced for the film “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) and sung by Tina Arena and Marc Anthony.
In 2000, South African singer Jennifer Jones performed Steinman’s “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” at the World Aids Day concert, with worldwide broadcast.
The box set “Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now & Forever” was released in 2001. It included a recording of the Steinman/Webber song “A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste” from “Whistle Down the Wind”. Co-produced by Steinman and credited to The Metal Philharmonic Orchestra, which was an unrealized performance project idea, the lead vocals were performed by Kyle Gordon, a.k.a. “Scarpia”, a singer on many of Steinman’s demo recordings.
Around 2001, Steinman worked with singer Karine Hannah. Plans to make an album with her were eventually abandoned but demo recordings of four songs by Steinman were leaked: “Safe Sex”, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”, “Is Nothing Sacred” and “Braver Than We Are”. Steinman also used Hannah’s voice on demos of “Catwoman’s Song” (recycling parts of “More”) and “Not Allowed to Love”, songs that were parts of Steinman’s preparations for “Batman: The Musical”.
In 2017, a different recording of Hannah singing “Braver Than We Are” was released, but plans to release an album called “Renegade Angel” were again abandoned. The same album title had, of course, previously been suggested for Meat Loaf’s sophomore album. Incidentally, Meat Loaf himself released an album called “Braver Than We Are” in 2016. The title song was re-worked into “Going All the Way (A Song in 6 Movements)”, a track featuring a re-union with Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito, the female vocalists from the original studio and live versions of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.
Steinman started working on the music and lyrics for a stage musical based on the Batman comic book series in 1998. An initial opening date was announced in 2001, when Steinman and David Ives (who was to write the book) reportedly turned in a version to Warner Bros. In August 2002, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures reportedly signed Tim Burton to direct, though Burton later downplayed his actual knowledge of the project. Steinman said that “It’s more like his first two movies than any of the other movies. It’s very dark and gothic, but really wildly funny. It was my dream that he do this.”
A new time-table was later announced, with an out-of-town tryout opening in 2004 and a Broadway opening set for 2005. The project fell through before production was completed, however, something which may have been due to the lack of success of Steinman’s then-current Broadway venture “Dance of the Vampires”. Steinman later shared some of the demos from the intended Batman show, and had The Dream Engine record “We’re Still The Children We Were Then” and “Not Allowed To Love”.
Composed by Michael Reed and Jim Steinman, using a script by Warner Brown about the life of the late screen idol Greta Garbo, “Garbo – the Musical” opened in Sweden to poor reviews in 2002.
In 2002, Russell Watson released the album “Encore”, featuring a cover of “Is Nothing Sacred”. Steinman had originally worked on his production of this song with Watson on lead vocals.
In 2002, the Opera Babes released the album “Beyond Imagination”. Steinman produced and co-arranged the track “Vittoria!”, adapted from the Giuseppe Verdi opera “Aida”.
In 2003, Steinman sat down for an interview which lasted hours. Watch it here:
In 1998, Steinman and Rinkoff had formed Ravenous Records, a division of Ravenous Entertainment. In 2005, Rinkoff explained that “initially the idea was just to find great singers for Jim’s songs, and as hard as that could be, we somehow got skewed into finding people that were writing their own songs, and then we became a label where we were putting out artists that had nothing to do with Jim’s music.”
The roster included Hewitt Huntwork and Boyzone, whose third album “Where We Belong” (1998) was released through Ravenous Records in the USA. Ravenous Records initially had their releases distributed by Mercury Records but when that label folded into the The Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJMG), Mercury’s pop roster was predominantly taken over by Island Records. Nicki French was signed to the label in 2000 and two tracks were recorded: the Bonnie Tyler cover “Lovers Again” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”, a Meat Loaf cover. Neither got released commercially.
The most notable release of Ravenous Records was the soundtrack for “Wuthering Heights”, which was co-released with the MTV Original Movies label in 2003. Steinman produced the album, with Rinkoff responsible for recording and mixing. The soundtrack featured two songs composed by Hewitt Huntwork (“I Will Crumble” and “Shine”) but the remaining tracks were all composed by Steinman: “Prelude: The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”, “More” (co-composed by Andrew Eldritch), “If It Ain’t Broke (Break It)” and “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”. The latter two were later recorded by Meat Loaf for his 2006 album “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose”.
Pat Thrall played guitar on the soundtrack version of “If It Ain’t Broke (Break It)”, with vocals by Mike Vogel. Pat Thrall (ex-Cookin’ Mama, Automatic Man, Pat Travers Band, Asia) of Hughes/Thrall fame had also appeared as a session musician on “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell”, after which he stayed on with Meat Loaf as part of The Neverland Express until 1997.
Ravenous Entertainment continued to produce live events but the planned debut album by The Dream Engine, containing songs mostly written by Steinman, is yet to be released. Performing only material by Jim Steinman, and named after his 1969 musical, performers involved in The Dream Engine (Rob Evan, Elaine Caswell, Steve Margoshes and others) performed live shows as Over the Top in 2005. In early 2006, Steven Rinkoff’s website said that “Steven is developing the group, THE DREAM ENGINE. The project brings new songs, new lyrics, and soaring new voices to the rock operatic imagination of Jim Steinman. 2006 will launch the live shows and a much anticipated CD.”
While the CD is yet to be released, the following songs were supposedly recorded by August 2006: “What Part of My Body Hurts The Most”, “Safe Sex”, “We’re Still the Children We Once Were”, “(It Hurts) Only When I Feel”, “Braver Than We Are” and “Is Nothing Sacred”. The following songs were also recorded, but perhaps only as demos: “Not Allowed to Love”, “In the Land of the Pig the Butcher is King”, “Speaking in Tongues”, “Confessions”, “Seize the Night”, “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”, and a vocal quartet version of “Cry to Heaven”.
The musicians in the The Dream Engine included Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick (ex-Savatage) of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Matt Zebroski, drummer in the Alex Skolnick Trio. Elaine Caswell of Pandora’s Box mainly did backing vocals while the lead vocalists included Rob Evan and Adrienne Warren, both of whom have performed with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the project formed in 1996 by Savatage producer Paul O’Neill with Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli.
In a 2006 blog entry, Steinman wrote that “THE DREAM ENGINE, guided by Rinkoff, continues. I know it’s better if he communicates directly with you on that. But I’m sure it will be stunning.” The Dream Engine has not performed or been active in public since 2006, but this is a list of songs performed during their live shows in 2006: “Is Nothing Sacred”, “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”, the instrumental intro called “Great Boleros of Fire”, “(It Hurts) Only When I Feel”, “Loving You’s a Dirty Job But Somebody’s Got to Do It” (sometimes performed as a duet by Rob Evan with Bonnie Tyler), “Safe Sex”, “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are”, the revised “Braver Than We Are”, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, “Not Allowed to Love”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “What Part of My Body Hurts the Most”, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”, “We’re Still the Children We Once Were”, “Angels Arise”, “Speaking in Tongues”, “For Crying Out Loud”.
Either way, the people in The Dream Engine were the first ever to publicly perform the songs “What Part of My Body Hurts the Most”, “We’re Still the Children We Once Were”, “Speaking in Tongues”, “Not Allowed to Love” and “(It Hurts) Only When I Feel”, a song partly adapted from “If It Ain’t Broke (Break It)”. This project was also the first to perform a revised and politicized lyric to “Braver Than We Are”, alternatively called “An American Elegy” and “God’s Gone A.W.O.L.”.
“A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”, written and produced by Steinman, had been recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1987, during the recording sessions that ended up being the 1989 album “Some Hearts”. The song was not released until 2005, however, when “On the Wings of a Nightingale: The Mercury Studio Recordings” featured it. This song was different from the song with the same title in “Whistle Down the Wind”. The Everly Brothers’ version contained musical motifs recycled from the Steinman song “Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)”. A demo recording with Rory Dodd singing lead vocals exist, as does a later incarnation with Gina Taylor of Pandora’s Box on lead vocals, recorded around the time of “Original Sin”.
In 2006, the Irish boy band Westlife released a cover of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on “The Love Album”. While it was produced by Steve Mac, a remix was leaked with an added intro, presumably done by Steinman, Rinkoff, and Bova.
Meat Loaf claimed that he and Steinman had been working on a new album since 2001. Supposedly, “lawyers worked for over a year putting together a contract for Steinman to do Bat Out of Hell III.” When “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose” was eventually released in 2006, however, it was produced by Desmond Child and had no involvement from Steinman.
7 of the 14 songs were written by Steinman but 5 of these were covers of songs already released on other albums. “Bad for Good” (feat. Queen guitarist Brian May) was the title track on Steinman’s 1981 album while “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” and “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be” (feat. Jennifer Hudson) were originally on 1989’s “Original Sin”. Meat Loaf’s version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” was performed as a duet with Marion Raven (Marion Elise Ravn of the pop duo M2M), a Norwegian vocalist who had been working on her solo album with Desmond Child.
“Seize the Night” first appeared as “Carpe Noctem” in the “Tanz der Vampire” musical and “If It Ain’t Broke, Break It” had previously appeared in the MTV film “Wuthering Heights”. The other two were adapted from Steinman’s musical demos: “In the Land of the Pig, the Butcher is King” (feat. Steve Vai) had (with Rob Evan on vocals) been a part of the preparations for the unrealized Batman musical” while Steinman’s demo of “Cry to Heaven” (with Kyle Gordon on vocals) had been intended for a musical based on the film “Cry-Baby”. Such a musical was later staged without work from Steinman.
Steinman had registered the phrase “Bat Out of Hell” as a trademark in 1995 and Steinman had tried to prevent Meat Loaf from releasing “The Monster is Loose” as “Bat Out of Hell III”. In May 2006, Meat Loaf sued Steinman and his manager in federal District Court in Los Angeles, seeking $50 million and an injunction against Steinman’s use of the phrase. An agreement was reached in July 2006. According to Virgin, “the two came to an amicable agreement that ensured that Jim Steinman’s music would be a continuing part of the ‘Bat Out of Hell’ legacy.” The agreement also allowed Steinman to use the title “Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell” for a musical theatre project. Meat Loaf, meanwhile, went on to release “3 Bats Live” (2007), a DVD that featured mainly Steinman compositions from the “Bat Out of Hell” trilogy. The exceptions were “The Monster Is Loose” (John 5/Desmond Child/Nikki Sixx), “Blind as a Bat” (Child/James Michael), “Black Betty” (Traditional), “Mercury Blues” (K. C. Douglas/Robert Geddins) and the Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter” (Jagger/Richards).
In January 2012, it was announced that Steinman was working on a heavy metal version of “The Nutcracker” with Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.
In April 2013, Meat Loaf claimed that he and Steinman would collaborate on three new songs to be included on Meat Loaf’s album “Braver Than We Are”. Released in 2016, the album eventually featured ten songs composed by Steinman. Almost nothing was written specifically for that album, however, and it was produced by Paul Crook.
“Only When I Feel” and “Speaking in Tongues” had been performed by Rob Evan in 2005 and 2006. The track “Going All The Way” ws a mixture of some previously released and leaked material. Parts of “Going All the Way” is in the song “Braver Than We Are/Say A Prayer” from “Dance of the Vampires” while another part is lifted from the demo of Karine Hannah singing “Braver Than We Are”. “Loving You’s a Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Got To Do It)” is a cover of the Bonnie Tyler song and “More” is the song by The Sisters of Mercy. The tracks “Who Needs The Young”, “Souvenirs”, “Godz”, “Skull of Your Country”, and “Train of Love” are all covers of unreleased Steinman compositions from the 1970s. The video below compiles early versions of all songs off “Braver Than We Are”, recorded by Steinman and/or various other artists between 1969 and 2006.
Tyce Green is an actor and recording artist whose debut album was co-produced by Steinman. Released in 2017, “Hero” featured only previously released songs composed by Steinman: “Holding Out For A Hero”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back”, “Left In The Dark”, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us”, “Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, “Braver Than We Are”, “Everything Is Permitted”, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, “More Than You Deserve”, and “For Crying Out Loud”. Having worked with Desmond Child and Holly Knight, Tyce was the first (and last) male vocalist to record with Steinman since Meat Loaf.
In February 2017, Steinman’s “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical” opened in Manchester, England. This musical was based on multiple projects, including Steinman’s “Neverland” musical from the 1970s, the Meat Loaf hit albums “Bat Out of Hell” and “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell”, and on assorted other recordings from Steinman’s career. The musical did not contain any songs that had not been performed in public by the summer of the year 2006, though “Not Allowed to Love” and “What Part of My Body Hurts the Most” had never been released on any albums or singles at that point.
Co-produced by Steinman, Steven Rinkoff, and Michael Reed, a cast recording album for “Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical” was released in October 2017 on the BOOH Label, which was created specifically for this album. The cast album features the vocals of the show’s cast in Manchester, with Andrew Polec, Christina Bennington, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton, Danielle Steers and Dom Hartley-Harris. Of this original cast, only Polec, Bennington and Steers remained with the show from opening in Manchester in 2017 through to complete the New York City run in 2019.
In 2021, “the greatest ever composer of symphonic rock” (according to author Paul Stenning) died from kidney failure at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut. He will be missed.
….and if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car,
and objects in the rear view mirror, may appear closer than they are
Notable albums featuring the work of Jim Steinman:
1977: Meat Loaf- Bat Out of Hell
1981: Jim Steinman – Bad For Good
1981: Meat Loaf – Dead Ringer
1983: Bonnie Tyler – Faster Than the Speed of Night
1986: Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
1989: Pandora’s Box – Original Sin
1993: Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell: Back Into Hell
1998: Jim Steinman & Michael Kunze – Tanz der Vampire (Original Cast Recording)
1999: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Jim Steinman – Whistle Down The Wind (Original Cast Recording)
2003: Jim Steinman & Ray Errol Fox – The Confidence Man (Original Cast Recording)
2006: Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (7 songs)
2016: Meat Loaf – Braver Than We Are
2017: Tyce – Hero
2017: Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical (Original Cast Recording)