He is probably one of the most underrated American songwriters of all time. He practically invented a form of bringing together theatrics and Rock And Roll in a way that created an album that would go on to sell 43 million copies and counting.
James Richard Steinman was born November 1, 1947 and is the mastermind behind Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. Released in late 1977, it is according to the text in the back cover of the remastered version: “A song cycle built on Wagnerian power chords and Townshedian teenage angst.” Jim, Meat Loaf and producer Todd Rundgren created an outrageous gem of Classic Rock. Despite the length and the outrageousness of the songs, the title-track, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”, “Two Out Of Tree Ain’t Bad”, “All Revved Up And No Place To Go”, “For Crying Out Loud”, “Heaven Can Wait” and “you Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)” all earned their place in the Rock canon.
Of course, multi-octave reach of Meat Loaf’s voice was essential to the success of the album, but to learn how Jim was instrumental, take a look at anything Meat Loaf did without him. It’s not even close.
I personally, am constantly enthralled by the melodies, the arrangements, the vocal lines and the long lyrics that are part of the fabric that makes “Bat Out Of Hell” so special.
And when he did the sequel 16 years later, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, he kept the quality of the songs and the tradition of long song titles: “Objects In The Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t do That)”, “Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)” among others.
Still working with Meat Loaf, but not with the Bat Out Of Hell concept, he also wrote the album Dead Ringer which is also full of great songs.
In 2007, Jim and Meat Loaf reunited for Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, now with some contributions from other great writers like Nikki Sixx, Diane Warren and Desmond Child. But even so, Jim Steinman songs like “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” (previously recorded by Celine Dion), “Bad For Good”, “In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King”, “It Ain’t Broke Break It” and “Seize The Night”, still excels.
If all of that was not enough, Jim was also wrote the wonderful world famous Bonnie Tyler’s hit “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and the music to another smash hit sang by Bonnie: “Holding Out For A Hero” from the 1984 Footloose soundtrack.
For all that Jim, step out of the frying pan and into the hall of idols.
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