This story is about, genius and unknown superstar, Jim Steinman, (James Richard Steinman, born November 1, 1947) and is an American composer, lyricist, and Grammy Award-winning record producer responsible for many hit songs. He has also worked as an arranger, pianist and singer. His work has included songs in, Wagnerian rock, Rock N´Roll, Dance, Pop, Musical Theater and Film Score genres. Beginning his career in musical theater, his most notable work in the area includes lyrics for Whistle Down the Wind and music for Tanz der Vampire.
His work includes such albums as Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, and producing albums for Bonnie Tyler. His most successful chart singles include Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", the Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" and "More", Barry Manilow's "Read 'Em and Weep" (originally released by Meat Loaf), Celine Dion's cover of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (originally released by Steinman's project Pandora's Box, and later by Meat Loaf and Marion Raven) and Boyzone's "No Matter What". The album Bad for Good was released in his own name in 1981.
Jim Steinman was born in New York City. He graduated from George W. Hewlett High School in 1965 and received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College in 1969. According to longtime manager David Sonenberg, Steinman had serious cardiac health problems around 2004, but has been in good health since.
Responding to an interviewer's asserting that his songs are tragic, Steinman says that he has "never been stomped on literally. Figuratively, I am stomped on every day ... anyway, that is the way I feel sometimes. I've never had my heart broken the way you are talking about. I've never been dumped... but probably because I don't allow myself to be dumped."
In March 1968, Steinman contributed music for an Amherst College adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's A Man's a Man. In May 1968, he directed an Amherst production of Michael McClure's The Beard. Over the summer of 1968, he contributed music for an adaptation of Brecht's Baal by the Island Theater Workshop on Martha's Vineyard.
As a senior at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Jim wrote the book, music and lyrics for The Dream Engine (April 1969), a musical that was used to fulfil the requirements for an independent study course.
The story of The Dream Engine, set in the distant future, is about a young boy named Baal who, along with his rebel fellows, doesn't accept the restraints and limits of their society. Baal is the leader of a group of wild boys called The Tribe, whose mortal enemies are Max and Emily, the parents of the Girl, a young woman with whom Baal has fallen in love. Steinman himself played Baal in the original production, which was staged in April 1969. Fellow Amherst College student Barry Keating was director.
Several parts of songs from this show resemble parts of songs Steinman later released. For example, the words "turn around bright eyes" from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" can be heard in the song called "The Formation of the Tribe" in Steinman's manuscript of the show.
Steinman said in an interview that Joseph Papp, founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, saw the play and was so impressed he signed it up during intermission. He wanted to bring it to New York (either Broadway or Central Park), but balked when his Amherst faculty advisor explained to Papp that, contrary to Papp's published claim, Steinman was never threatened with "near-expulsion" from the college. Nonetheless, Steinman worked under Papp after his years at Amherst College.
In 1971, Steinman provided music for a puppet show called Ubu. The show, put on by puppeteer and filmmaker Demian, was an adaptation of Ubu on the Hill, an 1888 play by Alfred Jarry.
In 1972, Steinman worked with college friend Barry Keating on a musical called Rhinegold at the Mercer Arts Center, based on Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold. Steinman wrote the music and Keating wrote the lyrics.
In 1973, Steinman's song "Happy Ending" appeared on the album Food of Love, sung by Yvonne Elliman. This was the first commercially released recording of a song written by Steinman. That same year, Steinman wrote music and lyrics for a musical called More Than You Deserve (1973). One of the actors cast in this show was Marvin Lee Aday, who went by the name Meat Loaf, with whom Steinman later collaborated. A song from this show, called "More Than You Deserve" would later be recorded by Meat Loaf for the album Dead Ringer.
In 1976, there was a minor one-month run of a musical called The Confidence Man. It was based loosely on the novel by the same title by Herman Melville. The book and lyrics were written by Ray Errol Fox, the music by Steinman. Ray Fox described the 1976 production as "a capsule version of the show." In 1986, a more elaborate production of the show with added songs was held at Queens College in New York City. It was directed by Susan Einhorn and performed by Queen's College students. Orchestrations were by Steven Margoshes, a frequent Steinman collaborator. One song from The Confidence Man, "Milady", was recorded by Barry Manilow, but never released. The melody of that song later appeared in Tanz der Vampire as the melody of "Für Sarah" (for Sarah). Some music from this show later appeared in the hit song "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", and in the score of the film A Small Circle of Friends. A cast album of the songs from The Confidence Man, produced by Jeff Olmstead, was released in 2003. A cabaret show featuring songs from The Confidence Man was presented in 1977 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, where Steinman had previously written music for another cabaret show called Bloodshot Wine.
In 1977, a brief workshop was held for a work-in-progress musical called Neverland. It was based loosely on Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. While preparing the show, Steinman and Meat Loaf, who were touring with the National Lampoon show, felt that three songs were "exceptional" and Steinman began to develop them as part of a seven-song set they wanted to record as an album. The three songs were "Bat Out of Hell", "Heaven Can Wait" and "The Formation of the Pack", which was retitled "All Revved Up With No Place to Go." The show also contained Steinman's "Bolero" (a.k.a. "Great Bolero's of Fire") which was later used at many live shows featuring Steinman work.
Steinman and Meat Loaf had immense difficulty finding a record company willing to sign them. According to Meat Loaf's autobiography, the band spent most of 1975, and two and a half years, auditioning Bat Out of Hell and being rejected. CBS executive Clive Daviseven claimed that Steinman knew nothing about writing, or rock music in general. Recording started in 1976 in Bearsville, near Woodstock. After numerous further rejections, the album was released by Cleveland International Records in October 1977. The album was an immediate success in Australia and the United Kingdom, and later in the United States. Reports vary as to how many copies of the album have been sold, but in 2007, Cleveland International Records founder Steve Popovich said that it was around 40 million copies. The highest-charting song from the album was "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Charts.
In 1979, the Freeway Records label made a 2-L.P. compilation album called L.A. Radio. It was not commercially released, but promo copies were distributed. It included a spoken word segment called "Shadows on the Freeway", written and recited by Steinman. It later appeared on the 1981 album Dead Ringer with a new title, "Nocturnal Pleasure". Parts of it can also be heard at the beginning of the 1989 music video, directed by Ken Russell, for the first release of the song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".
Steinman wrote the theme music for the 1979 National Lampoon sitcom Delta House. Sean Kelly and Tony Hendra wrote the lyrics. Michael Simmons sang the lead vocal. The music from this later appeared on the song "Dead Ringer for Love".
In 1980, the film A Small Circle of Friends was released. It had an orchestral score composed by Steinman, and orchestrated by his frequent collaborator Steve Margoshes. The motifs of this orchestral score match the melodies of numerous songs Steinman later released, including "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" and "Für Sarah" from Tanz der Vampire.
Early in the production of a follow-up album to Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf developed vocal problems and was unable to continue on the project. Steinman proceeded with the album, released as Bad for Good in 1981. Most songs are sung by Steinman himself. Three of the songs are sung by Rory Dodd, who did not receive a clear indication for his work in the album's credits, and Karla DeVito sings a duet part on one song. Steinman was this time credited as co-producer with Todd Rundgren for all but one track. Steinman was credited as co-producer with Jimmy Iovine for the song "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through".
Meat Loaf again recorded songs by Steinman on the album Dead Ringer (1981). All of the songs on the album were written by Steinman. The highest charting song on this album was "Dead Ringer for Love", a duet with the uncredited Cher, and the album reached No. 1 on the album charts in the United Kingdom.
Steinman is credited as music producer of every selection on Bonnie Tyler's album Faster Than the Speed of Night (1983). Steinman also wrote and composed two of the songs on the album: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Faster Than the Speed of Night", the album's title selection. For a period in 1983, two songs written and produced by Steinman held the top two positions on the Billboard singles chart, with "Total Eclipse of the Heart" at number one, and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", performed by Air Supply, at number two. The second of those appeared on Air Supply's 1983 compilation albums Greatest Hits and Making Love... The Very Best of Air Supply, and was also released as a single. On the inner cover of the album, Steinman is also credited with being the "seductive female voice" speaking the words "I'd do anything for love, but I wont do that" on the song "Getting so Excited", the same words that would later become the title of a hit single Steinman wrote for Meat Loaf which was released ten years later.
Barry Manilow's compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. II (1983) included the song "Read 'Em and Weep", written, composed, and produced by Steinman. It had appeared on Meat Loaf's Dead Ringer album in 1981, but with a slightly different lyric. The song stayed at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart for eight consecutive weeks.
In 1983, Ian Hunter released his album All of the Good Ones Are Taken. On the title selection, "All of the Good Ones Are Taken", Steinman is credited with "assistance". Rory Dodd and Eric Troyer, two singers who often sang on Steinman's studio work, were credited with "additional background vocals."
In 1984, the film Streets of Fire was released. The soundtrack included two songs written, composed, and produced by Steinman. They are "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" and "Nowhere Fast." The performance of these two songs is credited to "Fire Incorporated", which was a reference to an assembly of studio musicians and singers hired for these two songs. The voices heard on these songs include those of Rory Dodd, Holly Sherwood and Laurie Sargent.
Steinman is credited for producing all the selections on Billy Squier's album Signs of Life (1984), and Barbra Streisand's album of the same year, Emotion, featured "Left in the Dark", which Steinman wrote, composed and produced. The song had previously appeared on Bad for Good.
The soundtrack for the 1984 film Footloose included the song "Holding Out for a Hero", performed by Bonnie Tyler. Steinman produced the selection and is credited with composing the music, and Dean Pitchford, who had written the film itself directly for the screen, for writing the lyrics. The song was a hit single, the soundtrack album was successful, and the film was successful. Some of the music from this song was adapted from the music used for the song "Stark Raving Love" from the album Bad for Good.
In 1984, Steinman was hired by and worked briefly with the rock band Def Leppard on some tracks that were intended for a Def Leppard album. However, Steinman was fired, and the recording work he made with the band was not released. The next album Def Leppard released after this, Hysteria, was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange.
In 1985, Steinman wrote, composed, and produced a theme song for WWF performer Hulk Hogan. It was released in 1985 on an album called The Wrestling Album. The selection was recorded during the recording sessions for Secret Dreams And Forbidden Fire, an album that Bonnie Tyler was then recording, and which Steinman also produced. The selection has no lead vocals, and it matches much of the non-vocal parts of the track of "Ravishing" that appeared on Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire. The track was also heard as the theme music on the animated television show Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling.
Steinman produced the track "Love Can Make You Cry", written by Michael Kehr, Don Kehr and Ian Hunter, for the soundtrack album for the 1986 film Iron Eagle. This was a modified version of the original recording of the same song, which had appeared on Urgent's 1985 album Cast The First Stone. The original recording had been produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson.
According to Steinman in an interview, Andrew Lloyd Webber approached him to write lyrics for The Phantom of the Opera because Lloyd Webber felt that his "dark obsessive side" fit in with the project. However, Steinman declined in order to fulfill his commitments to a Bonnie Tyler album. In 1986, the album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire was released. Bonnie Tyler sang lead vocals, and Steinman produced all the selections on the album. Four of the songs on the album were written and/or composed by Steinman. One, "Holding Out for a Hero", was the same track from the Footloose soundtrack. The other three were "Ravishing", "Rebel Without a Clue" and "Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It", a duet with Todd Rundgren. This album was the first time Steinman worked with Steven Rinkoff, who was a recording engineer on this album. Since this album, the two have been co-producers and regular professional partners on Steinman's work.
In 1987, the Sisters of Mercy released their second album Floodland. The track "This Corrosion" was produced by Steinman, and the track "Dominion/Mother Russia" was co-produced by Steinman, along with Larry Alexander and Andrew Eldritch. The soundtrack album for the 1989 film Rude Awakening included two tracks produced by Steinman. One was the song "Rude Awakening", with lead vocals by Bill Medley and was written by Rick Rose and Paul Rothchild. The other, "Darling Be Home Soon," which featured lead vocals by Phoebe Snow, had been written, composed and originated by John Sebastian.
In 1989, the album Original Sin was released. The album artist name is Pandora's Box. Pandora's Box referred to a group assembled by Steinman, including, officially, four female singers and Steinman himself. The official four female singers were Ellen Foley, Elaine Caswell, Gina Taylor and Deliria Wilde (with Holly Sherwood doing lead vocals on "Good Girls Go to Heaven"). Sales in Europe were low. The album was successful and reached No. 1 on the album charts in South Africa. It was not released at all in North America. Years later, it was reissued and became available all over the world on compact disc. Original Sin included the original recording of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now", sung by Elaine Caswell. Two songs from this album "It Just Won't Quit" and "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)" were re-recorded and released on Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell.
Bad for Good (1981)
as producer (partly composer)