Jim Steinman

This story is about the unique talented genius and unknown superstar, Jim Steinman, James Richard Steinman (November 1, 1947 – April 19, 2021) was an American composer, lyricist and record producer. He also worked as an arranger, pianist, and singer. His work included songs in the Adult contemporary, Rock, Dance, Pop, Musical theater, and Film score genres. He wrote songs for Bonnie Tyler and Meat Loaf, including Bat Out of Hell (one of the best-selling albums in history), and also wrote and produced Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell and Bonnie Tyler's Faster Than the Speed of Night.

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", "More", Barry Manilow's "Read 'Em and Weep", Take That's "Never Forget",  Celine Dion's cover of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (originally released by Jim Steinman's project  Pandora's Box) and Boyzone's "No Matter What" (the group's first and only single to be popular and chart in the US). Jim Steinman's only solo album Bad for Good was released in 1981.

Jim Steinman's work also extended to musical theater, where he began his career. Jim was credited with the book, music, and lyrics for Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, as well as lyrics for Whistle Down the Wind, and music for Tanz der Vampire.

Early life

Jim Steinman was born November 1, 1947, in Hewlett Harbor, New York, the son of Eleanor, a teacher of Latin, and Louis Steinman, who owned a steel distribution warehouse. He was of Jewish ancestry.

Jim Steinman graduated from George W. Hewlett High School in 1965. In 1963, during his sophomore  year at Hewlett High School, Steinman won Newsday's January essay contest on American History for his essay on what he believed were the three greatest American inventions. Jim Steinman received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College in 1969.

Career - 1960s

In March 1968, Jim 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 Steinman 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 in his senior year.

Jim Steinman himself played Baal while an audition call went out to fellow students for the remaining roles of the production. Barry Keating (serving as the co-creator and director) also played the role of the Historian/Narrator and worked extensively with Jim to compile the book for the production,

often shouting lines from the audience and sourcing heavily from their earlier work with Brechtian form and tropes. The play was presented at the Amherst campus's "Kirby Theater" in April 1969 and transferred to nearby Holyoke for a small handful of performances, infamously drawing the attention of local authorities for its ensemble-wide display of nudity in the finale (an element that was begrudgingly muted for the off-campus performances).

The Dream Engine, set in a satirical-dystopian 1969, is the story of 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 self-assembled 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.

Several motifs, lyrics, and monologues from this show appear in songs Steinman later released. For example, the lyrics "turn around bright eyes" from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" can be heard in the song titled "The Formation of the Tribe". This was originally a reference to the blast flash of nuclear explosions, and the full riff of the original Dream Engine composition can be heard in the musical break of the Bonnie Tyler recording, including symbolic musical "blasts" to punctuate each phrase. Multiple esoteric references to "silver" and "gold" also occur first, throughout the book, and appear in numerous later Steinman works, and the full monologue that was later recorded to open "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" is delivered in a love scene between Baal and The Girl.

Jim 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, Jim Steinman was never threatened with "near-expulsion" from the college. Nonetheless, Steinman worked under Papp after his years at Amherst College.


In 1971, Jim Steinman provided music for a puppet show titled "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, Jim Steinman worked with college friend Barry Keating on a musical titled Rhinegold at the Mercer Arts Center, based on Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold. Jim Steinman wrote the music and Barry Keating wrote the lyrics.

In 1972, Bette Midler sang a demo of the Steinman song "Heaven Can Wait" (video, Jim). Midler's career was at an early stage at the time; she went on to far greater fame, making that demo a collector's item. The demo has been in circulation among fans on the internet.

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 Jim Steinman. That same year, Steinman wrote music and lyrics for a musical titled 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.

In 1973, a single of the song "More Than You Deserve", from the musical sharing that name, was released. Reid Whitelaw was producer. Norman Bergen was arranger. Meat Loaf was the lead singer. A cover of this single also appears on the 1981 album Dead Ringer.

In 1975, while working for Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Steinman contributed music and lyrics to Thomas Babe's Kid Champion, which starred Christopher Walken.

In 1976, there was a minor one-month run of a musical titled "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 Jim 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 Jim Steinman had previously written music for another cabaret show titled Bloodshot Wine.

Since 1974, Jim Steinman had been working on a musical entitled Neverland (its only performances were during a 1977 workshop at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC ). Adapted largely from the Steinman/Keating source material developed for The Dream Engine, it also loosely sourced material from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. 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. Jim Steinman originally wanted Kim Milford to sing the album Bat Out of Hell, but later changed his mind.

Jim 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 Davis even claimed that Jim 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-LP compilation album titled L.A. Radio. It was not commercially released, but promo copies were distributed. It included a spoken word segment titled "Shadows on the Freeway", written and recited by Jim 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". Jim 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 vocals. 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 Jim 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" (video) 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. Jim Steinman proceeded with the album, released as Bad for Good in 1981. Most songs are sung by Jim 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. Jim 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 Jim Steinman on the album Dead Ringer (1981). All of the songs on the album were written by Jim Steinman. One of the songs, "More Than You Deserve", was previously released. Stephan Galfas was the primary producer for this album. Steinman's role in this album was less than his role in Bad for Good. The highest-charting song on this album was "Dead Ringer for Love", a duet with Cher, and the album reached No. 1 on the album charts in the United Kingdom.

Jim 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 jim 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. 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 won't do that" on the song "Getting so Excited", the same words that would later become the title of a hit single Jim 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 Jim Steinman. It had appeared on Meat Loaf's Dead Ringer album in 1981, but with a slightly different lyrics. 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", Jim Steinman is credited with "assistance". Rory Dodd and Eric Troyer, two singers who often sang on Jim 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 Jim 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 DoddHolly Sherwood, and Laurie Sargent.

Jim 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. Jim 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, Jim Steinman was hired by, and worked briefly with, rock band Def Leppard on some tracks that were intended for a Def Leppard album. However, Jim 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.

Jim Steinman wrote a song titled "Vaults of Heaven" which has the same melody as "Milady" from The Confidence Man and "Für Sarah" from Tanz der VampireRory Dodd sang a demo of this "Vaults of Heaven" (video) in 1984. That demo has been in circulation among fans on the internet.

In 1985, Jim Steinman wrote, composed, and produced a theme song for WWF performer Hulk Hogan. It was released in 1985 on an album titled 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 Jim Steinman produced all the selections on the album. Four of the songs on the album were written and/or composed by Jim 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 Jim 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 Jim 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 Jim 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"). Gina Taylor, who is now better known as Gina Taylor-Pickens, was previously in the group Musique, including the 1978 hit single "In The Bush". In interview, Elaine Caswell said Pandora's Box was "four women; three that existed and [...] Deliria Wilde who was somewhat mythical, someone [Steinman] kind of created".

Deliria Wilde might have been a pseudonym for Holly Sherwood. 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 internationally 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.

In the late 1980s, Jim Steinman was 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. His demos include Rory Dodd singing "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", with an extra verse not heard in the Air Supply recording, and include a 1980s recording of "Who Needs the Young?"

In the late 1980s, Jim Steinman was preparing to produce an album for ELO Part II, a spin-off of the group Electric Light Orchestra. Steinman made a demo of Rory Dodd singing the song Kiss Me Red by  Billy Steinberg and Tom KellyELO Part II released their album Electric Light Orchestra Part Two in 1990, without Steinman producing. Eric Troyer, a frequent background vocalist on Steinman productions, sang the lead vocal on ELO Part II's released recording of "Kiss Me Red".


With Andrew Eldritch, Jim Steinman co-wrote and co-produced the track "More" for the album Vision Thing (1990) by the group The Sisters of Mercy. Around 1992, Jim Steinman worked with the punk band Iron Prostate, which featured guitarist and writer George Tabb. The group reportedly dissolved while working with Steinman on what was to be their second album.

George Tabb's website has shared a recording of the song "Bring Me The Head of Jerry Garcia", with Jim credited as executive producer. The song's lyric says of Jerry Garcia, "he plays guitar like diarrhea". After a series of financial and legal disputes during the 1980s, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf met at the singer's house in Connecticut at Christmas 1989 or 1990 and sang Bat out of Hell on piano. Jim says that "working together again seemed like the cool thing to do." In 1993, the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell was released.

Jim Steinman wrote all the songs, and was credited as producer and arranger. Steven Rinkoff was, as usual, credited as co-producer, and others received co-producer credits. The album was successful, reaching the peak position on album charts in many countries. The album had three top 40 singles, with "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" reaching the peak position on pop singles charts in 28 countries. The other top 40 singles from this album were "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are".

"Original Sin", the eponymous song on the 1989 Pandora's Box album, featured on the soundtrack album for the film The Shadow (1994). The lyrics on this release was slightly different from that heard on the original release of this song. Jim Steinman also produced this version, with lead vocals by Taylor Dayne.

In 1995, the band Watershed released the album Twister. Jim Steinman was executive producer for the album, and Steinman's partner Steven Rinkoff was producer for all but one track of it. The album consisted of songs written by the band members.

In 1995, Bonnie Tyler released the album Free Spirit, featuring two tracks produced and written by Jim Steinman. They were dance versions of the past hits "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All".

Jim Steinman, along with Brothers in Rhythm and David James, with Steven Rinkoff as associate producer and engineer, co-produced the song "Never Forget". It was written by Gary Barlow, for the British group  Take That. It was released on the album Nobody Else (1995) and reached the No. 1 position on the UK singles chart. Like many Steinman/Rinkoff productions, it featured programming and keyboard work by Jeff Bova. Celine Dion's album Falling into You (1996) included the song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now", written and produced by Jim Steinman.

He also produced, but not authored, two other songs on the album: "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Call the Man". "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. This album as a whole won two 1997 Grammy Awards, for Best Pop Album and for Album of the Year. Steinman also produced the track "Us", written by Billy Pace, for Celine Dion's album Let's Talk About Love (1997). Jim Steinman's production team prepared a recording of the Steinman/Black song "Is Nothing Sacred" for that album, but it was removed shortly before the album's release.

A recording of Celine Dion singing the song was leaked and has been shared on fan websites.

Steinman produced two tracks for films in the late 1990s. He produced "In the Dark of the Night", written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, for the soundtrack album of the film Anastasia (1997). He also produced "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You" (music by James Horner, lyric by Will Jennings) for the film The Mask of Zorro (1998). Lead vocals were a duet between Tina Arena and Marc Anthony, and the track also appeared on Tina Arena's album In Deep (1997).

No later than 1996, Jim Steinman worked on a movie musical titled Bat Out of Hell 2100. This was a predecessor to Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, and it built upon the storyline of Steinman's Neverland  musical from the 1970s. This movie was not made. A script for Bat Out of Hell 2100 was leaked, and has been available among fans on the internet. Steinman also made demos for Bat Out of Hell 2100. Those include Kyle Gordon a.k.a. Scarpia singing "All Revved Up With No Place To Go" with an alternate lyric,  Ellen Foley singing a song titled "City Night", and Marcus Lovett singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart". "City Night" incorporates material from "Come With Me" from Tanz der Vampire and Dance of the Vampires, which uses the melody from "New Orleans is Comin' To Me" from The Confidence Man and "The Future Ain't What It Used To Be". Recordings of all three of those demos have been leaked and circulated among fans on the internet.

Jim Steinman provided lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Whistle Down the Wind, which opened in Washington, D.C. in December 1996. However, it received poor reviews and the Broadway run, scheduled for the following April, was cancelled. A reworked and more successful West End production opened at the Aldwych Theatre on July 1, 1998.

In addition to a full-length cast album for the London production, an album was released of well-known performers singing pop versions of the songs from the show. This album was produced by Jim Steinman, as usual with Steven Rinkoff. Those performers include Tom JonesTina ArenaBoyzoneElaine Paige, Donny OsmondThe Everly BrothersMeat LoafBoy GeorgeSounds of BlacknessBonnie TylerMichael Ball, and Lottie Mayor.

One track, "No Matter What" performed by Boyzone, reached the peak position on the pop charts in many countries.  The same track appeared on a Boyzone album and their greatest hits album. As of 2019, Boyzone's 1998 recording of "No Matter What" is the most recent new song or project written at least in part by Jim Steinman, or to contain any new work of his at all, to achieve major, chart-topping success. The track "Whistle Down the Wind", performed by Tina Arena, from the same album, also had some chart success. There was also a single released in the UK for charity, of children from Red Hill Primary School and Sylvia Young Theatre School performing "When Children Rule The World". The singers were named the Red Hill Children, and the single peaked at No. 40 on the UK singles chart.

Tanz der Vampire (Dance of the Vampires), opened in Vienna, Austria on October 4, 1997. The show was adapted from Roman Polanski's movie The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), and initially directed by Polanski himself. It won six International musical awards, at the International Musical Award Germany (IMAGE 1998), in Düsseldorf. There have been translated productions of Tanz der Vampire in Estonia, Poland, Finland, Hungary and Japan. Many of the various productions of Tanz der Vampire have had cast recordings released, some of them produced by Jim Steinman, along with other co-producers. Like much of Steinman's work, the show includes adaptation (or, recycling) of material Jim Steinman had released before. This includes the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart", the melody of "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are", and many other parts of earlier works.

Ten previously released Jim Steinman songs were included on the 2-disc compilation album The Very Best of Meat Loaf (1998). The included recording of the song "Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back" was a new remix made by Steinman's production team. The compilation also included three new recordings of songs co-written by Jim Steinman, all three of which he produced. They include the hybrid track "Home By Now/No Matter What" and "A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste" from Whistle Down the Wind. Also included is the song "Is Nothing Sacred", on which Jim Steinman wrote music for Don Black's lyrics.

Source: Wikipedia

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