Jim Steinman (1947-2021): a Musician from Hewlett, New York, USA.
orn in 1947 in New York but raised in California, James Richard Steinman would form his first band in high school under the moniker Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy in 1974, shortly after then penning the off-Broadway musical More Than You Deserve. After meeting Meat Loaf, who was applying for a role in that very same stage play, the pair would tour together and re-settle in New York City.
Forming a working relationship, he and Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday), would collaborate on the massively popular Bat Out Of Hell album. Produced by Todd Rundgren and released under Meat Loaf's solo name in 1978, the album grew to become one of the biggest selling recordings of all time and helped both Meat Loaf and Steinman to become much desired men in the songwriting and performance fields respectively. But Steinman and Meat Loaf had a falling out of sorts, compounded by Meat Loaf's health (and vocal) illnesses that followed, leaving Steinman to release the follow-up Bad For Good (1981) as a solo debut effort under his own name and featuring musicians Rory Dodd (vocals), Todd Rundgren (production and guitars), E-Street Band members (Roy Bittan (piano), Max Weinberg (drums), more famous for performing with Bruce Springsteen), along with Karla DeVito (vocals), Davey Jonstone (addguitar), Roger Powell (synthesizer), Jimmy Maelen (added percussion), Joe Stefko (drums), Steve Buslowe (bass) and backing vocals by Todd Rundgren/Kasim Sultan/Eric Troyer/Ellen Foley, along with other musical assistance by Larry Fast/Neal Jason/Alan Schwartzberg/Steven Margoshes. The disc made 7 in the UK but only 63 in the US due mostly to the absence of Meat Loaf's vocals for which the music was clearly written. The album was obviously designed to be a Bat Out Of Hell II. Indeed, "Bat Out Of Hell II" it was, with many of the tracks later being re-released with Meat Loaf's vocals in the early '90s for the pair's reunification some 14 (or so) years later on the official Meat Loaf Bat Out Of Hell II: Return To Hell release (although Steinman's songwriting credits appear on Meat Loaf's follow-up Dead Ringer (1981), an album featuring nothing more than left-overs from the Bat Out Of Hell days).
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The Bad For Good effort would be the last for Steinman for sometime, with the exception of left-over spin off singles, as Steinman now turned to the production desk for most of the 1980s including work on Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Holding Out for a Hero hits, with other production credits on Sisters Of Mercy's Floodland set (This Corrosion and More), Barry Manilow's Read 'Em and Weep, Celine Dion's cover of It's All Coming Back to Me Now (originally released by Steinman's own project Pandora's Box), Boyzone's No Matter What, and an aborted collaboration with Def Leppard due to him being fired.
Steinman's bombastic theatrical musings and styles in his songwriting was always evident in his own works, and those he did for others. Although he would try a band again in 1984 under the moniker of Jim Steinman's Fire Inc., producing only a handful of singles, it would not be until 1989 when he re-emerged with an album of his own as Pandora's Box featuring himself with Eddie Martinez (guitar), Elaine Caswell (vocals), Steve Buslowe (bass), Roy Bittan (piano), Jeff Bittan (piano/backing vocals) and Ellen Foley/Deliria Wilde/Gina Taylor/Holly Sherwood/Laura Theodore (all backing vocals) for Original Sin (1989). Despite being praised in the heavy metal press, the album failed to succeed commercially. After his return with Meat Loaf for the hugely popular aforementioned Bat Out Of Hell sequel (merging new material with tracks from both Original Sin and Bad For Good) he was a much sought after producer and songwriter again.
In January 2012, it was announced that Steinman was working with Terry Jones of Monty Python fame on a heavy metal version of The Nutcracker. On June 14th of the same year, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. On April 10, 2012, Amherst College announced that Steinman would receive an honorary degree at the college's 191st commencement on May 20. However, honorary degrees are awarded only in person, and Steinman "had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances". He would receive that degree, a doctorate of humane letters, on May 26, 2013, at the college's 192nd commencement. In April 2013, Meat Loaf said that he and Steinman will collaborate on three new songs to be included on Meat Loaf's album Braver Than We Are (2016). In 2016, Steinman was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
In February 2017, Steinman's Bat Out of Hell The Musical opened for previews at the Manchester Opera House in Manchester, England. The musical then headed to Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre, before finishing in January 2018 to make a return to London in 2018, this time the Dominion Theatre. A cast recording album of the show was released on the 'BOOH' Label, a label created specifically for this album. The album was first distributed in Canada to coincide with the show's run in Toronto.
Although Steinman only ever released one album as a solo artist, he collaborated with many others over his career, including Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Billy Squier and Pandora's Box.
Back in 2004, Steinman had a stroke and temporarily lost the ability to speak. He would have had another stroke four years prior to his death on April 19, 2021 from kidney failure.
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Steinman at Joe's Pub in New York City, 2005.
Photo by: Justin (aka Jsteinfan)
(CC BY-SA 3.0)
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