Famed Composer, Lyricist Jim Steinman Dies At 73
Jim Steinman, who won a Grammy for his work on a Céline Dion album and was the creative genius behind the iconic Meat Loaf album Bat Out Of Hell, died Monday in Connecticut. He was 73.
A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
The New York-born composer, lyricist and producer is responsible for a long list of enduring hits – notably Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” Air Supply’s “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
Steinman’s greatest success, though, came from 1977’s Bat Out Of Hell (“Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”) and 1993’s Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which spawned “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
In a 2017 interview with iHeartRadio.ca – one of the rare ones he gave in his latter years – Steinman called Bat Out Of Hell timeless.
“I don't know why it is, it just is. It belongs to the young and there's always a new crop coming up and joining those of us that age but refuse to get old,” he said. "Yes, I am appreciative but that makes it sound like I'm on the outside analyzing it. The truth is, it's still my album too – I'm in it with them – living it.”
Steinman enlisted Ontario singer Rory Dodd to provide backing vocals on Bat Out Of Hell and used him again to sing the “Turn around bright eyes” line on Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
“That song never goes away,” Steinman told iHeartRadio.ca. “It’s the biggest karaoke song in the world and it's been covered dozens of times,” he said. “It’s one of my children and I'm as proud of it as I am the others. I try not to play favourites but yeah, it's special.”
Steinman's lyrics were often quite dark. “I always laugh when I hear people play ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart' and ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ at their weddings,” he said. “I wonder if it's grim foreshadowing.”
His flare for crafting dramatic songs stemmed from his passions for musical theatre (“It deals with emotions but in an amplified and exaggerated way”) and the work of composer Richard Wagner (“Wagner didn't set limits. He wasn't afraid of excess or in going over the top. Wagner went over the top, opera goes over the top and it's the same curiosity and boundary breaking that inspires me”).
Steinman collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Whistle Down the Wind in the 90s as well as his own musical, Tanz der Vampire. Bat Out Of Hell was turned into a stage musical that had its North American premiere in Toronto in November 2017.
Inducting Steinman into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, Meat Loaf declared: “There is no other songwriter ever like him.”
Listen to music from artists who recorded Jim Steinman songs