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Jim Steinman

James Richard Steinman is a rock and musical composer; he was born in New York on November 1, 1948.

While he was a student at Amherst College in Massachusetts he wrote the book, music, lyrics and starred in a play named The Dream Engine (1967), about Revolution.The story is set in a distant future, and is about a young boy named Baal.He and his rebel fellows don't accept the restraints of their society. It was quite visionary and ahead of his time. Some themes from Steinman's later song can already be heard here, like the "Turn Around" line in Total Eclipse of the Heart. Joseph Papp[?], founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, saw the play and wanted to bring it to Broadway, but was stopped by the law because the play was much too sexually explicit to be represented in a public place.

From the collaboration with Papp, another musical was born: More Than You Deserve (1974), co-written by Micheal Weller[?]. This marks a very important encounter for Steinman. A young actor from Texas showed up for a part, his nickname was Meat Loaf. The moment Steinman saw him he realized that Meat Loaf was going to be his voice.

In 1977 another musical saw the light (as a workshop[?] in New York), Neverland. Basically a re-write of The Dream Engine, this time more overtly based on J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, but much more of an adult version. Thematically all, or at least most, of Steinman songs and works, can be seen as ongoing parts of his Neverland.

1977 is important for another reason for Steinman. It sees the debut of the album Bat Out of Hell[?], that he had written for Meat Loaf to sing. The album featured music of a bombastic[?] and wagnerian style... not quite the style that used to be a hit in the Seventies! When they starting proposing it to music companies they had a lot of trouble finding someone willing to produce it. But when guitarist Todd Rundgren heard it he immediately decided he wanted to produce the album. They still needed a label and it took them some more time before they finally settled with Cleveland International[?].

The album was released on October 21, 1977. It was not an immediate hit, it was more of a growing one. It soon became the best selling debut album of all times, and it remained so until Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill's release in 1995. It still sells about 200,000 copies per year and has sold an estimated 34 million copies, 16 million in the US alone, becoming one of the top five biggest selling albums of all time. It remained 472 weeks in the UK charts.

In 1981 a sequel album to Bat Out of Hell was ready, but Meat Loaf's voice, after years of continuing tour, was not.Steinman had to sing his songs himself, with the help of backup vocalist Rory Dodd[?], so the album came out with the name Jim Steinman on it.

When Meat Loaf's voice recovered, Steinman was able to give him some songs that were left, and they were collected in the 1981 Dead Ringer album.

The collaboration with Meat Loaf went on hiatus, and Steinman started working on other projects; he produced Bonnie Tyler's Faster Than the Speed of Night, with the hit song, written by Steinman, Total Eclipse of the Heart. At the same time he had written a song for Air Supply[?], titled Making Love Out of Nothing at All, so in October 1983[?], for four weeks in a row, he had two songs at the top of the US Billboard chart: Total Eclipse at number one, and Making Love at number two.

In the following years he wrote songs for Barry Manilow, Fire Inc. (a fake band featuring as lead vocals Rory Dodd, Holly Sherwood[?] and Laurie Sargent, created by Steinman to sing his songs on the movie Streets of Fire[?] soundtrack), Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, and The Sisters of Mercy. Some of the songs sung by these artists were not original, but covers of previously released Steinman songs, like Streisand's Left in the Dark that had already been sung by Steinman himself on Bad For Good.

In 1989, Steinman gathered a group of female singers and formed the one-album band Pandora's Box. Band members were Ellen Foley[?] (who had already sung with Meat Loaf in Bat Out of Hell), Holly Sherwood (former Fire Inc.), Elaine Caswell, Gina Taylor and Jim Steinman himself. They released an album, titled Original Sin, this was a flop in the US, however Steinman is still very proud of it, and it is considered one of his best works both by many fans and critics.

1993 is the year of the big reunion with Meat Loaf. Bat Out of Hell 2 - Back into Hell was a huge hit all over the world. It featured some new songs, and some songs "recycled" from Bad For good and Original Sin, but all of them were written by Steinman.

In the late Nineties Steinman returned to his old love: musicals. He co-wrote with Andrew Lloyd-Webber Whistle Down the Wind that went on stage in the US in 1996, and in London, rearranged in 1998, with much greater success.

The real big musical success though was Tanz Der Vampire (in English Dance of the Vampires), that opened in Vienna, Austria on October 4, 1997. Based on Roman Polanski's movie The Fearless Vampire Killers[?], and directed by Polanski himself, Tanz der Vampire won six International musical awards at the German Award (IMGE 1998) in Duesseldorf. It is still playing in Stuttgart, Germany. An English version opened in on December 9, 2002 in Broadway, but unfortunately it has not been as successful and closed on January 25, 2003.

At the moment Steinman is said to be working on a musical version of Batman.

External Links

  • Dream Pollution (http://www.jimsteinman.com/), by the Rockman Philharmonic, The Jim Steinman Society For The Arts
  • Neverland Hotel (http://www.neverlandhotel.dk/), comprehensive site including biography, discography, news, lyrics and photo gallery.

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