Jim Steinman died yesterday, April 19 at 73 years old. He was the songwriter behind many major hit power ballads by artists like Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Air Supply and Céline Dion.
The cause of death hasn’t been revealed. However, medical reports indicate that it may have been sudden, since they received an emergency call to his home in Connecticut at 3:30 a.m. for transport to the hospital.
Steinman is the composer behind Meat Loaf’s rock operas Bat Out of Hell (1977) and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993). They’re the singer’s most popular albums by far, having spawned hits like “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “Bat Out of Hell” and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night).”
Bat Out of Hell is one of the most commercially successful albums of all time, having been certified 14x Platinum by the RIAA for selling well over 50 million copies. Some sources list it in the top three or five best-selling albums worldwide behind others including Michael Jackson’s Thriller and AC/DC’s Back in Black.
He also wrote two of the most popular hits of 1983, Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Both are among those artists’ most popular songs, and are still very well-loved among fans of pop ballads to this day. What’s more, they were on the charts at the same time, with “Making Love” sitting at #2 and “Total Eclipse” sitting at #1 for three straight weeks. Steinman had written and produced several other songs for Tyler across her career, but “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is certainly the most notable due to the extent of its success.
One of Céline Dion’s most memorable songs was also penned by Steinman, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” It was originally recorded by the short-lived rock opera group Pandora’s Box, and Steinman was credited as the band’s keyboardist. Other artists that Steinman worked with include Cher, Def Leppard, Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, Bill Squier and The Sisters of Mercy.
Steinman released a few albums under his own name as well. His album Bad for Good was an ambitious rock opera in true Steinman fashion and featured a minor hit called “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.” In 1984, Steinman also got the reins for his work on the soundtrack for Walter Hill’s neo-noir rock musical Streets of Fire in collaboration with a full band named Fire Inc.
The songwriter first got his start in musical theater as a lyric writer for musicals, which shows through in his music. His plays Whistle Down the Wind and Tanz der Vampire demonstrated his theatrical talent. He was later album to write the entire script, music and lyrics for a musical theater version of Bat Out of Hell, which had a few runs off-Broadway but could never match the massive success of its record album predecessor.