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Legendary Rock Songwriter Jim Steinman, Bat Out of Hell Composer, Passes Away

April 20, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Jim Steinman Bat OUt of Hell

The world has lost a legend among songwriters as Jim Steinman, known for his work with Meat Loaf and several other iconic stars, has passed away. TMZ reports that Steinman passed away on Monday. The deteails and cause of death are unclear, but the site reports that there was a medical call to transport a male patient from his home at 3:30 AM on Sunday. Steinman was 73.

For most people, Steinman is best known for his collaborations with Meat Loaf. Steinman penned the whole of the rock singer’s Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell albums, but he also wrote several other megahits for the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Sisters of Mercy, Celine Dion, Air Supply, and more. He got his start in music, to no surprise, in the theater where in 1968 he began contributing music for stage adaptations at Amherst College, where he was studying. He wrote his first full musical, The Dream Engine, at Amherst in 1969. That musical contained elements that would later be heard in some of his hits, including the full dialogue opening for Meat Loaf’s “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night).”

Steinman would go on to delve deeper into music, with the then-little known Bette Midler singing an early demo of his track “Heaven Can Wait.” His first commercially-released song was “Happy Ending” on Yvonne Ellman’s Food of Love in 1973, and it was soon after that he met Meat Loaf who was performing in a musical Steinman wrote. That meeting would turn into a collaboration that would launch both of their careers with Bat Out of Hell, an album that came out of material for a Peter Pan-inspired musical titled Neverland. Despite being rejected by many labels, Bat Out of Hell became a smash hit when it released in 1977, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all-time with over 50 million copies sold to date.

Steinman was a relative rarity among songwriters who don’t perform their own music in that the majority of his works were written to be full albums and not one-off contributions to albums. (He did release his own studio album, Bad for Good, in 1983 which was intended for Loaf but he had developed vocal problems). Steinman wrote the full albums for several Meat Loaf efforts including Bat Out of Hell, 1981’s Dead Ringer, the singer’s 1993 comeback album Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, and 2016’s Braver Than We Are.

Bat Out of Hell II was as unlikely a success as its predecessor, being released during the rise of grunge music and other gritty related genres of rock. Back Into Hell hearkened back to an older era, and was being released by a singer who legitimately hadn’t had a hit album since the first Bat Out of Hell. Loaf’s vocals and Steinman’s songs were an undeniable match though, and the album sold 14 million copies to revive Meat Loaf’s career. Steinman and Loaf would have various personal issues and legal battles over the years, but they always came back together. In addition to the above full albums, Steinman wrote songs for Meat Loaf’s 1985 album Bad Attitude, the 1995 LP Welcome to the Neighbourhood, and the third album in their trilogy, 2006’s Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.

In addition to his work with Meat Loaf, Steinman produced and partly composed full albums for Bonnie Tyler in Faster Than the Speed of Night — which included the iconic “Total Eclipse of the Heart” — and Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, both in the 1980s. He also wrote the 1989 Pandora’s Box album Original Sin.

Wrestling fans are also familiar with Steinman’s work thanks to WWE. Steinman wrote “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” on The Wrestling Album. Other major hits he composed or produced include Sisters of Mercy’s “This Corrosion,” “Dominion/Mother Russia,” and “Vision Thing;” Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All;” and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and many, many fans of Mr. Steinman. Rock music and pop music wouldn’t the same without him.

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Jim Steinman, Jeremy Thomas