Jim Steinman, the composer of Meat Loaf’s classic ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, is dead at the age of 73. The cause of death is believed to be kidney failure, his brother said.
While Meat Loaf was the face and voice of ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, Steinman was its creator.
In 1969 Steinman created his show ‘The Dream Engine’ and while unsuccessful, that show contained the origins of his later hit for Bonnie Tyler ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and the full monologue later used on ‘Bat Out Of Hell’.
The first recording of ‘Heaven Can Wait’ was by Bette Midler in 1972. Her version remains unreleased but it can be heard online. Meat Loaf’s version was on ‘Bat Out Of Hell’.
In 1973 Steinman wrote the musical ‘More Than You Deserve’. One of the actors was Marvin Lee Aday, who would soon be known as Meat Loaf.
Some of Steinman’s latter hits were constructed in the mid 70s. ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’, a hit by Air Supply, was written in 1975 for the film ‘A Small Circle of Friends’. Music from that show would later be compiled to become ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’
The origins of ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ started with a musical Steinman was working on titled ‘Neverland’. ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and ‘All Revved Out With No Place To Go’ would have been part of that production but instead Steinman hooked back up with Aday, from his 1973 production, who was now known as Meat Loaf. Steinman, Meat Loaf and producer Todd Rundgren set to work on what became the classic ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, but even that was uneasy. ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ was originally rejected by every major record label. It was originally released in October 1977 on independent Cleveland International Records. The first radio person to recognize its brilliance was 2JJ Sydney DJ George Wayne who played songs from the album regularly on this radio show and broke the album into the Australian charts before anywhere else in the world.
‘Bat Out Of Hell’ is the biggest selling album of all-time in Australia. It is the only album certified Platinum 25 times by ARIA. ‘John Farnham’s ‘Whispering Jack’ is second with 24 times Platinum.
A follow-up to ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ was planned but Meat Loaf developed voice problems and Steinman recorded the follow-up as his own album ‘Bad For Good’. Barbra Streisand would later have a hit with a song from that album, ‘Left In The Dark’.
Steinman became the hottest songwriter of the 80s. Bonnie Tyler charted wit ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, Air Supply with ‘Making Love Out of Nothing At All’, there was the Streisand song and even Barry Manilow made the Top 40 with ‘Read ‘Em And Weep’.
Tyler would have another Steinman hit in 1984 with ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ from ‘Footloose’.
I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman.
Steinman and Meat Loaf reunited for ‘Bat Out of Hell II’ in 1993. From ‘II’ Meat Loaf had another massive hit with ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’.
There was a ‘Bat Out of Hell III’ in 2006 featuring seven Steinman songs but Jim was not involved in the recording or production of the album. At the time he was in a legal dispute with Meat Loaf over the use of the trademark ‘Bat Out Of Hell’.
In 2017 ‘Bat Out of Hell The Musical’ opened in Toronto. An Australian production was postponed due to covid. It was rescheduled for November/December 2021.
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