James Richard Steinman (born November 1, 1947 in New York City, New York) (more commonly known as Jim Steinman) is an American rock and musical theater composer. He is notable for having written most of Meat Loaf's hit songs and hits for many other musical artists. His biggest musical successes are an album Bat Out of Hell (1977), sung by Meat Loaf, the Billboard number one singles "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" (1983), sung by Bonnie Tyler and "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" (1993) sung by Meat Loaf, and a German musical Tanz der Vampire (1998).
The Dream Engine (1969)
While he was a student at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Jim wrote the book, music, and lyrics for The Dream Engine (1969), a musical about revolution. The story, set in the distant future, is about a young boy named Baal who, along with his rebel fellows, doesn't accept the restraints and limits of their society. Baal is the leader of a group of wild boys called The Tribe, whose mortal enemies are Max and Emily, the parents of the Girl, a young woman with whom Baal has fallen in love. Steinman himself played Baal in the original production, which was staged in the Spring of 1969. Critics hailed the musical as visionary and ahead of its time. Its Steinman-composed tagline said it all: "Makes 'Hair' look like 'Hello Dolly.'" Some themes from Steinman's later songs can already be heard here, like the "Turn Around" line in Total Eclipse of the Heart. This show was remade 8 years later as Neverland (see below).
Joseph Papp, founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, saw the play and was so impressed he signed it up during intermission. He 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.
More Than You Deserve
From the collaboration with Papp, another musical was born: originally titled "Souvenirs," it became More Than You Deserve (1974), co-written by Michael Weller. In 1974, Papp was producing a show; the author, Weller, said he was interested in adding a song or two to the show. Papp hooked up Mr. Weller with Steinman. Steinman had other ideas though. He envisioned a full blown Broadway musical, and pretty soon he had his way, with Jim writing the music and collaborating on the lyrics with Mr. Weller.
It was during the auditions for this show that history was made. This marks a very important encounter for Steinman. A young actor from Texas whose biggest show to date had been Hair showed up for a part in Jim's new show and tried out; his nickname was Meat Loaf. After hearing him sing a song from his album Stoney & Meatloaf called (I'd Love To Be) As Heavy As Jesus, they were so impressed that they gave him the script and asked him to tell them which character he would like to play. He surprised them all by picking Rabbit, a not too bright soldier who believed he was helping send his fellow comrades home by blowing them up with hand grenades and other ammo. The moment Steinman saw him, he realized that Meat Loaf was going to be his voice.
The story is set in Vietnam during the war in a non-combat camp run by a commander who is impotent and who falls in love with a reporter sent to cover the camp, who turns out to be a nymphomaniac when she is gang raped by the other soldiers in the camp. However, she realizes at the end that she will be even happier giving up her new found lust for sex to settle down with the impotent commander.
In 1977 another musical saw the light (as a workshop in Washington, DC, and 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, although it's questionable how much this 1977 version has in common with Steinman's finished concept of Neverland. Thematically all, or at least most, of Steinman songs and works, can be seen as ongoing parts of his Neverland. Meat Loaf has joked about this, claiming "He (Steinman) thinks I'm Tinkerbell!"
The Meat Loaf Saga
Bat Out of Hell
1977 was important for another reason for Steinman, as it saw the debut of the album Bat Out of Hell, that he has recorded with Meat Loaf as lead singer.
The album featured music of a bombastic and Wagnerian style, not quite the style that was considered hit material in the Seventies. When they started proposing it to music companies they had a lot of trouble finding someone willing to produce it. They still needed a label and it took them some more time before they finally settled with Cleveland International Records.
The album was not an immediate hit but soon grew to become one of the best selling albums of all time. And Billboard's top 10 hit included "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad".
Bad for Good
In 1981 a sequel to Bat Out of Hell was ready, but Meat Loaf's voice, after years of continuous touring, was not, so Steinman decided to sing on the album himself, as he had wanted to do a solo album anyway. Steinman and Todd Rundgren co-produced every track except "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through", which was co-produced by Steinman and Jimmy Iovine, who later headed Interscope Records. The album was released as Bad for Good. The album produced one hit, "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through," which rose to position 32 on the Billboard charts in a six-week run in July 1981.
LP pressings of the album included, as a bonus, the tracks "The Storm" and "Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through" as a separate 7" inch single. The single's sleeve included a run down of who played what where. According to those credits Rory Dodd did lead vocals on both "Lost Boys and Golden Girls" and "Surf's Up". However, he's not credited on "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (which is odd since it's obviously him doing those high pitched notes). Steinman appeared in a music video for the song, lip-synching to (pressumably) Dodd's vocals.
The song "Left in the Dark" was later recorded by Barbra Streisand on her album "Emotion" (Steinman produced the track) and released as single EP.
When Meat Loaf's voice recovered, Steinman gave him some songs he had left over from Bad for Good, and they were collected in the 1981 Dead Ringer album. Meat Loaf later re-recorded some of the other tracks which were on the Steinman album as well, and also had a hit with "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through."
Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell
During Christmas, 1989, Steinman made a visit to the home of Meat Loaf. Both Steinman and Meat Loaf began talks for a new collaboration. After several years worth of work, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell was released in 1993. The album skyrocketed to #1 in 20 countries. Sales for the album topped 11 million worldwide. The album returned Meat Loaf to prominence in the music industry and resulted in a massive tour. Among the new songs featured on the album, "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" went on to become a top selling single. As was the case with previous Steinman records, most of the songs featured were "recycled" from Bad For Good and Original Sin, but all of them were written by Steinman.
Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose
Meat Loaf is working on Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. According to Jim Steinman, he and his engineer Steve Rinkoff are "not involved with anything resembling Bat 3." Jim is instead working on a new album with a group he is forming called The Dream Engine.
The trademark to the phrase "Bat Out Of Hell" for CDs and music is owned by Jim Steinman, but Meat Loaf is being allowed to release an album using that name. Meat Loaf has recorded and marketed the album called "Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose" without Steinman's involvement in the project. The album will have fourteen songs, seven of which are written by Jim Steinman. Five of those seven songs have already been released on other albums, and the other two are adapted from a musical Mr. Steinman wrote years ago, which was cancelled. That musical was based on the "Batman" comic book series.
The Other Children
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. Steinman is said to be the only musician that has achieved this on the Billboard list. In April of 1983 Faster Than the Speed Of Night was the No.1 Album on the UK music charts. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" shot straight into the UK album charts at No.1, making Bonnie the first ever female artist to have achieved this, earning a Guinness Record. Bonnie earned herself a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Three years later Steinman produced and contributed songs to a second Bonnie Tyler album, Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire.
In 1984, Steinman created Fire Inc., which was a "fake band" with the sole purpose of singing his songs on the movie Streets of Fire's soundtrack. The band featured Rory Dodd, Holly Sherwood and Laurie Sargent as lead vocals. Despite a minor chart entry with "Tonight is What it Means to Be Young", the Fire Inc. songs were a commercial flop, however his fans have persisted with loving them and they have been covered by several artists after that. 
In the following years, Steinman continued to write songs for artists like The Sisters of Mercy. Others, like Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow and Celine Dion, sang covers of earlier Steinman works, widely considered inferior to the originals by Steinman fans. For example, Streisand featured a cover of "Left in the Dark" from "Bad for Good" on her 1984 release Emotion (and also filmed her first-ever video to promote the song). Manilow's version of "Read 'Em And Weep" topped the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks earlier in 1984. Dion's take on "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" was a U.S. #2 Pop and #1 AC hit in 1996.
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 played Wendy in 1977's Neverland workshop production and sung with Meat Loaf in Bat Out of Hell), Holly Sherwood (former Fire Inc.), Elaine Caswell, Gina Taylor and Jim Steinman himself.
The album was released along with a video, directed by Ken Russell, for "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (later covered as a hit by Céline Dion), but a planned tour was scrapped. The album was not released to the United States originally. Sales for the album were modest, though Steinman continues to be very proud of it. Many fans and critics consider it one of his best works. The track "Original Sin" was recycled and featured prominently in the musical show "Tanz der Vampire." The album's final track "The Future Ain't What It Used to Be" was re-recorded for the MTV movie of "Wuthering Heights" starring Erika Christensen.
In 1994, singer Taylor Dayne covered a slightly reworked version of "Original Sin" on the soundtrack of the movie version of The Shadow. Meat Loaf also covered "Original Sin" on his 1996 album Welcome To The Neighborhood.
In the late Nineties Steinman returned to his old love: musicals.
Whistle Down the Wind
He wrote lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Whistle Down the Wind" that went on stage in the US in 1996, and in London, rearranged in 1998, with much greater success. Many of the songs from "Whistle Down the Wind" were recorded by performers popular in Great Britain and released on a theme album in the U.K., produced by Jim Steinman. The title track, performed by Tina Arena became a minor hit, but another number, "No Matter What," was recorded by pop group Boyzone, and became a huge international hit, later appearing on the soundtrack to the film Notting Hill (US version ending. Other country's were Charles Aznavour's "She"' sung by Elvis Costello).
Tanz der Vampire
Steinman's big musical success, though, was "Tanz der Vampire" (in English: Dance of the Vampires), which opened in Vienna, Austria on October 4, 1997. From the day of the world premiere, to January 7, 1999, Steve Barton embodied the leading role of Graf von Krolock here.
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 International Musical Award Germany (IMAGE 1998), in Düsseldorf. The musical has been playing in Stuttgart Germany from March 31, 2000 until August 31, 2003 and in Hamburg, Germany from December 7, 2003 until January 22nd 2006. And start December 16 2006, Berlin.
However, about 70% of the musical score written by Steinman was recycled from his earlier projects, mainly from his less-known shows like "The Dream Engine" and "The Confidence Man", although it also features music from his widely known records like Total Eclipse Of The Heart (remade as Totale Finsternis) and the melody, but not the lyric from a "Bat Out Of Hell 2" song called "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" (remade as "Die Unstillbare Gier").
The English version opened on October 16, 2002 on Broadway in a new production without Polanski, directed by Urinetown's John Rando. This production had a new script, written primarily by David Ives, that was very different from that of the German show, featuring a lot of jokes. The humor received some laughter, and also much criticism. The English version borrowed a lot from Steinman's lyrics for his previous English versions of his songs. It was critically lambasted and closed on January 25, 2003 after 117 performances. The work of lead performer Michael Crawford, who had played the lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" in the 1980's, was reviewed particularly harshly. To date, it is the biggest financial flop in Broadway history, losing roughly 17 million dollars, easily eclipsing the infamous Carrie (based on the film of the same name). Rumor has it that Steinman did not attend opening night as a showing of dissaproval for the project.
The Dream Engine (2006)
Along with co-producer and engineer Steven Rinkoff, Steinman has created a music performance group called The Dream Engine. TDE features Rob Evan and Adrienne Warren as lead vocalists. It also features Elaine Caswell and Neal Coomer on vocals, Steve Margoshes on piano, Alex Skolnick on guitar, Adam Ben-David on keyboards, Matt Zebrowski on drums, and Mat Fieldes playing bass. Nicki Richards was originally a backup vocalist for TDE, but left, reportedly because she was offered a chance to sing on a Madonna tour instead.
TDE has been recording its debut album in 2006. At the group's official website, it is written that:
"We have nearly finished recording and mixing versions of the songs: What Part Of My Body Hurts The Most, Safe Sex, We're Still The Children We Once Were, Is Nothing Sacred, Braver Than We Are and (It Hurts) Only When I Feel."
Regarding other songs TDE might release, the website says:
"Songs from the Steinman catalog, including Not Allowed To Love, In The Land Of The Pig (The Butcher Is King), Speaking In Tongues, Confessions, Seize The Night, The Future Ain't What It Used To Be and others, have also been recorded/demo'd and are in various stages of completion/consideration. We also recently recorded a track of Nowhere Fast for possible use in a television show, so we'll try to get that released sometime as well."
Future Projects, Other Than The Dream Engine
Other than The Dream Engine, Steinman appears to have at least three major projects on which he is working, at varying stages of development.
Bikers Of the Round Table : According to the Dream Pollution website, Steinman is working on an animated television series called "Bikers of the Round Table" which Steinman created and that will feature his music. He is to be Executive Producer of the show. The show is associated with Disney TV, and is to air on the new Jet-X channel.
He wrote that this show will be "containing up to 15 songs, at least, from BAT1 and BAT2". BAT1 and BAT2 are references to the Meat Loaf albums "Bat Out of Hell" and "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell". Steinman also said that his new song "We're Still the Children We Once Were" will be featured in the show when he wrote:
"BTW, "We're Still The Children We Once Were" is in there too."