Jim Steinman, songwriter and producer for the likes of Meat Loaf, Céline Dion, and Bonnie Tyler, has died. No cause of death has been revealed. Steinman was 73 years old.
Born in New York in 1947, Steinman grew up on Long Island and graduated from George W. Hewlett High School. He got his start in musical theater while studying at Amherst College in the late ’60s, creating and starring in the musical theater production The Dream Engine. Among those who saw The Dream Engine was Joseph Papp, founder of the Public Theater, who introduced Steinman to a young man named Meat Loaf. After working together in the 1973 production of Steinman’s More Than You Deserve, Steinman decided to leave the theater to focus on making music with Meat Loaf. They spent much of 1975 recording a concept album called Bat Out Of Hell, which was released on the small label Cleveland International Records in 1977 and became one of the best-selling albums of all time. Years later, they reunited for the 1993 hit sequel Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, featuring Meat Loaf’s most iconic track ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’.
In addition to his work with Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman released one solo album, 1981’s Bad For Good, and produced Bonnie Tyler’s Faster Than The Speed Of Light, which featured the global hit ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’, one of the greatest examples of what he called his “mythically operatic” style. He also wrote hits for Céline Dion (‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’), Air Supply (‘Making Love Out of Nothing at All’), the Sisters of Mercy (‘More’), and others.
Steinman received four Grammy nominations throughout his career, and won the 1997 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for his work on Céline Dion’s Falling Into You. He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2012 and received an honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters from Amherst College in 2013. A few years later, he fulfilled his dream project of turning Bat Out of Hell into a stage show: Bat Out of Hell: The Musical premiered in Manchester, England in February 2017.
“I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long-term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman,” Steinman’s collaborator Bonnie Tyler said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Jim wrote and produced some of the most iconic rock songs of all time and I was massively privileged to have been given some of them by him. I made two albums with Jim, despite my record company initially thinking he wouldn’t want to work with me. Thankfully they were wrong, and can say without any doubt that Jim was a true genius.”