Cult Hero: Jim Steinman


The Irish Times, September 21, 2002


On a dark stormy night, untold aeons ago, the gods drew forth and screamed "Let there be Jim Steinman" - and as the thunder flashed, and the lightening roared, the immortal father of the power ballad was born unto this world. A tad over the top, you might say? Nonsense. In the unique universe of Jim Steinman - the pomp-rock virtuoso to end them all - everything usually begins at over the top, then swiftly progresses from there. The creator of such Wagnerian-cum-Spectorian (as in Phil) epics as Total Eclipse Of The Heart, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), It's All Coming Back To Me Now, and Paradise By The Dashboard Light, in Steinman's world the throwaway three-minute pop song simply doesn't exist. In its place, you're likely to find a cod-operatic tale of tumultuous teenage desire, delivered with the urgency of a man plummeting to his eminent demise - and they're just the slow ones. Steinman is the writer, producer and arranger behind one of the greatest phenomenons in musical history, Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell album.

As a scrawny underachiever growing up in Long Island, New York, young Jim decided early that nine-to-five living wasn't for him. Handily enough, legendary theatre impresario Joe Papp happened to catch the futuristic rock musical, The Dream Engine, that the precocious teen had staged during his senior high-school year. Taking the young polymath under his wing, Papp put Steinman to work on a short-lived 1974 show, More Than You Deserve, that would ultimately introduce the mad genius to his unlikely muse, Marvin Lee "Meat Loaf" Aday. Bat Out Of Hell would become the largest-selling debut album in history."Sony says it's more profitable than Thriller, " Steinman noted recently. "And we did it without plastic surgery." Having reunited with slimmed-down soulmate Meat Loaf for the massively successful Bat Out Of Hell II, don't discount another trip to the underworld, either. Trilogies, after all, are very Jim Steinman.




Eclipse Eclipse