Goofy lyrics? Overwrought production? Histrionic vocals? Undeniable hooks?
Yes, we’re talkin’ Jim Steinman today, kids.
Would you really be surprised if I told you the writer/producer of such irresistibly schlocky classics like Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” album and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” started out writing musical theater? Me neither.
Would you be surprised if I told you Jim had a hit of his own from an album called “Bad for Good”, which was originally written for Meat Loaf? “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” was a minor hit nationally, but HUGE regionally, especially in the Midwest. WGCL and CKLW played the crap out of this song. And why not? It sounds like a Meat Loaf song, only sung by a guy who can’t really sing. And a Boris Vallejo album cover? What’s not to like? But seriously…please don’t pay attention to the lyrics. You’ll hurt yourself.
Three years and a few bigger hits written for others (including Air Supply – cringe freely here) later, Steinman went back to his obvious first love…an overblown, bombastic rock musical, this one called “Streets of Fire”. The soundtrack had a huge hit with Dan Hartman’s “I Can Dream About You”, but the true cheese was Steinman’s studio creation , Fire Inc., over-emoting for more than six minutes (the average Steinman song running time) on “Tonight Is What It Means to be Young”. Diane Lane does a good job lipsynching this in the flick, but the real vocalist was named Holly Sherwood, who got the privilege of working with Steinman again in 1989 on a new project called Pandora’s Box that sold about 43 copies.
I kid the Steinman, but you know what? I own both CDs, so what does that say about me?
Yes, I am gay.
Download “Rock ‘n Roll Dreams Come Through”.
Download “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young”.Jim Steinman’s “Rock ‘n Roll Dreams Come Through” peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fire Inc.’s “Tonight Is What It Means to be Young” peaked at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Buy Bad for Good
Buy the Streets of Fire soundtrack
I can't believe I did a whole post on Jim without giving him total props for his epic production on the Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" and "Dominion/Mother Russia" - two examples of where bombast not only works, but excels.