Goofy lyrics? Overwrought production? Histrionic vocals? Undeniable hooks?
Yes, weâ€™re talkinâ€™ Jim Steinman today, kids.
Would you really be surprised if I told you the writer/producer of such irresistibly schlocky classics like Meat Loafâ€™s â€œBat Out of Hellâ€ album and Bonnie Tylerâ€™s â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heartâ€ 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 â€œBad for Goodâ€, which was originally written for Meat Loaf? â€œRock and Roll Dreams Come Throughâ€ 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 canâ€™t really sing. And a Boris Vallejo album cover? Whatâ€™s not to like? But seriouslyâ€¦please donâ€™t pay attention to the lyrics. Youâ€™ll hurt yourself.
Three years and a few bigger hits written for others (including Air Supply â€“ cringe freely here) later, Steinman went back to his obvious first loveâ€¦an overblown, bombastic rock musical, this one called â€œStreets of Fireâ€. The soundtrack had a huge hit with Dan Hartmanâ€™s â€œI Can Dream About Youâ€, but the true cheese was Steinmanâ€™s studio creation , Fire Inc., over-emoting for more than six minutes (the average Steinman song running time) on â€œTonight Is What It Means to be Youngâ€. 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 Pandoraâ€™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 â€œRock â€˜n Roll Dreams Come Throughâ€.
Download â€œTonight Is What It Means To Be Youngâ€.
Jim Steinmanâ€™s â€œRock â€˜n Roll Dreams Come Throughâ€ peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fire Inc.â€™s â€œTonight Is What It Means to be Youngâ€ peaked at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Buy Bad for Good .
EDIT/ADDENDUM: 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.