Jim Steinman, the composer, lyricist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who wrote all of the songs on Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, has died, TMZ and Rolling Stone report. A cause of death has not been revealed. Steinman was 73 years old.
Jim Steinman was born in New York in 1947. He grew up on Long Island, graduating from George W. Hewlett High School in 1965 before attending Amherst College and graduating in ’69. As a senior at Amherst, Steinman created and starred in the musical theater production The Dream Engine, which he’s said to have called “a three-hour rock epic with tons of nudity.”
Among the viewers of The Dream Engine was Joseph Papp, founder of the Public Theater, who worked with Steinman to adapt the musical into a show called Neverland, which eventually premiered in 1977. Through his connection with the Public Theater, Steinman came to work with Meat Loaf, who appeared in the 1973 production of Steinman’s More Than You Deserve.
In 1975, Steinman left the theater world to focus on making music with Meat Loaf. Two years later, their collaboration was realized in spectacular fashion with Meat Loaf’s debut Bat Out of Hell, which would become one of the best-selling albums of all time. Steinman and Meat Loaf spent years apart before reconvening for 1993’s hit sequel Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, featuring Meat Loaf’s most iconic song “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Lou Reed is purported to have called the album “the future of where rock should be heading.”
Beyond his work with Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman penned hits for Bonnie Tyler (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”), Céline Dion (“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”), the Sisters of Mercy (“More”), and others. He also released the solo album Bad for Good in 1981.
Steinman was nominated for four Grammy Awards, sharing in the 1997 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for his work on Céline Dion’s Falling Into You. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
One of the final achievements of Jim Steinman’s lifetime was turning Bat Out of Hell into a stage show. Bat Out of Hell: The Musical premiered in Manchester, England in February 2017 and ran at multiple locations over the next couple of years. “This was meant to be a musical,” Meat Loaf told The New York Times. “I made it a rock show. Jimmy turned it around and made a musical. That’s what he wanted it to be.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Bonnie Tyler remembered her late collaborator: “I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long-term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman,” she told RS. “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.”