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The Lord of Excess
October 14, 2011 7:04 PM   Subscribe

"I've been called over the top," Steinman says. "How silly. If you don't go over the top, you can't see what's on the other side." James Richard Steinman is best known for his collaborations with artists such as Meatloaf (Paradise by the Dashboard Light,) and Bonnie Tyler Total Eclipse of the Heart. His songs have been covered by artists such as Barbara Streisand(Left in the Dark - here's Steinman's original.) Barry Manilow (Read 'Em and Weep, here performed by Meatloaf) Air Supply (Demo with Rory Dodd on vocals) And of course, many of us have seen the “literal versions of his videos for Making Love out of Nothing At All, I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) Total Eclipse of the Heart, inspired by his flamboyant, theatrical style, which does lend itself to parody. But of course, there is much, much more.

*Steinman wrote and produced two songs from the Sisters of Mercy’s album Floodland:
This Corrosion ofDominion/ Mother Russia
*He also produced Billy Squier's album Signs of Life (which included the hit Rock Me Tonite.

* In the late 1980s, Steinman put together a girl group called Pandora's Box, which included, performers whom he had worked with on prior projects , including Fire, Inc.( Nowhere FastTonight is What it Means to be Young) In 1989, they released the album Original Sin, which included the song It's All Coming Back to Me Now (with Steinman's monologue "Teenager in Love") which was later famously covered by Celine Dion and for which he won BMI's song of the year in 1998 "I was under the influence of Wuthering Heights," Steinman says of the song. "It's always made much too polite..The scene they always cut out of Wuthering Heights is the scene where Heathcliff digs up Catherine's body and actually dances in the moonlight on the beach with it, and I just think you can't get more extreme, more operatic and more passionate than that, and I was trying to write a song about dead things coming to life, I was trying to write a song about being enslaved and obsessed by love, not just enchanted and happy with it."
More from Original Sin:
Original Sin later recorded with Taylor Dayne for the movie The Shadow
Safe Sex (When it Comes to Loving You)
5.Good Girls Go to Heaven
I’ve Been Dreaming Up A Storm Lately
The Opening of the Box
The Want Ad
It Just Won’t Quit (Performed by Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell II)
13 Pray Lewd
The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be (Performed by Meatloaf on Bat Out of Hell III)

*In 1981, Bonnie Tyler sought Steinman’s services to give her music a more “rock edge. Steinman was enchanted with Tyler's distinctive voice.
The incredible thing is that she never loses it. It's an incredibly supple, powerful, brilliant instrument. But it does have that quality. I mean, it does sound like, y'know, Rod Stewart in the middle of an orgasm."
Steinman and Tyler rehearse Total Eclipse of the Heart
Part 2
(Total Eclipse of the Heart, along with All Out of Love was supposed to be performed by Meatloaf, but his record company did not want to pay for Steinman’s services.)
Faster than the Speed of Night
Loving You’s a Dirty Job (But Someone’s Gotta Do It)
Holding Out for a Hero (some of which was adapted from Steinman's song Stark Raving Love

* In the early 1970s, Steinman worked with an imposing young man named Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf.
...(Joseph)Papp matched Steinman with playwright Michael Weller on a short-lived 1974 musical called "More Than You Deserve," a show most notable for its lead actor, "a great Gothic beast," as Steinman has described Meat Loaf. During auditions, Steinman was enthralled by the singer's performance of "You've Got to Give Your Heart to Jesus." He insisted that Meat Loaf be cast for the show and rewrote the part for him.
Some unreleased demos from More Then You Deserve:
Go Go Go Guerillas
Oh What a War
Give Me the Simple Life (with Meatloaf)
Song of the Golden Egg (sung by Kim Milford)

Steinman's most famous project came about while working with Meat Loaf on a musical entitled Neverland.
In 1977, a brief workshop was held for a work-in-progress musical called Neverland. It was based loosely on Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. While preparing the show, Steinman and Meat Loaf, who were touring with the National Lampoon show, felt that three songs were "exceptional" and Steinman began to develop them as part of a seven-song set they wanted to record as an album.
Some unreleased demos from Neverland:
Heaven can Wait
The Formation of the Pack (http://youtu.be/TwVq-ADbVeo All Revved Up with No Place to Go
Assasins (Who Needs the Young?)
Gods, aka Bolero - recorded in 1973 with vocals by Barry Keating
City Night
Bat Out of Hell
Here performed by Meat Loaf
Live version
Steinman on Todd Rundgren’s guitar solo


The final track for Bat Out of Hell was originally from the musical Kid Champion:
For Crying Out Loud
Bat Out of Hell version Steinman discusses the song here - "I love the lyric where it goes:
And now the chilly California wind/ is blowing down our bodies again/ and we're sinking deeper and deeper into the chilly California sand/ and I know you belong inside my aching heart/can't you see my faded Levi's bursting apart?
I love that. *chuckle* 'Cause it's, it's so blatantly a boner line, and having the gall to give it to Meatloaf..."

Here’s another demo from Kid Champion
Yogi


More from Steinman and Meat Loaf:
Surf's Up
Wasted Youth/ Life is a Lemon (live in Toronto, 1993)
Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Close
On a Hot Summer Night (with Steinman and Karla DeVito)
I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)



*Stenman's most successful musical was probably Tanz der VampireVampires. (based on Roman Polanski's Fearless Vampire Killers . It was originally performed in Vienna in 1997, but has since been produced in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Estonia and Japan.
Totale Finsternis (sound familiar?)
He, Ho, He, and Ewigkeit

Hungarian cast (Vampirok Balja) performing Ewigkeit and Totale Finsternis (Teljes a sötét)
Finale from the 2011 Stuttgart production
Trailer
Official Trailer
However, its success did not reach the USA. A retooled version of the musical was performed on Broadway in 2002 among much drama , and closed as one of the costliest failures in Broadway history
TV ad for the Broadway production
Tanzsaal
Braver Than We Are and The Red Boots Ballet
Death is Such an Odd Thing

*Other musicals
The Dream Engine (1970)
You’ve Got to Love Me With the Sun In Your Eyes Until The Day That You Go Blind


Rhinegold (1972)
Who'd Do The Dirty? - vocals by Andre de Shields

*Assorted 1970s Demos
Train of Love
Heaven Can Wait as sung by Steinman and sung by by Bette Midler)
Water Seller's Song, sung by Barry Keating (1973)
Smoke Song, sung by Barry Keating (1973)

Who Needs the Young (1989)
What Part of My Body Hurts The Most (2006)
Of course, Steinman is quite a performer in his own right as well
Bad for Good
Dance in my Pants
The Storm/ Love, Death, and an American Guitar
Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through (Live version)

About Me
Thats me on the balcony of WAGNER'S HOUSE @ Bayreuth, overlooking Wagner's grave,
where I went and was motionless for 90 minutes, paying silent homage to my idol."


Previously
Previously
Previouslier
More Previoulsly
Most Previously
posted by louche mustachio (90 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whoa. That will take me a while to sig through, good on ye.

And Steinman produced This Corrosion? That explains a lot...
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:07 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or to dig through, as the case may be *sigh*
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:08 PM on October 14, 2011


I now feel this overwhelming urge to ride my motorcycle through a plate glass window into a lightning storm with my hair whipping behind me, knocking candelabras hither and thither, and I have no idea what to do about it.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:09 PM on October 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Fuck. Yes.

Also, don't forget the fabulous Streets of Fire, featuring music by Jim Steinman and Ry Cooder, among others.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:09 PM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


louche mustachio: "I now feel this overwhelming urge to ride my motorcycle through a plate glass window into a lightning storm with my hair whipping behind me, knocking candelabras hither and thither, and I have no idea what to do about it."

Easy, just turn around, Bright Eyes.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:12 PM on October 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes. By all means, if you have more to link, please do. I just had to stop or I was going to expire.


On a canopy bed. With the full moon illuminating my expired frame, wrapped in white silk, and... oh fuck it.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:13 PM on October 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Easy, just turn around, Bright Eyes.

Every now and then I fall apart.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:14 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, don't forget the fabulous Streets of Fire

Oh, yeah, that's up there in the Pandora's Box stuff. And the Previouslies.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:16 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweet Jeebus, how is it that I lived through the 1980s not knowing Bonnie Tyler was Welsh?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:17 PM on October 14, 2011


This FPP should really have been in all caps with sentences interrupted by other sentences halfway and then back again.


Still it's very nice.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:20 PM on October 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


nice post... I'll be up for a while with this one...
posted by HuronBob at 7:21 PM on October 14, 2011


I take medication for that.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:21 PM on October 14, 2011


Wow! Not sure if this is in the link hoard, but I can't think of Total Eclipse of the Heart without picturing Hurra Torpedo's definitive appliance-smashing cover. If you love both Bonnie Tyler and norseman, but loathe kitchen gear, this is your video.

Hurra indeed, sirs.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:23 PM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is so much better than my aborted attempt at a Steinman post that I feel slightly ashamed for having tried.
posted by Trurl at 7:24 PM on October 14, 2011


Holy Fluck! Bat Out of Hell is listed on wikipedia as the Fifth best selling album worldwide
43 freaking million copies.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:32 PM on October 14, 2011


If you love both Bonnie Tyler and norseman,
and butts
but loathe kitchen gear

and underpants...
posted by louche mustachio at 7:32 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I've been called over the top," Steinman says. "How silly. If you don't go over the top, you can't see what's on the other side."

Oh, Jim, I am so refreshed to see that you torture metaphors all the time, and not just in your lyrics.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:34 PM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jim, can I have just one one month of your ASCAP/BMI checks?
I promise I'll do good with the money.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:37 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, Jim, I am so refreshed to see that you torture metaphors all the time, and not just in your lyrics.

I highly recommend the interview clips if you want to see more of Jim Steinman... torturing.

Speaking of which, one of them is missing - The "Box" link above is supposed to go here. Watch and be amazed.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:43 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Steinman wrote and produced two songs from the Sisters of Mercy’s album Floodland:
This Corrosion of Dominion/ Mother Russia


I...what...? Yes, that does explain a lot, actually.
posted by Jimbob at 7:44 PM on October 14, 2011


2 out of 3 links ain't bad.
posted by davebush at 7:46 PM on October 14, 2011


I love Jim Steinman, and this is a fabulous post.

We would be remiss, however, to forget about Lovecraft in Brooklyn's post from two days ago, which dealt specifically with Steinman's semi-lost "Batman" recordings.
posted by koeselitz at 7:46 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(That's just a little lower-case "previously," as the earlier post does not in any way detract from this epic and wonderful celebration of Steinmanalia in all its grandeur.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:47 PM on October 14, 2011


(Argh, you already mentioned that. Never mind me, I'll just be over here listening to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" one more time.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


1985, Barry Manilow is doing his Paradise Cafe tour. I'm completely stoked to have tickets to see him in my hometown. The show is in the round, and the local (rather tiny) arena has 13,000+ packed in for the in-the-round concert.

Barry is sparkling and personable and does all those magical things he typically does which make him one of the best living live acts today.

And then he does Read 'Em And Weep. And it's one of the most astounding performances of any song I've ever seen. By the end of it, I'm crying, everyone around me I can see is crying, even Barry himself has tears running down his face as he sings the final chorus.

The song ends, and the show stops for a standing ovation. For 10 minutes.

Yes, that's right, 10 full minutes of non-stop standing ovation. Try clapping for that long sometime. It's nearly impossible, but the crowd simply would not stop, and for good reason.

Barry completely lived that song while he performed it, and he took all of us on the emotional journey with him. An emotional journey which had all of us swimming in the pool of nearly lost love and begging for it to come back and renew itself.

There literally wasn't a dry eye or cheek as I looked around during the applause, and Barry knew that it was an astounding moment of connection, and he didn't do anything to stop the applause or try to move the show forward. He simply basked in the return of the emotion through the crowd, and thanked us repeatedly for our appreciation of what he had shared.

When it finally ended, he was wiping his face dry (as was everyone else in the house), and he said "I have to thank Jim Steinman for writing that song. It's one hell of a tune, isn't it?"

And the crowd erupted again.

I've never EVER witnessed anything like it before or since. It's truly one of the highlights of my concert-going life, and I have to thank Barry and Jim and the musicians on stage that night for making it happen. That song will always mean so much to me, and not due to any studio recording. I've looked and have never found anything so powerful in any of them. But for that one night, it was the most profound thing in the world.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on October 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


I haven't managed to find a working link yet.
posted by Naberius at 8:05 PM on October 14, 2011


Hang on, I think I need someone to hope me.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:09 PM on October 14, 2011


Awesome post.

May I just throw in Meat Loaf and Cher doing his "Dead Ringer For Love"?
posted by codswallop at 8:17 PM on October 14, 2011


(I've sent a message to The Mighty Mods. Hopefully that will resolve the borkedness.)
posted by louche mustachio at 8:18 PM on October 14, 2011


I was considering making a Jim Steinman post as my first post, but looks like I sat on my hands too long. Good work!
posted by psp200 at 8:26 PM on October 14, 2011


"Can't you see my faded Levis / Bursting apart?"

Best. Lyric. Evar.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:28 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's over the top. Beats being boring.
posted by jonmc at 8:30 PM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's over the top. Beats being boring.

Great. Now I want Pet Shop Boys to do an album of Steinman songs.
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


For the love of God, no.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 PM on October 14, 2011


don't forget the fabulous Streets of Fire,

I love that movie more than i probably should. Just something about it, i keep wanting more in that universe.

Also, holy hell OP, how long did this take? (in a good way), honestly this is why i love metafilter, when people do posts like this, that i can just wade into for a long time. Not that i don't sometimes enjoy the one or two link posts, but it's ones like these that just set metafilter apart from the other sites, things i wouldn't have ever wondered about, but now am very interested in. For example, from Sisters of Mercy to Meatloaf and Total Eclipse of the Heart??? That kind of blows my mind.
posted by usagizero at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rundgren had a huge hand in the making of Bat Out of Hell, and Steinman has acknowledged that over and over.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:46 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather than "over the top," I've always thought of him as dramatic, or heck, maybe even "harmonically confident."
posted by rhizome at 8:51 PM on October 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I knew he wrote songs I didn't like. Now I just learned he wrote songs I do like. I feel like I just lost The Game.
posted by sourwookie at 8:52 PM on October 14, 2011


I'd do anything for Metafilter, but I won't watch that.

(Yes, I will).
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:59 PM on October 14, 2011


For the love of God, no.

Oh hell, yes.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somehow I didn’t know about "This Corrosion", I knew he wrote and produced "More" on Vision Thing which sure sounds like one of his songs.
posted by bongo_x at 9:08 PM on October 14, 2011


I think he only produced "This Corrosion" -- Eldritch wrote it.
posted by escabeche at 9:42 PM on October 14, 2011


(All the links are fixed! Thanks for being awesome, Mods.)
posted by louche mustachio at 9:43 PM on October 14, 2011


Oop, you're correct, Escabeche- Eldritch wrote it and had recorded it previously. More was co-written and co-produced by Steinman and Eldritch.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:47 PM on October 14, 2011


The fact that he wrote songs for both Barry Manilow and The Sisters of Mercy is kinda missing with my head, right now.

Songwriting is a talent that's really disappeared in the last few decades, no? I mean there are definitely "songwriters" around now, writing the Beyoncee RnB shit. But no-one gives a shit who they are, I can only assume because they do such a bad job. There's no modern-day Burt Bacharach. Shit, there's not even a Stock Aitken Waterman.
posted by Jimbob at 10:17 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy Fluck! Bat Out of Hell is listed on wikipedia as the Fifth best selling album worldwide
43 freaking million copies.


I wish I had remembered to include the part where Clive Davis told Steinman he was a lousy songwriter.


Meat Loaf "almost cracked" when CBS executive Clive Davis rejected the project.[6] The singer recounts the incident in his autobiography. Not only did Davis, according to Meat Loaf, say that "actors don't make records", the executive challenged Steinman's writing abilities and knowledge of rock music:

"Do you know how to write a song? Do you know anything about writing? If you're going to write for records, it goes like this: A, B, C, B, C, C. I don't know what you're doing. You're doing A, D, F, G, B, D, C. You don't know how to write a song... Have you ever listened to pop music? Have you ever heard any rock-and-roll music... You should go downstairs when you leave here... and buy some rock-and-roll records.[11]"

Meat Loaf asserts "Jim, at the time, knew every record ever made. [He] is a walking rock encyclopedia." Although Steinman laughed off the insults, the singer screamed "Fuck you, Clive!" from the street up to his building.[12]

posted by louche mustachio at 11:52 PM on October 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think 43 million in sales worldwide is a pretty excellent "Fuck You."
posted by louche mustachio at 11:53 PM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


For what its worth, there are some people whose writing (be it music or otherwise) is meant for the stage and, while I confess to teasing Steinman for his lyrical excesses a but, he's one hell of a live song songwriter.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:57 PM on October 14, 2011


Will somebody please, please tell me what the "that" is that Meat Loaf won't do for love?
posted by pised at 12:07 AM on October 15, 2011


For those ploughing through the links: the Shadow link above seems broken, should go here instead.
posted by theyexpectresults at 12:15 AM on October 15, 2011


Pised:

from here:

Perceived ambiguity of "that"
Some people misunderstand the lyrics, claiming that the singer never identifies what "that" thing is, which he will not do. Meat Loaf says that the question, "What is 'that'?" is one of the most popular questions he is asked.[5]

Each verse mentions two things that he would do for love, followed by one thing that he will not do. The title phrase repetition reasserts that he "won't do that". Each mention of "that" is a reference to the particular promise that he made earlier in the same verse.[6] In addition, at the song's conclusion, the female vocalist predicts two other things that he will do: "You'll see that it's time to move on" and "You'll be screwing around". To both of these, he emphatically responds, "I won't do that!"

In his 1998 VH1 Storytellers special, he even explained it on stage using a blackboard and a pointing stick.[6] In a 1993 promotional interview, Steinman states that the definition of "that" is fully revealed in the song in each of the several verses in which it is mentioned.

It sort of is a little puzzle and I guess it goes by - but they're all great things. 'I won't stop doing beautiful things and I won't do bad things.' It's very noble. I'm very proud of that song because it's very much like out of the world of Excalibur. To me, it's like Sir Lancelot or something - very noble and chivalrous. That's my favorite song on the record - it's very ambitious.[7][8]

Although Meat Loaf believed that the lyrics were unambiguous, the singer recalls that Steinman predicted that they would cause confusion.[9] An early episode of the VH1 program Pop-up Video made this claim at the end of the song's video: "Exactly what Meat Loaf won't do for love remains a mystery to this day."[10] A reviewer writing for Allmusic commented that "The lyrics build suspense by portraying a romance-consumed lover who pledges to do anything in the name of love except 'that,' a mysterious thing that he will not specify."[3] The reviewer concludes that the mystery is revealed during the closing stages of the song, incorrectly implying that all references of "that" refer to the female vocalist's predictions at the end. Others assume that "that" is a reference to euthanasia or anal sex. In a DVD audio commentary, Meat Loaf indicated that the latter of these could be what "that" refers to.[5]

posted by louche mustachio at 12:20 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've long loved the lines from Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad:

You'll never find your gold on a sandy beach

You'll never drill for oil on a city street

I know you're looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks

But there ain't no Coupe De Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box
posted by ambient2 at 12:40 AM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lacks kitchen appliances.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:51 AM on October 15, 2011


It's Saturday night and I'm all revved up with no place to go because I spent $130 on Meat Loaf. I don't regret it. Meat said Jim Steinman was his best friend, and they'd be mentioned on each other's tombstones.
Bat Out Of Hell is the first rock and roll album I ever owned. It's Born To Run: The Movie: The Videogame.
I literally do not understand how something can be TOO 'over the top'. Shouldn't you try and put every drop of emotion you can into a song and lyric?
When I had my last breakdown music like My Chemical Romance and Meat Loaf got me through. Like he sings in Rock and Roll Dreams Come True, "If you hold on to a chorus you can make it through the night'. I BELIEVE this.

'Baby you're the only thing in this whole world that's good and pure and bright'. That line still means something.

My mental fantasy landscape looks like Streets of Fire, Bat Out Of Hell and Jungleland. Car crashes and teen crushes and demons and switchblades. And when I sing I never worry about being 'over the top'.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:36 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I've been called over the top," Steinman says.

Oh, thank the gods; for a moment there I thought he was announcing his impending death.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:36 AM on October 15, 2011


To me, it's like Sir Lancelot or something - very noble and chivalrous.

I really love Steinman (actually, my favourite is Bad For Good, which I'm sure is considered his least good record by many, but I love it, probably even more than Bat Out of Hell), but I'm not sure that banging the boss' wife behind is back is either noble or chivalrous.
posted by Grangousier at 5:10 AM on October 15, 2011


I'm not sure that banging the boss' wife behind is back is either noble or chivalrous.

You're not acquainted with the story of Lancelot, then...
posted by hippybear at 5:15 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, wait. Sorry. That's what you were referring to, not what that song is about.

I'm a bit slow.
posted by hippybear at 5:16 AM on October 15, 2011


This actually begins to approach the intensity of the performance I saw, although it doesn't actually "go there" as much as when I saw him do it. It's at about a 5 when what I saw went fully to 11.
posted by hippybear at 5:44 AM on October 15, 2011


Wow. Fantastic post. I tip my hat to you, sir.
posted by immlass at 6:49 AM on October 15, 2011


Over-the-top excessive post FTW.
posted by phenylphenol at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2011


A couple of related bits -

A post from a little over a month ago regarding the aforementioned Streets of Fire.

And could a post that's so heavy on the Meat Loaf be complete without referencing the best vinyl art ever? (For the uninitiated, that's not the album cover - the art is on the record itself. My wife, a huge fan of Meat Loaf, finally dug one of these up and will be getting it framed.)
posted by azpenguin at 8:09 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bat Out of Hell is yet more proof to add to my giant pile that proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that 1977 is best years of all years and all other years are stupid in comparison to it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:48 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The scene they always cut out of Wuthering Heights is the scene where Heathcliff digs up Catherine's body and actually dances in the moonlight on the beach with it"

Heathcliff did NOT do that. Doesn't seem like Steinman is the sort to let facts get in the way of his extreme! operatic! passion!, though.
posted by HopperFan at 9:05 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw Meatloaf in I guess 1977 - opening for Electric Light Orchestra. I was pretty sure he was going to have a heart attack right there on stage. Such a performer to perform those songs. ELO was pretty good, too.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:18 AM on October 15, 2011


I'm not a Steinman fan, but I was lucky enough to see Neverland at the Kennedy Center's experimental theater space in Washington DC. I was in high school. I don't know how I got there; probably my mother read about it, thought I'd be interested, and bought tickets, or maybe she got them as part of a season.

It was an utterly thrilling experience! I didn't think of it as a rock opera at the time, but that's was what it was, with all the pomp and spectacle the phrase implies. I went back the next week with some friends, and they returned the following week bringing friends of their own. Thus the show became something of a phenomenon at my high school. I remember the opening monologue vividly: "Ketchup - or blood?" Years later the bit about offering your throat to the wolf with the red, red rose ended up on Bat Out of Hell.

I've always wanted to see it again. Last time I checked, Steinman was still talking about making it into a movie.
posted by Greenie at 12:32 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't have time to click them all, so is Cate Blanchett in "Bandits" included in any of the links above?
posted by hwestiii at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Slow, thunderous clap*

I love me some Jim Steinman, thanks for this.
posted by alvarete at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, louche mustachio. You can ride your motorcycle through my plate glass window anytime.
posted by Zed at 4:34 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of my daughter's favorite movies was Anastasia (1997), which has songs by two Broadway songwriters and is mostly very "jazz hands." But there's one number, sung by Rasputin, where they realized they needed a different kind of drama and they brought in Steinman:

In the Dark of the Night
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:51 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't have time to click them all, so is Cate Blanchett in "Bandits" included in any of the links above?

I adore Cate, but no. I actually ended up excising a lot of links in the interest of getting the thing put together and posted.

If anyone has limited time and isn't sure if they will make it through all the links, I highly recommend starting from the bottom (above the Previouslies) and working your way up through the videos that feature Steinman himself and the unreleased demos - those were the most revealing to me and were the point where I started. Skip over the Tanz der Vampire section (you can come back to it later, if so inclined) and check out the demos from Neverland and Kid Champion. A lot of them come from dreampollution, the "authorized but unofficial YouTube channel for Jim Steinman."
That, I think, is the material that is most interesting and revealing. It's a good foundation, and it says a lot about Steinman's aesthetic.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:15 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember the opening monologue vividly: "Ketchup - or blood?" Years later the bit about offering your throat to the wolf with the red, red rose ended up on Bat Out of Hell.

Greenie, there's a two part transcript of the show up on his site.

Part One
Part Two
posted by louche mustachio at 5:21 PM on October 15, 2011


The song Bat Out Of Hell (as performed by Meatloaf) is all the Jim Steinman I've ever really needed. It rocks. It's longer than Stairway To Heaven (and better). It's got a motorcycle solo. In fact, I seem to recall it was my go-to when I got word (way back when, still a teen) that a good friend had killed himself. It quickly filled a great big void.

Thanks for that, Mr. Steinman.
posted by philip-random at 6:19 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I literally do not understand how something can be TOO 'over the top'. Shouldn't you try and put every drop of emotion you can into a song and lyric?

Are you Meat Loaf? Then yes.

Otherwise, very likely not.
posted by escabeche at 6:46 PM on October 15, 2011


Will somebody please, please tell me what the "that" is that Meat Loaf won't do for love?

Answer: Cheat on the girl that he's singing the song too.

This gets cut out of the radio edit, so the confusion is understandable. Throughout the last half of the song, the female vocalist asks him to do things, and he always responds with "I can do that." She eventually says "..and sooner or later, you'll be sleepin' around," to which he finally says "no, i won't do that. I won't do that!"

That's the answer. Cheat. He would do anything for love/sex, but he won't cheat.

I know this is a square answer, but people ask that all the time. Stupid radio edits!
posted by ELF Radio at 7:59 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I literally do not understand how something can be TOO 'over the top'. Shouldn't you try and put every drop of emotion you can into a song and lyric?

Are you Meat Loaf? Then yes.

Otherwise, very likely not.


Explain. I still don't understand the value of restraint.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:52 PM on October 15, 2011


Explain. I still don't understand the value of restraint.

To probably completely mess up something I think Miles Davis said; "The notes you don't play are as important than the notes you do."

Surely you can't deny there are some fantastic, understated, minimalist songs out there?
posted by Jimbob at 12:12 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure there are.

Out there.


But this is the GREAT BIG JIM STEINMAN FPP WITH SMASHING GUITARS AND SCREAMING.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:49 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Surely you can't deny there are some fantastic, understated, minimalist songs out there?

Sure I can. Like John Lennon's 'Mother'. When there are only a few lines you need to yell them even HARDER.
I'm going to write a song that's just yells and the word 'baby'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:44 AM on October 16, 2011


I literally do not understand how something can be TOO 'over the top'.

Sez the man who vehemently dislikes dance-pop (and Lady Gaga in particular). I think if you thought clearly about it, you'd realize that you do understand how someone could dislike a musical performance for being too over the top; it's just that you privilege a different kind of "over-the-top-ness" as a value. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but thinking about it might help you seperate the music from your own identification with it and that perspective might make you a better writer-on-music.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:23 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Explain. I still don't understand the value of restraint.

When I asked if you were Meat Loaf, I intended it as a rhetorical question. Perhaps that was a mistake.
posted by escabeche at 7:49 PM on October 16, 2011


When I asked if you were Meat Loaf, I intended it as a rhetorical question. Perhaps that was a mistake.

I'm not Meat Loaf YET.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:52 PM on October 16, 2011


I'm also not Meat Loaf, although I do encompass him.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:17 PM on October 16, 2011


"I'm not Meat Loaf and neither is my wife."
posted by Meatbomb at 8:18 PM on October 16, 2011


I would do anything for Meat Loaf.
posted by escabeche at 9:26 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even that?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:38 AM on October 17, 2011


Fantastic post. Way to go!! :)
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on October 17, 2011


I totally blame this thread for my recent purchase of Bonnie Tyler's Super Hits.

Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding Out for a Hero are the only good ones.

Still waiting for Original Sin from Pandora's Box.
posted by Zed at 11:56 AM on October 20, 2011


Thanks for this post.
posted by ellenaim at 5:26 AM on October 21, 2011


The "On a Hot Summer Night (with Steinman and Karla DeVito)" link is borked. Here's the fixed link.
posted by BurnChao at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2011


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