This week the world lost one of its great rock’n’roll composers. Jim Steinman is most notable as the man behind the bombastic, flamboyant style and operatic feel of Meat Loaf’s legendary Bat Out Of Hell series, but we also think it’s worth mentioning Steinman penned several chart-topping hits for pop sirens the likes of Celine Dion and Bonnie Tyler. Steinman’s body of work is nothing if not illustrious, and undoubtedly heavily influential on several generations of artists and music lovers alike.
Steinman was an eccentric who kept unusual hours, but with good reason. “I just hate the idea that outside, there’s this huge bustling world and all these adults with their responsibilities,” he told the Dallas Morning News in 1994. “That scares me. I like the nighttime, when I can populate a nocturnal wilderness with whatever I want.” His fascination with creating new worlds was certainly influenced by his love of opera, where he flourished in mixing classical grandiose sounds with the sensibilities of teenagers. “I always thought opera was an insane form, like rock ‘n’ roll – very athletic, very extreme and wonderful in its ability to be both thrilling and ridiculous at the same time.” Steinman went on to say, “All the characters in Wagner operas and Verdi operas – the operas that I love – are teenagers, and that’s what makes it so feverish and intense.”
In tribute to Steinman and his brand of “thrilling and ridiculous,” Mike Vanderbilt has compiled this playlist of some of his greatest songs. Please take a listen and join us in remembering the man behind the Bat.