“I've been dreaming of mirrors. Millions of mirrors, reflecting people to death.”
“On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”
“Get the hell away from me.”
James Catfish "Jim" Steinman (born November 1, 1948 in a volcano on the outskirts of New York) is a Wagnerian rock and musical theater composer, songwriter, and pyromaniac of immeasurable infamy. He is well know for repeatedly writing about Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, and having an obsession with motorcycles. He is also notable for his 10 hour long Broadway Epics starring Meat Loaf. His infamy spans from his relations with serial killer Celine Dion, 1980s Compilation Christmas Album artist Barry Manilow, and fellow derranged songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber. Over the years, Jim has been responsible for the Bat Out Of Hell series (all 3000 entries), the song Total Eclipse of the Heart and the musical Whistle Down The Wind.
- 1 The Early Years
- 2 The Era of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf
- 3 Total Eclipse of the Charts
- 4 The Golden Age Of Steinman
- 5 Modern Steinman
- 6 Future
- 7 See also
The Early Years
As a songwriter, many thought Jim to be a complete wacko, as his songs are nearly all about impending doom, lust, and motorcycles. The interesting fact few actual know, is that Jim's songs are completely true. Every single song he's written is based on an actual experience of his, as disturbing as that may be. In the late 1950s, Jim's best friend Kenny was killed in an airplane accident. How his brother got a hold of this plane is a mystery, but Jim's life is full of these surprises. Regardless, his father, who happened to be a Terminator sent back through time to kill John Connor, repeatedly beat him with baseballs, blaming him for his favorite son's accident. It was at this time, in the early 1960s, that Jim met future ex-lover Ellen Foley, who changed her name multiple times over the years - In the 1970s, she was Carla Devito, in the 1980s, Cher, in the 1990s, Patti Russo. Despite the name changes, Jim repeatedly attempted to gain her love. Simply kissing her caused Jim to become a mute, unable to speak for days, even months, on end. And on Saturday nights, Jim constantly claimed she was nothing but a lonely girl, though she tried to surround herself with bodyguards, in the hope Jim wouldn't find her. It was in the mid 1960s that Jim was involved in a catastophic motorcycle accident (yes, he had a motorcycle) on his way to meeting with Ellen, ditching another "lonely girl" he found the night before. After witnessing his heart fly off into the sun, and having his body torn and twisted apart, he was eventually found by a traveling gang of Peter Pan enthusiasts, who proclaimed him their leader. After his heart was reattached, albeit now shaped like an eclipsed moon, he started harrassing Ellen again, now donning a leather jacket, long flowy hair, and gloves Michael Jackson would envy. It was now, in 1966, that Jim decided to focus on his education - In other words, his 12 hour long musical about Peter Pan.
Neverland The Musical
In the year 1967, while a student at Ambust College (the exact same college that Mozart never went to) in Hamburg, Jim Steinman wrote the book, music, lyrics, produced, directed, and starred in a musical loosely based on and named after J.M. Barrie's pedophilic tome Peter Pan. The story is set in a distant past, and is about a young boy named Peter. The story is great and all, but the part Jim was interested in was the love interest, Wendy (Jim was unable to get Ellen Foley to play the part, and had to scrap the numerous sex scenes he had written in). Steinman played Peter in the original production.
It was quite visionary and ahead of its time. Some themes from Steinman's later songs can already be heard here, like the "Turn Around" line in Total Eclipse Of The Heart. It was considered extremely shocking for its time since it included nuns and singing, which had up to that time been taboo subjects in theatre. The first 4 hours of the musical contain Jim eating, drinking and sleeping in real time, giving the audience a feel for how deprived the Grope Group are of any interesting things to do.
During its last performance, the well-known drunk Joseph Papp (thrown out of 325,000 bars in New York alone, up to that date) accidentally ended up in the audience and was so impressed (though it might have been the drink, or the crack he had been given by Steinman) that he decided to bring the play to New York. Jim hoped to rename it A Night With Ellen Foley in the hope that peer pressure would force Ellen to accept the job, but Papp ended up renaming it Papp Presents "A Play," a name that proved his genius to Steinman, who had begun to wonder if this guy was just a moron. He wanted to bring it to Broadway, but was stopped by the law because the play was much too sexually explicit to be represented in a public place, not to mention it was lengthened to 24 hours, as Jim wanted to get more sleeping done in act 3.
Several of the songs in the show were recorded by Meat Loaf, a man who would later get the hots for Foley, and trick her into recording the songs for Steinman, who hid in the back room till recording ended.
You Get What You Deserve
After the worldwide success of "A Play," Papp asked Steinman to write songs for a musical named You Get What You Deserve (1974) (which actually gave its audience of cheap bastards exactly what they deserved when thug ushers from Los Angeles beat the pulp out of the half of the audience that didn't pay admission), co-written by Henry Jekyll.
How exactly was he pressured into this second project? In 1974, Papp was producing a second show (originally titled "People Walk on Stage") since he'd blown the royalties from "A Play" on drink; the author, Jekyll, said he was interested in adding a song or two to the show. Papp took this notion as Jeckyll wanting Jim Steinman to rewrite the entire musical in the style of Peter Pan. Steinman accepted, envisioning a full blown Broadway musical of chaos, with fires, murder, and conception going on simultaneously on stage. Pretty soon, he had his way, and You Get What You Deserve was born.
The story is set in Vietnam during the war in a group of men who wish to never grow up, one of whom is named Peter. Steinman wished to take a unique route, and found that the only person for the role of the sexy nurse in act 2 would be Ellen Foley, who refused the project after reading the 8000 page screenplay, which featured her own live murder at the end.
It was during the auditions for this show that history was made. This marks a very important encounter for Steinman, and it wasn't with a hooker. It was here that he first met a large glob of sweat named Marvin Aday, who, for some odd reason, went by the name of Meat Loaf. Jim took an instant liking to him when Loaf commented on the attractive young woman tied to a bench in the waiting room - Ellen Foley. After hearing Meat sing a song from his album Stoned on Meatloaf called (I'd Love To Be) As Bulky As Buddha, Jim was so impressed that he promised not to cut off Loaf's head in act 4, so that they could work later on trying to get Foley to engage in a threesome.
When Loaf sang Steinman's title song, You Get What You Deserve, Jim and the audience were brought to tears, though that may have been due to the smell.
After having worked with Meat Loaf on "You Get What You Deserve" in 1974, Jim Steinman lost track of the band and went on to do his own things - among them, read Peter Pan for a 90th time, build a 70 foot long grand piano in his father's bedroom, and expand "Neverland" to at least another 4000 pages.
In 1975, Steinman recruited several young actors who had no idea who he was and began production of Neverland Revisited, a revival of his "masterpiece," though he was asked to tone it down to 4 hours, and was only allowed to murder three people a night for financial reasons.
The Era of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf
In the year 1976, Steinman was contacted by Meat Loaf, who seemed to be running short on cash, and was eager to hear if Jim had any new projects going on. Steinman told him that Broadway was not ready for their brand of music, but record companies certainly would be. Steinman collected 3 songs from the Neverland revival, and wrote 4 new ones, one specifically as a duet, as to involve Ellen Foley.
Record companies proved unwilling to accept, as they refused to listen to the 30 demo tapes and over 90 hours of footage Steinman wanted to include on the album, so he was forced to travel door to door with Meat Loaf, preforming for anyone in New York who would listen.
After about two years of caroling door-to-door, Meat Loaf asked Steinman to rewrite the 3 hour epic "Paradise With Ellen Foley" to make it a mere 9 minutes, and to rename it "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," as Ellen Foley had dissapeared somewhere in Yugoslavia. They also changed the title from "Jim Steinman's Relations With Ellen Foley" to "Bat Out Of Hell." They were able to convince Todd Rundgren, a man who also had the hots for Foley, to let them make the album on his Playschool Tape Recorder and give him 50% of the earnings if he promised to find and capture Ellen Foley to be included on the album. Rundgren accepted, and found Foley under a new name, Carla Devito. He ushered her into the recording office, where Meat Loaf and Jim were hiding in the ventilation. She recorded all of her vocals, but then noticed the ceiling caving in, and out popped Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. Ellen immediately called for her bodyguards and dissapeared back into eastern Europe, changing her name again - this time to Cher.
Despite it's legnth, incomprehensible mutterings by Steinman, and the scratch and sniff Meat Loaf scent collection released with it at release, Bat Out Of Hell sold 44 Million copies around the world.
Bad For Good
In 1979, Steinman decided to give Meat Loaf another chance to win him the admiration of Ellen Foley, and wrote him a new album titled "Ellen Foley Loves It," but Meat Loaf reminded him that he was now married and had lost interest in Foley. Jim considered murdering Meat Loaf on the spot, but spared his life and decided to sing the album himself. Todd Rundgren was unable this time to find Foley, and was forced to find the next best female singer on the market - Rory Dodd. The revelation that Dodd was actually a man dissapointed Steinman, and the retitled album "Bad For Good" tanked around the world, but holds Steinman's most true-to-life song title, "Dance In My Pants," a direct quote he said to Ellen Foley numerous times.
In 1981, when Meat Loaf chanced upon finding Ellen Foley hiding in England under the name Cher, he contacted Steinman, and in record time, Steinman wrote an 8-song album for the duo of Meat Loaf and Foley titled "Ellen Foley, It's Me Jim Steinman, and I Still Love You." Meat Loaf felt the title was too long and creepy, so he changed it to "Dead Ringer."
Wearing masks, they tricked Ellen into recording vocals for the title song, "Dead Ringer For Love," but when they asked her if she would mind recording the music video in the adjacent bedroom, she caught on that it was them, and fled.
Total Eclipse of the Charts
During the summer of 1982, Meat Loaf asked Steinman if he had any new material. Jim, having already written several new songs about Peter Pan, replied that he did, but couldn't picture them being recorded by a man of Meat Loaf's size; Though he could see them being recorded by a new woman in the music world, Bonnie Tyler, who Steinman spotted on TV, and immediately knew she'd certainly fill the gap Ellen Foley left in his Eclipsed-Moon shaped heart.
Later in 1982, Steinman met with Bonnie Tyler to discuss the play Steinman had written for her: Neverland Revisited Revisited. Tyler asked him if he was insane, and a friendship was born unlike anything Steinman had previously experienced. "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Jim's latest song, skyrocketed to #1 around the world, and Jim finally found success with a person who wasn't drunk, or 350 pounds.
In between sessions with Bonnie Tyler's new album, Jim began noticing a man with feathered hair patrolling around the front of his appartment. The man turned out to be Barry Manilow, who was hard up for songs to sing, as the 80s were not yet half over, and he was already thinking of doing a compilation album featuring the best of them. The result was Steinman handing the rights of "Read 'Em And Weep" over to Manilow. The song climbed the Adult Contemporary/Wierdo charts rather quickly, and became Manilow's pride and joy for a good year, before he wanted to do a "Best Of The 80s" album yet again.
Some jackass in Hollywood decided that his movie would be incomplete without a Jim Steinman composition, and decided to hire him to record two new songs. Running short on time, Steinman collected 4 janitors who happened to be cleaning out the studio bathrooms, and 2 hot ladies he found at a strip bar, and "Fire Inc" was born. Their biggest hit was "Nowhere Fast," a song recorded by Meat Loaf simultaneously to little success. Fire Inc was able to dazzle audiences and take up about 40 minutes of the B-movie it was part of - "Streets On Fire".
The Golden Age Of Steinman
Pandora's Boxing Match
In 1989, Steinman cooked up another method to get into the panties of Ellen Foley, his first attempt in several years. Forming a "band" called Pandora's Box, adding two females known to have a penchant for fighting, two additional female singers, and himself, he formed the concept album Original Sin, based of course off of that one book Jim heard everyone talking about in church when he was busy reading Peter Pan. Steinman served as commentator, generally talking about mirrors and haunting images that wake him up at night, and used the females as a way to convince Ellen he was now a feminist. It didn't work, but Jim was able to assassinate Ellen's bodyguards with the help of the Hulk Hogan-like kickboxing specialists he had hired to work on the album, and Ellen recorded backing vocals and speech in the time Jim was able to convince her his insane followers would do whatever he told them (aside of course from Jim's ultimate goal in life - sex). When Ellen fled the country and changed her name to Patti Russo, Jim moved on with production.
The album was released along with a video, directed by Ken Russell, for "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" (Based on all of the good times Jim can remember stalking Ellen throughout the 1960s and 70s), but a planned tour was scrapped, as Jim refused to perform with any clothes on, because the recording studio was in a nudist colony. The album was not released to the United Kingdom and continues to remain unreleased in that country for reasons still unknown today. Sales for the album were modest, though Steinman continues to be very proud of it. Many fans and critics consider it one of his best works, and best plans ever thought up to get Foley to have sex with him. The track "Original Sin" was recycled and featured prominently in the musical show "Walzer vom Werwölf." The album's final track "This Isn't The Way (That I Used To Pee)" was about the numerous STDs Jim wished he had acquired throughout the years.
Meat Loaf covered "Original Sin" on his 1995 rap crossover album Welcome To The ****ing 'Hood, forcing Ellen Foley to do everything on the album she wouldn't do for Jim, which was quite a numerous list.
Bat Out Of Hell II
During Christmas 1989, Steinman spontaniously decided to give his old pal Meat Loaf a visit. What he found was a man who called himself a vegetarian, and had lost over 200 pounds. He was devestated.
Meat Loaf expressed interest in continuing the "Bat Out Of Hell" series, and told Jim to take his time writing the songs. Jim took this recommendation a little too seriously, and took the next 5 years off. In 1993, Meat Loaf was broke, living in a puddle in Texas, and thinking of changing his name back to Marvin. Jim decided now was the time to reunite the orginal Bat crew, including Todd Rundgren and Ellen Foley, and record a new album. The Witness Protection Program Proved difficult for Steinman to navigate, and Foley's new alias Patti Russo evaded his searching, and he was forced to recruit Rory Dodd yet again. The new album featured the #1 hit "I'd Do Anything For Ellen (I'd Even Do It With Sheep)," and Meat Loaf was put back in the public eye. Jim rejuvinated his confidence after Bat Out Of Hell II and celebrated by running off with Celine Dion, leaving Meat Loaf to fend for himself.
Affair With Celine Dion
In the late 90s Steinman returned to his old love: Women who hated him.
Celine Dion, a woman famous for beating her chest and over-singing every song she's ever been given, accepted Jim Steinman's help on a new album, covering Pandora's Boxing Match's song It's All Coming Back To Me Now. As Barry Manilow eagerly awaited to cover the song yet again for his 1997 compilation Manilow Sings More Songs Others Found Success With, Steinman entered his golden age of fame, winning a Songwriter of the Year award at the Grammy Awards. Dion left him after her brief success in hopes that she could succeed without his help. She couldn't.
Affair With Andrew Lloyd Webber
In 1998, Jim met his idol from the 1970s, the Jesus Christ Superstar and Phantom Of The Opera writer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Hoping that Webber would understand his lyrics and love for Peter Pan, Steinman met with him to talk about a new play, titled Whistle Down The Wind. Although Steinman disliked the title, as it failed to feature Ellen Foley's name, he wanted to write with Webber, and finished production in 1998. The musical failed financially, but features some of Steinman's most down to earth songs - None of which features a motorcycle, well, except one, and only three of them are secretly about Ellen Foley. Despite their work together, Webber moved on in 1999, and Steinman started prospects for a Bat Out Of Hell III.
Bat Out Of Hell III - Jim's Monster Is Loose
In 2001, Meat Loaf revealed at a nightclub show, to an audience of 12, that he'd be working with old friend Jim Steinman on the final Bat Out Of Hell album. When they met to discuss the album, Jim thought Meat Loaf was an imposter, as he had a haircut the year prior (his first since 1958) and had lost a ton of weight. Meat Loaf was insulted that Jim thought he was improving his physique, and decided to do the album alone, well, with the help of former Starship producer Desmond Child. Child proved to be just as creepy as Steinman, with twice the ego, and one tenth of the talent. He wrote one good song for the new album, Blind As A Bat (which Barry Manilow eagerly awaited covering for his Best of the 2000s Volume 18 Collection), and about 6 other sub-par ballads that reminded Meat Loaf very little about his old love for Ellen Foley, who suddenly turned old at some point in the late 90s and lost her attractiveness to Jim or the Loaf. The album sold well in England, but America's inability to tell the difference between the food Meatloaf and the singer Meat Loaf cost him millions of sales. Steinman chuckled quietly in his log cabin in Northern France.
Jim has hinted that Bonnie Tyler caught his eye once again in a TV appearance in 2005, but no progress has been made on an album. Perhaps Tyler told him to Take his time. Barry Manilow has also been quietly scurrying around the drainpipes of Steiman's appartment in the hope that Steinman accidentally flushes a song book down the toilet and allows him to record them all for his new compilation album Manilow Sings Again...Again.
All Steinman compositions include the following elements:
-Ellen Foley/Carla Devito/Cher/Patti Russo
-Someone getting laid
-Motorcycles (both real and Todd Rundgren)
-Someone dying in a car crash
-Extremely transparent sexual metaphors
-Extremely transparent sexual metaphors using cars as prominent imagery
-Extremely transparent rebirth metaphors using car/motorcycle/bat crash
-More people getting laid
-Someone getting upset
-Thinking back on the past
-Meat Loaf in an abandoned area brooding
-Someone dying in an extremely transparent and sexually metaphorical car crash