Rock and pop hitmaker Jim Steinman, who wrote and composed music for Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion, and more, died Monday, April 19th. He was 73.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut confirmed Steinman’s death to Rolling Stone. A cause of death was not given.
Steinman’s wholly unique career found him working as a composer, lyricist, and producer for an array of artists in a variety of styles. According to a biography on his website, the records he’s worked on have sold more than 190,000,000 million copies worldwide. He was nominated for four Grammys over the course of his career as well, ultimately winning Album of the Year for his work on Dion’s 1996 smash, Falling Into You.
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Steinman began his career in musical theater, writing and starring in a rock musical while in college called The Dream Engine, which garnered the attention of New York theatrical producer Joe Papp. After graduating, Steinman worked at the Public Theater in New York (which Papp established) and juggled various creative projects. In 1973, Yvonne Elliman recorded his song “Happy Ending,” which became his first commercially released tune, while that same year, the Public Theater staged his musical, More Than You Deserve.
One of the actors who auditioned for More Than You Deserve was Meat Loaf, and he and Steinman soon struck up a close personal and professional relationship. The two began working on Meat Loaf’s proper solo debut, Bat Out of Hell, in the early Seventies, but the album wouldn’t be released until 1977. And it wasn’t until about one year later — after Meat Loaf performed on Saturday Night Live — that the album became a certified hit.
“There is no other songwriter ever like him,” Meat Loaf said of Steinman when inducting into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. “I can never repay him. He has been such an influence, in fact, the biggest influence on my life, and I learned so much from him that there would be no way I could ever repay Mr. Jim Steinman.”
Despite the success of Bat Out of Hell, however, Meat Loaf and Steinman’s relationship began to fray after Steinman started working on a follow-up with Bruce Springsteen’s keyboardist Roy Bittan without telling Meat Loaf. Although they completed and released Dead Ringer in 1981, Steinman and Meat Loaf’s work together became much more sporadic and they were frequently engaged in lawsuits against each other.
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