Happy birthday Jim Steinman!
Happy birthday to the sensational songwriter and producer Jim Steinman! Today we celebrate his 70th birthday.
Bonnie Tyler started working with Jim in 1982, when they recorded her fifth album Faster Than the Speed of Night. The album contains her career-defining hit single “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is among one of the best-selling singles of all time. Bonnie has received several awards and nominations for the song, including two Grammy nominations. The most recent accolade came from ITV, when the song was voted third in The Nation’s Favourite 80s Number One:
Meat Loaf claimed that the song was originally offered to him for his album Midnight at the Lost and Found, but that Epic Records refused to pay for Steinman’s songs. Bonnie has since commented on this claim:
In an interview with The Irish Times in 2013, Bonnie expressed how she imagined Meat was “very annoyed” when the song was given to her instead, but that “Jim said he didn’t write it for Meat Loaf, that he only finished it after meeting me.”
Later in 1983, Jim was asked to compose music for the film Footloose, setting music to Dean Pitchford’s lyrics. The song, “Holding Out for a Hero”, was recorded by Bonnie at Paramount Studios. Upon its initial release in April ’84, the song didn’t light any bonfires in the UK, spending only one week at a lowly no. 94. Bonnie was unaware that CBS decided to reissue the song in the following year until she got a call from Radio 1 informing her that she’d entered the Top 40. An appearance on Top of the Pops boosted it to number 2 a few weeks later.
The song was also a Top 40 hit in several European countries, as well as the US. Several artists have covered the song in recent years, including Jennifer Saunders and Frou Frou (for Shrek 2). Elizabeth Daily recorded a version for the 1984 American TV series Cover Up. In 2011, Ella Mae Bowen recorded a Country-inspired ballad version for a Footloose remake.
“Holding Out for a Hero” featured on Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, an album bearing a considerable number of songs penned by Steinman. It was on this album that Jim wrote one of Bonnie’s longest songs “Rebel Without a Clue”, which lasts a staggering 8 minutes and 30 seconds!
Bonnie and Jim parted ways after Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, until they reunited for her 1995 album Free Spirit, which featured recordings of two Steinman classics; “Making Love (Out of Nothing At All)” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”. Bonnie also recorded “Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts” for the concept album that accompanied the premiere of Steinman and Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s 1998 musical Whistle Down the Wind. Bonnie also recorded guest vocals on Meat Loaf’s track “A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”.
Since then, Bonnie has continued to perform several of Jim’s songs on stage, and she has also re-record a number of them. Perhaps the most notable is the French duet of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Kareen Antonn:
Jim approached Bonnie in the late 2000s to begin recording a Country album together, but due to ill health the project was abandoned. In October 2014, Bonnie was forced to deny claims by Turkish newspaper Sabah that she was working with Jim again on a new album.
Here are a few selected Steinman-Tyler tracks that you can find on Spotify:
1. Loving You’s a Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Gotta Do It) – 1986
2. Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts – 1998
3. Faster Than the Speed of Night – 1983
4. Making Love (Out of Nothing At All) – 1995
5. Rebel Without a Clue – 1986