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From a man who can't carry a tune in a bucket...

Because I grew up in extremely rural New Hampshire and still lack social skills, I have some rather odd gaps in my knowledge -- particularly where it involves things like pop music and pop culture. Because of that, though, every now and then I discover something that is considered "common knowledge" and have what many consider an inexplicable sense of delight when I finally make the connection that others made years ago.

One such connection involved music, and I only made a couple years ago, when I happened to be considering a few of my favorite songs.

Back in high school, I heard and fell in love with the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. The lyrics captured my imagination, and her voice blew me away. When I finally saw the video, I couldn't believe that huge voice came out of a slender, almost ethereal wisp of a blonde.

Several years later, it suddenly became popular to mock Celine Dion. I participated, but it was purely for the sake of fitting in. The only song of hers I knew was "It's All Coming Back To Me," and I was utterly captivated by it. The combination of the overpowering music, brilliant lyrics, and her magnificent voice amazed me, and I went right out and got the single.

Two women I knew -- both from New Jersey, ironically enough -- were Meat Loaf fans. I had all kinds of fun mocking him, but one day I finally sat down and listened to both the Bat Out Of Hell albums. My god, the man poured his entire (huge) self into every song, and brought the power and passion I've always associated with opera to pure rock and roll. I couldn't help myself; I had to listen to it with the sound CRANKED ALL THE WAY UP.

Then I noticed that the Meat Loaf albums credited a "Jim Steinman" for writing the songs. Intrigued, I went web-searching for more information about this guy. I could not believe it when I discovered Steinman had also written "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and "It's All Coming Back To Me." I'd been a fan of his songs long before I'd even known he existed.

Steinman has an amazing gift for songwriting, especially for people with powerful voices and true passion. I've found myself wondering just what Steinman might have done with other singers with serious pipes.

Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen, was the first singer who came to mind. What he would have done with a Steinman song... wow. My mind boggles.

Another singer I really think could do justice with a Steinman song is (don't laugh) Christina Aguilera. Yes, I know her persona (hell, once calling her "The Bride Of Skankenstein" helped me secure my position here at Wizbang), but I've heard a couple of her songs. After hearing her "Fighter," who can't see her doing justice to a song like "Total Eclipse Of The Heart?"

It's a fun little speculation, though.


Comments (22)

I agree with on on Christin... (Below threshold)

I agree with on on Christina Aguilera. Mariah Carey also would do those songs justice. Both of them have exceptional voices (not to mention a huge voice range as well. I've heard Mariah Carey has a range of 8 octaves - the average person can only do 3 or 4, and that's with actual training).

I just don't like that both Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey waste their vocal talents on such ardent trash. It sickens me.

Oh well.

(on a more personal note, I listen to all sorts of music. From Metal to Alternative Rock, to Irish Folk music, to Bluegrass, to country)

err hit enter too soon acci... (Below threshold)

err hit enter too soon accidently (I also listen to Dance music - Trance/Techno/DrumnBass/Breakbeats/Hardcore, not to mention I also listen to some classical music).

Man, does that trigger some... (Below threshold)

Man, does that trigger some memories. Meat Loaf, Freddie, Bonnie, all great vocals. I remember hearing "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" and thinking how magnificent his voice and passion was. Then, you see the guy (remember "Roadie?") and you think: "How in the hell can all that music come from 'that'?" Same thing for Mercury. I could listen to the entire "Night at the Opera" album over and over for its blend of rock and operetic aria, all blended together with that skinny punk's voice. Totally amazing. Great find on Steinman. I'm going to do some more research on him.

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart... (Below threshold)

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart?" is one of my all-time fave songs... I'm glad someone else remembers it. :-)

Ahhhh, Meatloaf. My first ... (Below threshold)

Ahhhh, Meatloaf. My first experience with his vocal prowess was in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Became hooked while Tim Curry chased him around the lab in drag. Wow, was that really almost 30 years ago?

Wow, was that really alm... (Below threshold)

Wow, was that really almost 30 years ago?

In about two hours, actually. Might be fun to go tonight. I'm guessing the crowds skews a little towards Kerry voters.

I was sold on Ms. Dion by h... (Below threshold)

I was sold on Ms. Dion by her duet with Peabo Bryson of “Beauty and the Beast” in the animated film. Interestingly, it contains these lyrics –

Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

(Anyone here not seen the movie? Get thee to a video store! Developed characters, witty tunes, elegant animation -- it takes an adult to truly appreciate it.)

Once, I tuned into the Miss America pageant and discovered that Tony Orlando was to be M.C. “Ugh!” I thought to myself... I never liked his tunes. I soon got my comeuppance – he was an outstanding showman, a pro from start to end and carried the evening as well as I’ve seen it done.

We've been Steinman nuts in... (Below threshold)

We've been Steinman nuts in this house for a long time. He writes the same song over and over, but *damn* is it a good song. :)

The best match for him is Meatloaf, though. It's just magic.

JimK I agree, Stei... (Below threshold)


I agree, Steinman and Meatloaf are perfect together. I have always loved meatloaf and he is without a doubt the most underrated singer of his generation.

As far as a current singer, singing a Steinman song...

Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 could without even trying, but he writes his own stuff. If you like steinman you would like Thomas. He is a brilliant songwriter. "If Your Gone" "Unwell" "Bright Lights" amazing guy and an amazing voice.

Whitney Houston before the dope could have done it.

Martina McBride could sing a Steinman song even though she is a country singer she is powerful.

And yes, Christina could. Skank yes, but unlike Britney...Christina has a pure powerful voice. She needs to pull her head out and get off this Lil' Kim fantasy she is stuck in.

Oh man..i forgot the absolu... (Below threshold)

Oh man..i forgot the absolute best thing he every wrote.

Streets of fire Soundtrack

Fire Inc.

I've got a dream about A boy on a star Looking down upon the rim Of the world He's there all alone and dreaming Of someone like me I'm not an angel but at least I'm a girl

Ok, now *I* have to write about this...

Mariah Carey and Christina ... (Below threshold)

Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, indeed. Both of them would have to get out of doing songs that are nothing but background for a video, but both have marvelous voices when they actually sing.

GEt the soundtrack cd for S... (Below threshold)

GEt the soundtrack cd for Streets of Fire. . . Steinman at his best. You know he did a musical in New York last year with a vampire theme.

You may not be a fan of Air... (Below threshold)

You may not be a fan of Air Supply, but Jim Steinman wrote a very great song for the duo. The song is "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All". It was number 2 on the "Top Forty" behind guess who? Bonnie Tylor with "Total Eclipse Of The Heart".

Steinman is King. ;]<... (Below threshold)

Steinman is King. ;]

And now that Freddy Mercury is gone, Meatloaf is one of the most powerful male vocalists left in classic rock. His voice is starting to blow out now as he ages... but he still puts heart and soul into a performance or rendition.

If you're a Steinman fan, I wholeheartedly reccomend "Streets of Fire". Slightly sappy R&R adventure movie [although it has some great mythic elements], but the Steinman songs in it are fantastic.

IMHO:Females with ... (Below threshold)


Females with really noteworthy voices: Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, and Jewel.

Males are hard to come by these days, but a couple stand out: Axl Rose (if anyone can find him), and Dave Matthews (politics put aside).

Don't know how all these would fare with Steinman's music, but they'd bring a significant amount of emotion and more than a little vocal talent to the table--could be interesting.

In a private e-mail exchang... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

In a private e-mail exchange with Jennifer over this topic of mutual interest, We came up with a few very diverse male singers that might do justice to Steinman. I suggested Hank Williams, Jr., Kid Rock, and John Cougar Mellencamp; she countered with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, the lead singer from Creed, and Lenny Kravitz. But we both bemoaned what grunge and hip-hop has done to male singers.


J --I absolutely f... (Below threshold)

J --

I absolutely forgot Kid Rock. He's not recognized as a particularly outstanding vocalist, but he does have a really powerful and unique voice when he sings. It says a lot about talent when an artist doesn't fit into any particular genre.

I also, in my twisted mind, wouldn't mind hearing some of Steinman's work re-recorded by someone like Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie. I think a particularly dark rendition of "Heaven Can Wait" from Manson, and Rob Zombie doing "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" would be pretty damned interesting . . .

One song by the Steinman/Meatloaf dream team that isn't as well known, but one of my faves: "More Than You Deserve." Anyone know which album it was on?

If one created a list of th... (Below threshold)

If one created a list of the most anthemic singable tunes in the last 30 years there would definitely be a bunch of Jim Steinman tunes on it. One tune that no one has mentioned (to my surprise) is "Holding Out for a Hero", sung by Bonny Tyler on the 1984 Footloose soundtrack. I always found it a great tune to have playing on my Walkman when doing those 10K runs.

BoDiddly, thanks to my amaz... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

BoDiddly, thanks to my amazingly brilliant and always resourceful researching talents (OK, my bookmarks to Google and Amazon.com), I have your answer -- Meat Loaf did it on his "Dead Ringer" album.

We strive to be a full-service blog. Now, who ordered the kumquat daquiri?


I have to throw in Trent Re... (Below threshold)

I have to throw in Trent Reznor of NIN. Not the greatest range but a very distictive and powerful voice.

My wee wifey, a devoted fan... (Below threshold)

My wee wifey, a devoted fan of Mr. Loaf, distinguishes him as being the one singer of ballads in modern rock.

The musical, last year, was... (Below threshold)

The musical, last year, was Dance of the Vampires. No soundtrack was released (it was a stunning flop) but there are MP3s for download at the website (www.danceofthevampires.com IIRC). Also, at Steinman's own website there are MP3s for download of his first attempt at a musical, Neverland.

The highlights of DOTV are the theatrical use of Total Eclipse. The first song available rather perfectly encapsulates the reasons for the show's failure: it borders on severe cheesiness. Picture that swelling music that Steinman does so wonderfully, then a deep bass voice intones 'Carpe Noctem...seize the night.' Trust me, it's cheesy. Wonderful cheese, but still cheese. Not available for download, unsurprisingly, is the song every review trashed: "Garlic" Yes, there was an entire chorus number on the virtues of garlic, specifically for the use of vampire avoidance.

Other musical theater notes (before my inner musical nerd goes back to sleep): Steinman wrote the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's failed musical "Whistle Down The Wind.' It's entertaining, failed more due to it's complete lack of an audience: hey, there are kids in it, it's a kid's show. Um, no, actually it's about an escaped felon who seduces a teenager who think's he's Jesus. So you end up with some kid themes the adult audience doesn't like and some adult themes that the kids don't like.

I keep wondering when Bat Out of Hell will appear on stage as a musical.






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