Best known in conjunction with his enormously successful collaborations with singer Meat Loaf, producer and composer Jim Steinman rose to the top of the pop charts on the strength of his distinctively operatic artistic vision. A native of New York City trained as a classical pianist, he first surfaced during the mid-'70s with the off-Broadway musical More Than You Deserve; among its cast was Houston-born Marvin Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf. The two men reunited a few years later for a tour with the National Lampoon Road Show, after which Steinman began composing a musical update of the Peter Pan story titled Never Land. Many of the songs he wrote for the project were then instead incorporated into Meat Loaf's 1978 LP Bat Out of Hell, a teen rock opera that spawned three Top 40 singles -- "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" -- on its way to becoming one of the best-selling albums of the decade.
A Bat Out of Hell sequel was planned, but in 1981 Steinman issued his own solo debut, Bad for Good. After Meat Loaf released his own follow-up, Dead Ringer, rumors began flying, and it was reported that the singer had been unable to record the songs that ultimately comprised the Steinman album due to physical and emotional problems. Eventually, the producer filed suit against Meat Loaf and his label, Epic, and he soon began working with Bonnie Tyler, writing and producing her massive 1983 hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart." A year later, Steinman collaborated with Barbra Streisand on her Emotion LP, and also worked with Billy Squier on Signs of Life. However, he kept a relatively low profile throughout the remainder of the decade, raising more than a few eyebrows in 1987 when he agreed to produce the album Floodland for British goth rockers Sisters of Mercy; a sequel, Vision Thing, followed in 1990. Meanwhile, Original Sin, ostensibly Steinman's second solo effort but issued under the name of the one-off project Pandora's Box, was released in 1989. Finally, in 1993, Steinman and Meat Loaf reunited for the best-selling Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. ~ Jason Ankeny
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