You can always detect a Jim Steinman song by its soaring buildup to an epic vocal showcase, its length, and the fact that it always features several syllables of lyrics stuffed into one musical note. Steinman wrote and produced several hit songs for Meat Loaf, including “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Those three all appeared on the album Bat Out of Hell, which catapulted Meat Loaf into stardom. But he didn’t handle it very well.
According to a Q Magazine article in 1993, now available in text form on Jim Steinman’s website, Meat Loaf and Steinman’s joint record company and management team distrusted Meat Loaf’s mental stability in the early ‘80s, and initially pushed Steinman to leave the duo in hopes of writing a new hit. “He had a mental block on the new songs,” Steinman said of Meat Loaf at the time, adding that management wouldn’t let Meat Loaf rest his voice. Meat Loaf suffered from severe stress and anger and emotional issues; he then lost his operatic voice, prompting Steinman to leave the team. Meat Loaf accused his former managers of misjudging him during a particularly difficult time, which he got through emotionally by coaching little league softball games for his daughters.
Steinman had already written songs for Meat Loaf’s expected followup album, one of which was “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but it wasn’t to be. Meanwhile, Bonnie Tyler had seen success with her song “It’s a Heartache,” but did not want to be stereotyped as a quasi-county music singer. Read the story of how Tyler got the song and made it a classic at Atlas Obscura.
Oh yeah, Tyler will perform the song on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship as the solar eclipse occurs on Monday.
(Image credit: Foto: Stefan Brending /