Until a couple of years ago — say, up to 2003 — I would probably have said that I was a Meat Loaf fan first. Looking back, I suspect that the release of the less then impressive Couldn’t Have Said It Better and a (imo) sloppy concert in Amsterdam in April 2003 was the point where I became a Jim Steinman fan first.
Granted, compared to mr. Loaf, Jim hasn’t put much new stuff out there since Tanz der Vampire in 1998, but I find that what has become available (The Batman demos ¹, some of the new songs for Dance of the Vampires, the new songs for The Dream Engine) is far more exciting than what Meat Loaf has released in the same period (CHSIB, Bat III, some live releases). And Steinman has never been known as a prolific writer (he recycles his work a lot: traces of Tanz can be found in his 1969 musical The Dream Engine, Bat II mostly consisted of Bad for Good and Original Sin covers, etc.), or producer. After his productive streak in the 1980s, the last album completely written and produced by Steinman is Bat II. The new Dream Engine material (the band) shows a lot of potential, but after two years of nothing… you do the math.
His recent theater work seems to be more succesful: Whistle Down the Wind was a success in its original London run, Tanz has been a ginourmous succes in every incarnation since its premiere in Vienna ten years ago. On the downside you have of course DofV (I think that it’s great musically and lyrically, but fails completely in the script, casting and execution departments), the canceled Batman musical (the available music is, once again, top notch [full disclaimer: yes, I am an unobjective fanboy]) and the US-touring version of Whiste that has not been received well.
All that aside, Jim’s music gets to me in a way that few other composers have accomplished. It gets under my skin, and stays there.
Thank you for that, and happy birthday, Jimmy.