Streets of Fire songwriter Jim Steinman dies at 73

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Jim Steinman, Streets of Fire, Bat out of Hell, RIP

Sad news to report as it was revealed that songwriter, composer, and producer Jim Steinman passed away yesterday at the age of 73. Steinman is best known for his collaboration with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell, which originated as a futuristic rock n’ roll version of Peter Pan called Neverland before it was transformed into the best-selling album; and when I say best-selling, I mean it — Bat Out of Hell still stands as one of the best-selling albums of all-time, beyond only Michael Jackson’s Thriller and AC/DC’s Back in Black.

In addition to Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman worked with bands and artists such as Celine Dion, Bonnie Tyler, Pandora’s Box, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Barry Manilow, and much more, so naturally, plenty of his music has been heard in movies and TV over the decades. Steinman wrote, composed, and produced several songs for Streets of Fire, the 1984 rock musical directed by Walter Hill, and as you might guess, the movie took its title from the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name and had actually filmed an ending using that song, only to have Springsteen withdraw his permission at the last moment, leaving Steinman just two days to come up with a new song from scratch.

They were convinced they’d have the Springsteen song,” Steinman recalled in an interview. “I remember them saying, ‘we’re definitely gonna have the Springsteen song, right Jimmy?” He says, “yeah are you kidding? It’s a cinch. I’m that close with Bruce. I did Born To Run. I know John Landau. If I have to I’ll make a call to Walter Yetnikof, the president. I know what to do. It’s about people, connections.” It’s like one week later. “Steinman, I’m screwed. Springsteen, what an idiot, he won’t give me Streets Of Fire. We don’t have any ending for the movie. You’ve gotta come up with a song, like in two days.” Steinman continued, “So I wrote this song that I loved and I sent it to them and he and Joel, I remember, left me a great message saying, “I hate you, you bastard, I love this song. We’re gonna have to do it. We’re gonna have to re-build the Wiltern Theater”, which they had taken down, it was a million dollars to re-do the ending, just the ending of Streets Of Fire, ’cause they didn’t have the, they had already filmed Bruce Springsteen’s song.

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While Streets of Fire may not have become a huge success at the time, another film which Jim Steinman was involved with that year definitely was — Footloose. Steinman produced and co-wrote Holding Out For a Hero, which was performed by Bonnie Tyler. In a statement after learning of Steinman’s death, Tyler praised Steinman as a true genius.

Jim Steinman also wrote and/or produced songs for movies such as The Shadow, Anastasia, The Mask of Zorro, and more. You will be missed.

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