First Hit #1: October 1, 1983
I mentioned how Phil Ramone produced two songs that sound completely different yesterday. I bring it up again because now we have Jim Steinman, who doesn’t do that. You can instantly tell a Steinman-penned song, a certain giant operatic push, big vocals – this time delivered by the smokey pipes of Bonnie Tyler – little quiet bits on piano between the big epic showcase moments. Even the videos are often the same, with the singer wandering around really drafty old buildings at night while spooky things happen all around them. It’s bizarre, but understandable, since Steinman’s songs just sound like an old movie about ghosts and forgotten lovers. Big, melodramatic, slightly silly, but enjoyable if you’re in the right mood.
I might seem to be complaining about the man’s artistic oeuvre being a bit similar all around, and that’s not really the case. I like having a dose of Steinman’s massive musical theater putting itself in the middle of the pop charts. It’s something that nobody else really does, and he knows how to use big voices in a way that nobody else does. He embraces the way certain types of singer make a beeline to over-the-top places, by taking things to such an insane place that you can’t help but sort of admire his bravery. He’s a madman, but we all go a little mad sometimes.
Cue the wind machine…