Jim Steinman - 'Bad For Good' (landmark album review)

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Jim Steinman - 'Bad For Good' (landmark album review)

The CD is still out there; I recommend buying it and turning off the light, and you'll be left in the dark again.

This is a Rocktopia™ landmark review (album review no. 4982, pls. click HERE for more information)

This retrospection of of Jim Steinman's 'Bad For Good' is well timed, as its songs, along with those of 'Bat Out Of Hell', form the story of the new stage musical 'Bat Out Of Hell'. The story being about a futuristic Peter Pan and there were obvious clues back in 1981 to this; the cover by Richard Corben shows a be-winged Peter Pan and an adolescent Wendy and there is a song 'Lost Boys And Golden Girls' – obvious isn't it?

Steinman famously recorded this album himself as Meatloaf had lost his voice at the time. Tired of waiting for him, and I somewhat suspect he always wanted to be rockstar himself, Steinman jumped into the breech. He has a respectable Tenor voice but many critics unfavourably and unfairly compared him to Meatloaf and the album was subsequently overlooked (however it did get to #7 in the UK chart). Rory Dodd actually sang some of the technically harder songs (e.g. 'Surfs Up') but Steinman makes a triumphant and glorious go of things on the title track, 'Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)' and the faltering but sublime 'Left In The Dark'. Nearly all of the album's tracks were redone on future Meatloaf albums but Steinman's effort, due to his more mortal vocals, hold a value of their own.

As for the musicians, a similar line-up to that of 'Bat Out Of Hell' appear – essentially the E Street Band (Max Weinberg, Roy Bittan), Utopia (Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton), Karla DeVito and other top drawer players. Highlights are Davey Johnstone's absurdly genius guitar playing on the duelling solo at the end of 'Stark Raving Love' – that has to be heard to be believed – and the bombastic drumming of Max Weinberg throughout. With otherworldly playing, existential lyrics and with a seemingly carte blanche from Epic to do what he wanted to, Steinman delivered an album transcending excess. I forgot to mention the New York Philharmonic Orchestra playing the intro song 'The Storm' (picture the Lost Boys turning up on a stormy beach) and also accompanying the mourning Steinman on 'Left In The Dark' – this was excess that could never be repeated. To expand on this excess, I read that Steinman's concept was not to just send out the record to the radio stations but also to give out the right hi-fi system so the songs would be heard at their best!

The CD is still out there; I recommend buying it and turning off the light, and you'll be left in the dark again. Also check out wonderful and bizarre videos of the key songs on the Internet and see Steinman's classic soliloquy 'Life And Death And An American Guitar'.

Rob McKenzie

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