By Tyler Aquilina
April 20, 2021 at 04:00 PM EDT

Jim Steinman, the songwriter and music producer who penned Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Meat Loaf's breakthrough album Bat Out of Hell, died Monday in Connecticut. He was 73.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut confirmed Steinman's death to EW. A cause of death was not available.

Steinman was known for his operatic pop-rock compositions and lyrics, never in fuller display than on Bat Out of Hell, for which he had sole songwriting credit. The album drew on the music of The Who, Phil Spector, and Bruce Springsteen to produce a bombastic vision of teenage angst, with songs like "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," "All Revved Up With No Place to Go," and the nearly 10-minute title track, which includes a famous guitar solo imitating the sound of a motorcycle.

"My songs are anthems to those moments when you feel like you're on the head of a match that's burning," Steinman told Rolling Stone in 1978. "They're anthems to the essence of rock & roll, to a world that despises inaction and loves passion and rebellion. They're anthems to the kind of feeling you get listening to 'Be My Baby' by the Ronettes. That's what I love about anthems — the fury, the melody, and the passion."

Born in New York in 1947, Steinman got his start writing stage musicals, which contained many forerunners of his later pop songs. He first met Meat Loaf in the early 1970s, at auditions for a Public Theater production of his musical More Than You Deserve. The two began to collaborate on songs that soon grew into the Bat Out of Hell album, which became an unexpected commercial success in the wake of its 1977 release. It remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, with more than 50 million copies sold worldwide.

The album was "timeless in that it didn't fit into any trend," Steinman later reflected. "It's never been a part of what's going on. You could release that record at any time and it would be out of place."

Jim Steinman
Credit: Terry Lott/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images

The songwriter's relationship with Meat Loaf would soon grow strained, however, though they continued to collaborate intermittently over the next four decades. In 1993, the duo reunited for the sequel album Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which yielded the no. 1 hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." Steinman was not involved in 2006's Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, but later penned all of the songs for Meat Loaf's 2016 album Braver Than We Are.

Outside of his collaborations with Meat Loaf, Steinman wrote and produced such hits as Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All," Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," and "Total Eclipse of the Heart," which ranks among the best-selling singles of all time. (Steinman also produced Tyler's 1983 album Faster Than the Speed of Night.)

"There is no other songwriter ever like him," Meat Loaf said at Steinman's 2012 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. "I can never repay him. He has been such an influence, in fact, the biggest influence on my life, and I learned so much from him that there would be no way I could ever repay Mr. Jim Steinman."

Related content: