Today’s song of the day is Jim Steinman’s “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.” The song is one of my favorite pop songs of the early 1980s, although it has a bit of a tortured history.
After Jim Steinman found success writing the songs for Meat Loaf’s album Bat Out of Hell, the two planned to team up again. But the plan encountered various problems, including Meat Loaf’s injured vocal cords. So, Steinman set out to record the follow-up album himself.
Bad for Good
In 1981, Steinman released Bad For Good, an album that I love largely for nostalgia’s sake. Many admire the songwriting for the album, believing that if Meat Loaf had recorded the songs, it would have been a worthy follow-up to Bat Out of Hell.
But Steinman’s straining vocals cannot match the power of Meat Loaf’s voice. Meat Loaf’s voice perfectly suits the bombast of Steinman’s songs. Yet, I still find Steinman’s struggles on the songs make them more vulnerable and, well. . . human. I wish Steinman — who was born November 1, 1947 — would record another album with him singing his songs.
When I bought the record album back in 1981, the album came with a small record that had two additional songs. One song was an instrumental and on the flip side was “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”
“Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”
“Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” clearly appeared as a song added for radio play. It was a more typical pop song than the over-blown songs on the record, lacking some of Steinman’s teenage-style humor.
Still, “Rock and Roll Dreams” stands out on the album. I loved it. The song went to Number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But something was different about Steinman’s voice. I wondered how producers got Steinman’s voice to sound so much better on “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.” Many years later, though, I learned that it was not Steinman singing the song, even though it was credited to him. The singer was Rory Dodd.
Here is Steinman’s video for the song, where he is lip syncing over Dodd’s voice.
Dodd was a Canadian singer who sang backup on many of Meat Loaf’s songs through the years. He also is the voice singing “Turn Around Bright Eyes” on Bonnie Tyler’s mega-hit recording of another Steinman classic, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” One may wonder what might have happened with everyone’s careers had Steinman handed over the whole album for Dodd to record.
Critics and fans never complained about Steinman’s singer deception the way people became upset about Milli Vanilli at the end of the decade. Perhaps fans did not care because Steinman’s real voice appeared on the album, or perhaps they just enjoyed the song.
Steinman even appeared on television to lip sync and promote “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” featuring an interesting ballet dance accompaniment to distract from his mouth movements. (Note that the video looks like it is not available, but it plays when you press the play button.)
Meat Loaf eventually recorded his version of “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” for his album Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993). His version is pretty good too.
I’m still partial to the Steinman/Dodd version. But Meat Loaf’s video also features a young Angelina Jolie.
What is your favorite Jim Steinman song? Leave your two cents in the comments.
(Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)