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Jim Steinman, 1969
Doctor of Humane Letters
Jim Steinman is a composer, lyricist, producer, arranger and performer whose records have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. Last year, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
A native New Yorker who grew up enthralled with opera, Steinman was involved with the productions of several musicals while an independent scholar at Amherst. During his senior year, he wrote and starred in Dream Engine, which he has described as “a three-hour rock epic with tons of nudity.” It caught the attention of Joseph Papp, founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, who worked with Steinman for several years thereafter. 1973 marked the first commercial release of a song that Steinman wrote.
He wrote and arranged all the songs for the phenomenally successful 1977 album Bat Out of Hell. Its sequel Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993) boasted three Top 40 hits in the United States, with its most popular single,“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” reaching #1 in 28 countries.
Steinman has also written and produced songs for Bonnie Tyler, Air Supply, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow and other artists, as well as the hit “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” on Celine Dion’s Grammy-winning album Falling Into You (1996). He has recorded an album of his own, Bad for Good (1981), and has contributed to the soundtracks of films including Footloose (1984) and Streets of Fire (1984). He wrote the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Whistle Down the Wind, which premiered in 1996, and composed the score for the Roman Polanski musical Tanz der Vampire, now onstage in Berlin for its 15th consecutive year.
Steinman’s works-in-progress include a stage musical version of Bat Out of Hell, to be directed by film, theater and musical helmer Kenny Ortega, and Nutz, a heavy-metal version of The Nutcracker, to be directed by Monty Python member Terry Jones.
Hear Conversations with Honored Guests, talks given by the honorary degree recipients.