From a man who can't carry a tune in a bucket…

Because I grew up in extremely rural New Hampshire and still lack social skills, I have some rather odd gaps in my knowledge — particularly where it involves things like pop music and pop culture. Because of that, though, every now and then I discover something that is considered “common knowledge” and have what many consider an inexplicable sense of delight when I finally make the connection that others made years ago.

One such connection involved music, and I only made a couple years ago, when I happened to be considering a few of my favorite songs.

Back in high school, I heard and fell in love with the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. The lyrics captured my imagination, and her voice blew me away. When I finally saw the video, I couldn’t believe that huge voice came out of a slender, almost ethereal wisp of a blonde.

Several years later, it suddenly became popular to mock Celine Dion. I participated, but it was purely for the sake of fitting in. The only song of hers I knew was “It’s All Coming Back To Me,” and I was utterly captivated by it. The combination of the overpowering music, brilliant lyrics, and her magnificent voice amazed me, and I went right out and got the single.

Two women I knew — both from New Jersey, ironically enough — were Meat Loaf fans. I had all kinds of fun mocking him, but one day I finally sat down and listened to both the Bat Out Of Hell albums. My god, the man poured his entire (huge) self into every song, and brought the power and passion I’ve always associated with opera to pure rock and roll. I couldn’t help myself; I had to listen to it with the sound CRANKED ALL THE WAY UP.

Then I noticed that the Meat Loaf albums credited a “Jim Steinman” for writing the songs. Intrigued, I went web-searching for more information about this guy. I could not believe it when I discovered Steinman had also written “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and “It’s All Coming Back To Me.” I’d been a fan of his songs long before I’d even known he existed.

Steinman has an amazing gift for songwriting, especially for people with powerful voices and true passion. I’ve found myself wondering just what Steinman might have done with other singers with serious pipes.

Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen, was the first singer who came to mind. What he would have done with a Steinman song… wow. My mind boggles.

Another singer I really think could do justice with a Steinman song is (don’t laugh) Christina Aguilera. Yes, I know her persona (hell, once calling her “The Bride Of Skankenstein” helped me secure my position here at Wizbang), but I’ve heard a couple of her songs. After hearing her “Fighter,” who can’t see her doing justice to a song like “Total Eclipse Of The Heart?”

It’s a fun little speculation, though.


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The duties of the defeated


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