Steinman is best known for his work with Meat Loaf, as he wrote literally every song Meat Loaf recorded until the half and half mix of “Bat Out of Hell 3.” However, he was very busy during the eighties and nineties writing a lot of music for female pop stars, namely Ellen Foley, Bonnie Tyler, and Pandora’s Box. He also wrote the music for the cult classic, street gang fight, musical, “Streets of Fire.” Lastly, his biggest success outside of his collaboration with Meat Loaf must be his creation of songs like “It’s all Coming Back to Me Now,” which was made famous by Canada’s Celine Dion, so yeah, we have Jim to blame for that, but still, an impressive resume. However, his greatest accomplishment outside of Meat Loaf, must be his 1997 musical creation “Tanz der Vampire” or “Dance of the Vampire.”
|1967's "The Fearless |
A wonderful thing about writing hundreds of songs for other people is you get to keep the rights to those songs and use them however you see fit, which is exactly what happens with “Dance of the Vampires.” Steinman rehashes some of his past songs and reworks them for this vampire adventure. The most prominent example being Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of The Heart” now reworked as “Vampires in Love:”
"Total Eclipse of The Heart" now with vampires... finally:
|Marjan Shaki as Sarah|
On paper “For Sarah” is a rather simple song, just piano and a singer, but it follows the more complicated center piece of the musical’s “Carpe Noctem” so it is meant to be a softer song, a quiet and sweet moment for Alfred to express the strength of his love and conviction to save the damsel in distress. What makes this song special is the singer himself. I have seen several different individuals perform this song live online and while some are more impressive than others I have enjoyed them all. It is a truly nice love song surrounded by fantastic factors, I mean vampires and all, and that makes the level of declared potential sacrifice a little more serious since actual death lays around the corner for our heroes.
Now, most people reading this have probably never heard of “Dance of the Vampires” and that has a lot to do with the utter failing to bring the musical in the United States. The original “Tanz Der Vampire” was a huge hit in Austria and Germany, and from everything I seen, heard and read about it, the German language version is superior to the English one in every conceivable way; but why is that? The songs were all written by an American, why did the US version fail so catastrophically. Well according to Steinman, the cast and crew in the US version did not take it seriously, and I can kind of understand why. The movie that inspired the story for “Dance of the Vampires” was a comedy, and the subject matter is silly and also rather trite in our current cultural zeitgeist regarding vampires. I mean “Vampires in Love” how cliché has that idea become?
Nonetheless Steinman is correct. Too many jokes were inserted into the English version. The great charm of “Tanz Der Vampires,” and the song “For Sarah,” was the passion put into it by it’s performers. The Germans and Austrians took this musical very seriously and they put together a highly emotional and exciting, albeit perhaps a little silly, musical experience. The wishy washy approach the Americans took undermined the story, the music and all the emotion that was required for making this piece of art work.
Because the music at it’s core is so damned good, the English versions of the songs are still thoroughly enjoyable. “For Sarah” is a song that needs, and in fact demands, the highest calibre of singing performance. For this reason, I believe the English version holds up very well, but I must say it is worthwhile to investigate the multiple German language version you can find online. I used to listen to one version on youtube a lot, but as these things go I can no longer find it, so here is a slightly not as great version:
Live German Version:
- King of Braves