Great Rock Albums of 1981: Jim Steinman- Bad For Good


They say that you should never judge a book by a cover and I think that also applies to record albums too; fortunately, not to this one by Jim Steinman. For those who aren’t so familiar with the name, Jim Steinman has worked as a record producer for many years and is responsible for producing some of the greats, including Meatloaf as well as the soundtrack to “Shrek 2.” In 1981, he tried his hand at cutting his own album, “Bad For Good” and it was pretty much a success for him. At first, I was attracted to the album by this rather cool looking at the time album cover. However, the music inside isn’t too bad except for one rather important detail: When I first listened to the album and even now, my first impression in my mind is, “This could have been Meatloaf.”

There is a definite resemblance to “Bat Out of Hell” throughout this album. Each and every song has that feel to it, especially the duet with Karla DeVito on “Dance In My Pants.” The style of the song bears strong connections to the famous “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” However, what this song has that the Meatloaf classic doesn’t is a killer guitar solo. That’s part of what makes the album as good as it is in the first place. Steinman’s vocal range is limited but he does have some powerful musicians behind him playing on the songs. Most notably, there is Todd Rundgren along with his band mates from Utopia who pop in and out on several songs. What results is a good rock sound that somehow straddles the line between FM commercialability and hard rock. Therefore, all can listen to it and not worry about going across the imaginary line. Still, only three tracks really stand out for me, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. The second is the single, “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through,” which I have on a compilation CD. The third is “Life and Death of an American Guitar,” which gets covered by the already mentioned Meatloaf on his “Bat Out of Hell 2” album. Speaking of that song, I don’t hear any difference between the two versions.

Track Listing:

1. Bad For Good

2. Lost Boys and Golden Girls

3.  The Life and Death of An American Guitar

4. Stark Raving Love

5. Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)

6. Surf’s Up

7. Dance in My Pants

8. Left in the Dark

Extra EP

1. The Storm

2. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman- lead vocals, keyboards, spoken word

Rory Dodd- lead vocals on “Surf’s Up,” “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through” and “Lost Boys and Golden Girls”

Karla DeVito- lead vocals on “Dance In My Pants”

Todd Rundgren- guitars

Davey Johnstone- guitars

Kasim Sultan- bass

Steve Buslowe- bass

Neal Jason- bass

Roy Bittan- piano

Steven Margoshes- piano

Roger Powell- synthesiser

Larry ‘Synergy’ Fast- synthesiser

Max Weinberg- drums

Alan Schwartzberg- drums

Joe Stefko- drums

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Alan Rubin- trumpet

Tom Malone- horn arrangements and trombone

Lou Marini- tenor sax

Lew Del Gatto- baritone sax

Ellen Foley- backing vocals

Eric Troyer- backing vocals

What surprised me after doing a bit of homework on “Bad For Good” was how well it actually did commercially. In spite of many criticisms from the rock magazines at the time, it went to 62 in the US, 14 in Sweden and even broke into the top ten in the UK. With that success and an album that I actually liked, I remain surprised as to why Mr Steinman never has cut another album.

Next post: Grace Slick- Welcome to the Wrecking Ball

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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10 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1981: Jim Steinman- Bad For Good”

  1. I was enough of a “Bat Out Of Hell” fan to be super-excited when the lackluster “Dead Ringer” was released 4 years later ( I bought it on the day of release), but for some reason I never picked up this Steinman record even though I considered buying it many times. Based on your review, I’m thinking I should finally get it…if I can find a cheap copy of the LP, of course. It’s amazing how current that album cover seemed back in ’81, and how ridiculous it looks now.


    • Ditto on the album cover. I will be visiting “Dead Ringer” down the line. Hopefully a cheap copy can be obtained, unlike The Fools. I saw that album going for $81!


      • There was a point a few years ago where you could find nearly any album other than true rarities for $1-$2. Now that vinyl is popular again, especially amongst college kids & hipsters, prices for nearly everything except complete garbage have gone up, and it drives me crazy. It makes me happy knowing people are playing vinyl again (I never stopped), but it makes bargain hunting a lot more difficult. Good luck with your search for “Dead Ringer.”


      • As long as I can get it on You Tube, then Dead Ringer shouldn’t be a problem. It is good to see that vinyl has come back but you’re right, the comeback is driving prices through the roof.


  2. I always find it a bit disappointing when a record you like is the only one. Especially when artists that bore you can have like seven or more albums.


  3. I read a interview where Def Leppard had to sell a ton of copy’s of Hysteria (which they did of course ) to pay off Steinman after they gave him the boot early on in the recording of Hysteria.
    Interesting character from what I read…


  4. Reblogged this on M-air-in..


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