Billy Steinberg has been among the most successful songwriters of the past 25 years, co-writing (with Tom Kelly) five #1 singles on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart, including “Like A Virgin” (Madonna), “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper), “So Emotional” (Whitney Houston), “Eternal Flame” (The Bangles) and “Alone” (Heart). Additionally, Billy co-wrote other well-known Top 10 U.S. pop hits, including “I’ll Stand By You” (Pretenders, Carrie Underwood), “I Touch Myself” (Divinyls), “How Do I Make You” (Linda Ronstadt), “I Drove All Night” (Roy Orbison, Cyndi Lauper, Celine Dion), “In Your Room” (The Bangles), “Too Little Too Late” (JoJo) and “Give Your Heart A Break” (Demi Lovato).
Many of Billy’s songs are enduring classics. “Like A Virgin” was recently honored by Rolling Stone and MTV as the #4 song on their list of the “100 Greatest Pop Songs.” “True Colors” was recorded by Phil Collins for his “Greatest Hits” album and became a major worldwide hit. “True Colors” was also featured in Kodak’s prominent television-based advertisement campaign for several years. In the summer of 2001, British act Atomic Kitten recorded “Eternal Flame,” which reached #1 on the U.K. singles chart and sold over 1 million copies. Celine Dion scored hits with covers of “I Drove All Night” and “Alone”. Billy’s songs have been staples for singers on American Idol, The Voice and Glee.
Billy grew up in Palm Springs, California, and attended Bard College in upstate New York. After college, he pursued a career as a recording artist and songwriter while also working in his family’s table grape business. His band, Billy Thermal (Thermal was the town where the vineyard business was located), was signed to legendary producer Richard Perry’s Planet Records in 1979. The band’s guitarist played Billy Thermal’s demos for Linda Ronstadt, and she decided to record Billy’s song, “How Do I Make You,” for her “Mad Love” album in 1980. It was the only single on that album to reach top 10 Billboard status and helped launch Billy’s career as a promising songwriter. Another early composition, “Precious Time,” was recorded by Pat Benatar in 1981 and became the title cut of her third album. In 1981, Billy began a momentous collaboration with Tom Kelly, a successful session vocalist and songwriter. The duo developed a strong songwriting chemistry and subsequently formed the band I-10, which was released on Epic Records. This marked the beginning of a longtime writing partnership, which resulted in some of the most memorable hits of the 80s and 90s.
A career breakthrough occurred for Steinberg and Kelly in 1984 when Madonna recorded their song “Like A Virgin,” which became the title of her second album. “Like A Virgin,” was a milestone for Steinberg and Kelly as well as for Madonna. The song reached #1 on Billboard in December, 1984, and stayed there for six weeks. “Like A Virgin” remains Madonna’s signature song and biggest chart single to date. “Like A Virgin” was famously discussed in the opening scene of Tarantino’s 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs. Also, in 2001, “Like A Virgin” was featured in a riotous scene in the innovative movie musical “Moulin Rouge.”
Following the success of “Like A Virgin,” Steinberg and Kelly enjoyed a flurry of hit activity. Cyndi Lauper had a #1 record with “True Colors,” which was the title cut of her second album, and followed this success with the Top 10 hit “I Drove All Night” on her next album. The duo subsequently topped the charts with Heart’s recording of “Alone,” followed by another #1 hit, “So Emotional,” recorded by Whitney Houston. During this period, Steinberg and Kelly had many additional singles and/or cuts, with artists Pat Benatar (the Top 40 hit, “Sex As A Weapon”), Tina Turner (“Look Me In The Heart”), Roy Orbison (“I Drove All Night”), REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Patty Smyth, Bette Midler, Belinda Carlisle, and many others.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Steinberg and Kelly established successful collaborations with Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, and Chrissy Amphlett and Mark McEntee of the Divinyls. The team of Steinberg, Kelly and Hoffs wrote many songs together, including the classic Bangles’ hits, “Eternal Flame” and “In Your Room.” Steinberg, Kelly and Hoffs also wrote “My Side Of The Bed,” which was the first single (and Top 40 hit) from Hoffs’ solo debut album in 1991. The teaming of Steinberg and Kelly with the Divinyls led to several cuts, including the group’s provocative Top 10 hit, “I Touch Myself,” in 1991. (“I Touch Myself” was later featured in the hit movie, “Austin Powers: Man Of Mystery.”)
In 1993, Steinberg and Kelly began another high-profile collaboration, writing numerous songs with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. The trio wrote six songs for the group’s “Last Of The Independents” album in 1994, which included the Top 10 hit, “I’ll Stand By You,” and the single, “Night In My Veins.”
In the mid-’90s, Steinberg teamed up with writer/producer Rick Nowels. Steinberg and Nowels wrote and produced for an array of top artists. The duo won Grammy Awards for producing their song and title cut, “Falling Into You,” from Celine Dion’s multi-platinum, 1996 album. “Falling Into You” and other Steinberg and Nowels compositions were co-written with the talented writer and singer, Marie Claire D’Ubaldo. Steinberg and Nowels also wrote and produced notable cuts for KD Lang, the Corrs, Amber, including the #1 dance hit and Top 40 pop hit in 2000, “Sexual (Li Da Di)”, and international #1 hit singles for Melanie C. (“I Turn To You”, 2000) and Robert Miles (“One And One,” 1996). Sinead O’Connor recorded a beautiful Steinberg/Nowels song, “Tears From The Moon”.
Since 2004, Billy has worked with songwriting partner, Josh Alexander. They wrote and produced songs released by a variety of recording artists, including JoJo’s Top 5 Billboard Hit, “Too Little Too Late”, Demi Lovato’s #1 radio hit, “Give Your Heart A Break”, and Nicole Scherzinger’s #1 UK hit, “Don’t Hold Your Breath”. Other notable Steinberg/Alexander songs include, T.A.T.U.’s, “All About Us”, Katharine McPhee’s, “Over It”, and Leona Lewis’, “The Best You Never Had”.
Steinberg and Alexander have written numerous songs with Warner Brothers’ remarkable recording artist, LP. Two of these songs, “Salvation” and “Savannah”, appear on her 2014 album.