When Jim Steinman was producing Air Supply’s 1983 single “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” for the Australian duo’s Greatest Hits album, he called upon Seventies guitarslinger Rick Derringer to add a majestic solo to the power ballad. Two years later, Derringer got Steinman to return the favor, recruiting the producer-composer — who died Monday at 73 — to contribute a song to The Wrestling Album, the 1985 musical lark by the musclebound stars of the then-WWF.
Steinman came up with a typically grand and bombastic instrumental number for Hulk Hogan. Nimbly titled “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” and credited to the “WWF All-Stars,” the song was either derived from or went on to inspire another composition Steinman was producing: “Ravishing,” the opening track to Bonnie Tyler’s 1986 LP Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire.
Based around tinkling piano that’s quickly overtaken by pulsing synthesizer, “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” and “Ravishing” are nearly indistinguishable. In fact, they’re all but the same song until Tyler begins singing in her version. The only vocal in Hogan’s is an anonymous chorus chanting “Hulk!” over and over.
For whatever reason, Steinman’s song for Hogan never caught on with wrestling fans and the WWE icon adopted another track off The Wrestling Album as his entrance music, “Real American,” written and performed by Derringer. “I never intended it for the WWF,” Derringer told Rolling Stone in 2015 of “Real American.” “I remember thinking, ‘We have written the most patriotic song of all time.’ We looked at it as a legitimate thing; we never envisioned it for the WWF…. all I know is that Hulk Hogan decided he was going to use that song.”
While Steinman’s Hulkster orchestral failed to become the champ’s signature, it did gain a second life on Saturday mornings as the theme to Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon, which ran on CBS from 1985 through 1987. Tyler released Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire in 1986, just six months after The Wrestling Album.