R.I.P. Mr Loaf

The sad news has come through in the past hour of the passing of Marvin Lee Aday, who you may know better as Meat Loaf. I’ve been a fan of his ever since he unleashed Bat Out Of Hell onto the world, and he has always been my ‘go to’ guy when things were getting on top of me and I needed to blast a few cobwebs away. As I do on these occasions, I’m sharing my own personal tribute to him and his music. Make sure your volume control is set to max to play these!

He was born in Dallas, Texas on September 27, 1947, the only child of Wilma Artie (née Hukel), a school teacher and member of the Vo-di-o-do Girls gospel quartet, and Orvis Wesley Aday, a former police officer who went into business selling a homemade cough remedy with his wife and a friend under the name of the Griffin Grocery Company. His father was an alcoholic who would go on drinking binges for days at a time, which started when he was medically discharged from the U.S. Army during World War II after being hit with shrapnel from a mortar. Not the most auspicious of starts in life, and young Marvin often spent time with his grandmother during childhood. Before committing himself to a career in music he was an actor, appearing in Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and the movie version The Rocky Horror Picture Show, plus many others, including a part in the Spice Girls’ movie Spiceworld – I can’t comment on that last one as I’d have to be coerced or blackmailed into watching it! For me, though, it is his music for which I will remember him best.

His solo career comprises twelve albums, though he had said last November that he was planning to go into the studio this month to record tracks for a new album. I’m guessing that didn’t happen, though. All twelve of his albums reached the UK albums chart, and ten did so in the US – all of them achieved higher placings here than in the US, though of course sales volumes were much bigger over there. His debut album, Bat Out Of Hell, has enjoyed phenomenal success, and has sold well over 40m copies worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, on its first release it didn’t chart as high as you might have expected: at #14 in the US and #9 in the UK, though it has reached #1 in several countries. But its staying power has been amazing: by the end of 2019 it had clocked up a total of 522 weeks in the UK albums chart. As befits such a blockbuster I’m going to share three of its tracks, and add in another two of his biggest hits as well. The first from BOOH (I’ve always loved that acronym) is this one:

Paradise By The Dashboard Light was the third single release from the album in the US, although it wasn’t a single here. It peaked at #39 in the US chart, and was also a hit in Canada, Belgium and The Netherlands. The amazing female vocalist who features on the track is Ellen Foley, who sang on four of the album’s seven tracks and has enjoyed a successful career of her own as a singer and an actor. But she isn’t in any of the videos for the album: her own contractual obligations got in the way, so the lady you see is Karla DeVito, lip synching to Ellen’s vocals. Karla also sang on live shows promoting the album.

The first single from Bat Out Of Hell also featured Ellen. I love the intro to the song on this official video, which doesn’t end in a way you might be expecting:

That one was released here as well, in October 1977 to tie in with the album’s release, and it peaked at #33 in the UK and #39 in the US, though it made the top ten in several other countries. A typical Meat Loaf performance, with masses of energy – not bad when you consider that his stage name was actually a nickname given to him by his college football coach, on account of his size!

The follow up to that album was Dead Ringer. This is its title track:

Another great performance, in this case duetting with Cher, back in the days when her body comprised far less plastic than it does now. The album was released in September 1981, and only got as far as #45 in the US. It was, however, a #1 album in the UK – see what I mean about him doing better over here? I’m not sure if this was a single in the US but it was here, and eventually reached #5 after a slow climb up the charts.

Meat Loaf’s sixth album was Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which was released in September 1993. This was the first single from it, released in August as a teaser for the album:

The album was a big success, reaching #1 in both the US and the UK, plus a further eight countries, and has sold over 15m copies worldwide. I Would Do Anything For Love was a massive hit: it reached #1 in twenty eight countries, including, of course, the US and the UK. It still bears his trademark style, but in a slightly less frenetic way (if that is possible for him!). The video is themed around Beauty And the Beast, and the uncredited duet voice belongs to an English singer, Lorraine Crosby. This album came out at a time of some big life changes for me, which included a career change involving a long car commute around north London: it kept me company on many of those journeys, and I have a particular fondness for it as a result.

There is only one place in which I could conclude this tribute to a man whose music has given me so much pleasure for more than forty years, isn’t there? This is where it all began:

On first release this peaked at #15 in the UK charts – it wasn’t a single in the US. The album was revamped in 1992, and this track was re-released as a UK single, doing better second time round in reaching #8. I was stunned by it the first time I played it, and still have that reaction whenever I hear it. That searing guitar of Todd Rundgren gets me every time! The song and the album defined Meat Loaf’s career right from the outset, and he has given us so much more to enjoy since then: this post barely scratches the surface, but I felt the need to listen to his music today and to share my sadness at his passing.

So R.I.P. Mr Loaf: I may not have agreed with your politics, but you sure made some great music. Thanks for those musical memories 🤘😢

70 thoughts on “R.I.P. Mr Loaf

  1. Pingback: The Month Of January | Take It Easy

    • Thanks, Yvette. I’m a big fan of the big guy so it felt like the right thing to do.

      I’ve seen a few episodes of Monk but not the one you mention. I never really took to it: it always seemed to me like they were making fun of the autistic, OCD elements of the character, and I felt uncomfortable watching that as ‘entertainment.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi – I never expected to like a show like Monk – but maybe a few more episodes could show some of the quality writing – or not – and the episode with meatloaf is not on my a list – liked it okay – but a handful of episodes are on m A list and touched my heart in big ways

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      • It’s on one of the streaming services I subscribe to, so maybe I’ll try it again – on a wet day, when I’m bored out of my skull! I did have difficulty getting past their treatment of a mental health condition as something to be made fun of, though.

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      • hahahah – yeah = it seems like it made a bad impression and you might not ever get past that to find some of the seriously beautiful writing – ((because those first impressions can be so potent) and also – it just might not be your thing – right?

        And one small part of the show that bothered me for a short while – (I looked past it for the sake of it being a comedy drama show) but it was Natalie being so cheerful and so close to Monk – when in reality working with someone with a similar pathology would drain a lot more.
        But they do some things to balance it out – for example – in “Mr Monk on Wheels” (where he encounters a scientist who makes square tomatoes) but in that episode he is overworking Natalie and they kind of work things out.

        and so even if not totally realistic. the friendships Monk has with Natalie – and Disher and the captain – are part of what tugged my heart on the show.
        in the episode “mr monk gets drunk” (on my a list) Monk is tipsy and calls Captain Leland “Cappie” and there is this deep platonic love felt that regular viewers likely soaked up even more.

        oh and this past week my son was over and as we had dinner – he asked “want to watch a Monk?”
        we watched “Mr Monk and the actor” and you might like that one = it is a little heavy on the ending but I think they did a good job at highlighting some of the trauma connected to Monk’s pathology.

        🙂

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      • I’m sure I’m missing a lot, as you have so eloquently explained. I just find difficulty getting over that first hurdle of the show’s approach to mental illness!

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      • yes, and rightfully so because mental illness is not to be played with. (and still find it so cool that your mental health posts get so many hits – and the lens artist theme for this week is “travel that changes us” and the post – Amy – shared Anthony Bourdain posts and not sure if you know his story – but his mental health issues led to suicide – and so let’s give the topic the reverse it deserves)
        – so the “comdedrama” part is on my radar a lot. In the episode with mr Monk and the Actor – things start off with Mr Monk making progress and he is moving away from step one (something like that) and Natalie is all joyful and it has this upbeat feel. Then the ending has Mr Monk and the actor wrestling on the floor with a very intense depth of emotion of mr Monk identifying some possible guilt for not going with his wife when she was killed by a car bomb. The episode ends with Monk in his psychiatrist’s office and is back to square one – and asks for appointments on Monday Wednesday, and Friday – then tues – adds in Thursday – and then (the humor) insists on Saturday appointments too – Dr Kroger reluctantly agrees and says for a week or two –
        so that kind of bother my counselor side because it is NOT REALISTIC (and I do not think a person should have the same doctor and then just keep going to therapy – and I think many counselors agree that there should be periods of time where the person goes out and practices what is learned (it of course depends on the type of counseling and needs)
        anyhow, I explain all that because I could knit pick so much in the show (and not saying you were doing that) but I do filter that out to get the story.
        — and when we were picking episodes, I was surprised at how many were on my B and C list. I still like them – but it was like, “no, no, no, no – and then yes, this one or that one” – so I am glad I had the chance to get into the show.
        fortuitous for me as well – because I never would have sat down to watch this (it didn’t appeal to me) but my son was watching Mr Monk and the Three Julies (not sure if I already told you) and it had a little connection with the terminator – (first movie – which is a top movie for me) and so had I not been for that – I would have never dived in –
        oh and one more criticism of the show – is the constant put down of Randy Disher – well sometimes they stop the subtle berating – and I know society has this happen a lot – where someone has a little dunce side – but that is a pet peeve.

        and hope your weekend is going well (with or without Monk) ha

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      • I’m afraid you still haven’t convinced me, sorry! As I said, I may get around to it someday but don’t hold your breath!

        My Monk-less weekend is going well, thanks. Hope yours is good too 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • hahaha – no Monk for me this weekend (with the exception of mentioning the Las Vegas episode in my recent post)
        and even if you never watch it – I am glad to have chatted a bit about one of favorite shows….

        Liked by 1 person

      • hahaha – no withdrawals yet – and we have some little quips and phrases that come up to help prevent that (hahahaha )
        for example, in mr Monk and the UFO (2009)- there is a scene where they insist on seeing if Monk has a belly button – and at one point he replies
        “Never…”
        and it is done in such a way that even the hubs loved it.
        and so once in a while, we will use that exact way he said it when we are saying never to something – and that happened this weekend –

        oh and thanks for the comment there on the post….. a-peace-e-ate it C

        Liked by 1 person

      • well not too obsessive (I hope) hahah
        but I usually have a good memory and we have a few shows that have a phrase or too stick with us (Bourne Identity, family Man, and a few Monk episodes) – I have seen every episode at least once.
        but no more Monk talk – for now at least, – but enjoyed our comment chatting C
        😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi – I have a short term memory with many shows (and books – lol) and Clive – even with own writing I can forget – – like just recently found old journal and simmer it – and was like “Did I write that?”

        and with that said – it seems like with the music you have a sharp noggin – eh?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading. From what you say I’m guessing you’re from the US? I don’t think it was released as a single there, so the video probably didn’t get played.

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  3. Pingback: Weekend Wrap-up Jan 21: And now the good news . . . | Lines by Leon

  4. I wasn’t a big fan, but there is no doubt the man and his music left a mark. I was shocked to discover Meatloaf wasn’t inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That is a staggering insult, he definitely deserves such recognition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He did indeed. Truly a larger than life character. That Hall of Fame is a joke, if you look at some of those who have been inducted and those who haven’t. He is far from being the only worthy candidate to be overlooked – Warren Zevon is another. Yet they allow rappers and R&B acts in – not my definition of rock and roll!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry to read about this earlier today. I played my vinyl Bat Out of Hell album more than any other for a year or more. Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. great tribute; one of my all-time favorites as well. the BOOH album is in my top five, my favorite track is the title track. I played that track today at full blast – the way it is meant to be played.

    I was not familiar with the song with Cher, but that was outstanding. I’m a big fan of Cher as well.

    I’m not sure what his politics were, but his music was outstanding…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim. I think all of his music is meant to be played at the max! I’ve played a few today as well.

      I don’t think Dead Ringer was released as a single there, so it probably didn’t have the same profile as here. Good to see Cher before she went synthetic, too. I’m not a fan of hers – after she murdered a great Marc Cohn song she didn’t stand a chance with me!

      His politics were pretty right wing, and he is on public record saying nice things about the former guy and his idiot offspring. Definitely a case of ignoring that and just listening to his music 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Never been a record buying fan but I’ve just realised how much I like those songs. Also, I can’t deny he is a good front man…and from all accounts a nice guy. I believe he made his first and last UK debut in Manchester – a place he liked so much – so he must be an OK guy. Thanks for a nice piece Clive.

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  8. Great tribute.
    Meatloaf and I never had a great relationship. There is no doubting his significance to the music industry but I just wasn’t a fan. That said always find it sad when a significant contributor to music leaves us.

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  9. Clive, well done. “Bat out of Hell” is one of the finest rock and roll albums ever and is on many short lists as such. it is wall to wall filled with great songs, three of which you highlighted. He will be missed. I hope he gets the attention he deserves. I was in Walmart today and heard “I’d do anything for love” over the store sound system. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Keith. I saw your post earlier – it seems we were both fans! You’re right about Bat Out Of Hell: I could easily have played all of its tracks. Nice that Walmart were honouring his memory.

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  10. Pingback: R.I.P. Mr Loaf — Take It Easy | Lines by Leon

  11. One of those guys… An admitted, even unabashed favourite for many, like yourself, and more of a guilty pleasure for certain songs, like myself… But a huge presence in every way for so many of us and, apart from politics seemingly well liked, and ahem, a larger than life figure. A trouper too.. Had down patches and not too proud to play some out of the way places and gigs, even in small town Ireland. Some man, alright

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