Cumbria Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Graham Clark
Features Writer
9:38 PM 21st January 2022

Remembering Meat Loaf

Back in 1977 when the music scene was a mixture of disco and punk, the thought of anyone releasing an album that contained songs considered epic, overblown and Wagner-like lasting up to nine minutes, appeared to be going against the grain.

Having sold over 43 million albums worldwide Bat Out of Hell went on to become one of the most successful albums of all time. The grandiose songs written by Jim Steinman were brought to life by the powerful vocals of Michael Lee Aday better known by his stage name Meat Loaf.

The songs from the album such as Bat Out of Hell, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad and You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth have become modern rock classics.

I can remember hearing You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth for the first time in the spring of 1978 and thinking 'what the heck is this?'- it seemed such a powerful and theatrical statement for a song that sounded like it had come out of a musical being totally different to anything else that was current.

Having saved up enough pocket money to buy the Bat Out of Hell album it opened me up to another world of music. Classical overtones mixed with the wall of sound production techniques of Phil Spector, set against melodic songs topped off with the mighty vocals of Meat Loaf, made for something totally unique.

It was not until the mid eighties that I got the chance to see Meat Loaf live in concert. Imagine the delight of a young Meat Loaf fan managing to buy tickets for the front row at the Manchester Apollo, I could not sleep a week before the concert!

He did not let any of his fans down, even by the fourth song in, he was sweating profusely. I remember him shaking his sweat over the front rows - I did not want to get washed for a week. He put his heart and soul into that performance - as with all the subsequent times I saw him.

By the early nineties he was back playing the big arenas touring the Bat Out of Hell 2 album - the songs were as long but just as mighty as ever. Even the Number One single I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) went on for over eight minutes.

It was not until 2016 when our paths crossed again. The show Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical was due to have its premiere at the Manchester Opera House. Based on the three Bat Out of Hell albums the young cast gave invited guests to a short synopsis of songs from the show,

Afterwards the producer gave a talk about the musical adding at the close of his speech: “I have a special guest to introduce to you” when out of the shadows steps Meat Loaf! Looking thinner than in the past he gave a heartfelt talk about how the songs from Bat Out of Hell had changed his life. His passion and enthusiasm still shone even if it was nearly forty years on from when he first recorded the songs.

The music world has lost another legend. Heaven Can Wait is a song from the first Bat Out of Hell album - the waiting is now over for Meat Loaf though for his fans around the world his memory will live on.

Born: September 27, 1947 Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Died: January 20, 2022 (aged 74)