When did Meat Loaf stop being cool? (I mean the singer, not the dish made with ground meat. Loaves of ground meat are obviously always cool.) I ran across a couple wisecracks lately that painted him as some kind of fat wannabe, and this just won’t do. For one thing, he’s not fat anymore; and for another, it shows a striking lack of knowledge of history. In his prime, after Bat Out of Hell, there wasn’t anyone cooler than Meatloaf. He packed stadiums full of screaming, fainting fans as well as anyone. That album is the #5 highest selling of all time world-wide, beating anything by the Beatles, Springsteen, or Madonna, to name a few. I remember when everyone knew the words to the sports-announcer part of Paradise by the Dashboard Light. No question, Meat Loaf is cool.
I always liked his music because it seemed like his songs were more than just the usual rock. They were just bigger somehow. For one thing, he had a huge voice—he could really wail, as we used to say. I don’t know anyone who seems to throw himself into his singing more than Meat Loaf. The guy has to be exhausted at the end of every song. On some songs he was backed up by an orchestra, or sounded like he should have been. There was just a lot more there than a guy singing along to a couple of guitars and a pair of drums for 3-4 minutes. Like classical music, some of his biggest songs had actual movements: fast or slow, loud or soft, dissimilar stretches of a song that fit together to tell a story. I often thought if you took out the words, a lot of his songs would sound right at home in a symphony hall.
This song is a good example of that. It’s about 9 minutes long, and it starts with a 4 minute quiet part that would count as a pretty good rock ballad all by itself for a different band. Then he really gets started, and kicks into a couple higher gears along the way. Unfortunately, there are some popping and stereo artifacts in this recording, but I picked it because it has some pictures to look at. Just pretend it’s 1985 and you’re listening to the album on your home phonograph with a couple pennies taped to the arm to keep it from skipping. This would have seemed like an incredibly clear recording to us back then, but nowadays any imperfection really stands out.
Here’s For Crying Out Loud, by Meat Loaf.Meat Loaf,
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