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Rock superstar Meat Loaf wore his ‘unhip’ status like a badge of honour

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THEY don’t make ’em like Meat Loaf any more.

In 2022, the next chart sensation is more likely be called Vegan Sausage Roll and they’d almost certainly be strumming an acoustic guitar.

Splash

Meat Loaf was over the top and celebrated being one of a kind[/caption]

Theatrical, bombastic, larger than life, ridiculous, Meat Loaf was possibly the most OTT act to scale pop’s dizziest heights.

Throughout his career he wore his unhip status like a badge of honour, defying the prevailing trends with his frilly shirts and attention-grabbing antics set in some mock-Gothic nightmare.

OK, he was a bit of a one-trick pony . . . Bat Out Of Hell, volumes I, II and III, remain the ultimate rock testament sticking to a winning formula. (The results were patchy at best when he veered away.)

Full throttle

The first was released in 1977 at the height of punk, the second in 1993 as Britpop ruled and the third in 2006 when Arctic Monkeys were looking good on the dancefloor.

When that unparalleled holler soared heavenwards from the depths of hell, we sang along, we drove a bit faster and we bought millions of records . . . no matter which era.

In today’s ultra-sensitive social media world, his macho performances may seem outdated and sexist but the women populating his songs like Dead Ringer (Cher) and Paradise By The Dashboard Light (Ellen Foley) were fierce and strong, more than a match for Meat Loaf, in fact.

As for I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), his only UK No1, people continue to speculate on whether “that” refers to a sex act, but the singer always maintained the less salacious answer lies within the verses.

Initially, it was down to the mercurial Jim Steinman to provide the outrageous songs which came over like a turbo-charged cross between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alice Cooper.

There was also a distinct debt to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, who, in 1975, had released the ultimate road trip song Born To Run.


If Bruce romanticised the idea of escaping a humdrum existence, Bat Out Of Hell was altogether darker and the vehicle of choice was a beast of a motorbike on full throttle.

The gory lyrics find the doomed rider being thrown off . . . “And the last thing I see is my heart still beating/Breaking out of my body and flying away.”

And why not, along with the kitchen sink, throw in the sound of a revving bike?

The Shangri-Las had been there first with Leader Of The Pack, but who cares?

Crucial to the first Bat Out Of Hell album was genius producer Todd Rundgren, who sprinkled his magic dust on the recordings.

But Steinman and Rundgren needed Meat Loaf to unleash the monster within to deliver the astonishing, sweat-drenched performance. It’s hard to imagine anyone else coming close.

For certain, there has never been a dead ringer for Meat Loaf.

He was a true and already much missed one of a kind.

Getty

Meat Loaf recorded Bat Out Of Hell with producer Jim Steinman[/caption]



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