Monsters of Rock 1983
Donington Park, 20th August 1983 — Official Programme
Meat Loaf is big — both on records and in real life. The hefty singer, born about three and a half decades ago as Marvin Lee Aday, was raised in Dallas, Texas, and paid many rock ‘n’ roll dues before the 1977 release of Bat Out Of Hell, an album that has become as big as the man himself. Bat Out Of Hell has broken about as many records as it’s sold. With sales to date topping the eight million mark, ‘Bat’ toppled Saturday Night Fever from the top of the charts in Australia. It is the biggest-selling LP ever in Holland, and has rarely been out of the charts in the U.K. since its release…260 weeks in total on the U.K. charts as of April, 1983. In addition, consider these achievements: an incredible twelve times Platinum in Canada; and equally incredible ten times Platinum in Australia; five times Platinum in Holland; three times Platinum in the U.K.; three times Platinum in the U.S.; and enough Gold throughout the world to keep a miner busy for years.
How did such phenomenal success come about? Meat Loaf’s odyssey to the top began in the 1960’s, with touring bands like his own Popcorn Blizzard as support to heavy outfits like Ted Nugent (on whose Epic album Free For All Meat Loaf sang). Later on, he joined the touring company of the theatrical play ‘Hair’ and continued to combine his thespian talents with with music, landing a starring role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie that continues to draw large and rabid audiences wherever it is shown. Shortly thereafter, Meat Loaf met up with songwriter Jim Steinman at an audition for one of dramatist Steinman’s plays. Jim recalls:
I had been in this big fight and had my nose badly broken by this 6 foot 2 inch lady biker with a tattoo! I couldn’t sing…so Meat came along and I thought THIS GUY IS MY VOICE! HE SHOULD BE SINGING WAGNERIAN ROCK OPERA!! After much sweat and frustration, the pair found a home for the dynamic Bat Out Of Hell at Epic Records. And, the rest, as they say, is history — rock ‘n’ roll history that is.
The distance between Bat Out Of Hell and Meat Loaf’s new rock blitz, Midnight At The Lost And Found, is a saga that might make a great rock movie one day. While working on various movies (most prominently Roadie, with Debbie Harry of Blondie) Meat Loaf worked on coming up with an worthy successor to his classic debut. But, with the strain of touring all over the world, he ended up in need of voice therapy. During that rehabilitation period, songs which might have been part of the ‘Bat’ follow-up became Jim Steinman’s first solo album, Bad For Good. Eventually, after much press speculation concerning the nature of just what changes Meat Loaf’s voice might have undergone, the album Dead Ringer emerged in 1981 to prove that, if anything, the man-mountain was raunchier than ever. Bat Out Of Hell may have had every track issued as a 45 (not to mention being released in picture-disc and audiophile half-speed pressings to boot), but Dead Ringer had as its title track a fabulous duet with Cher; and the chemistry created on tape and video made it a popular single around the globe. Even more, the album itself, continued the string of Platinum and Gold awards earned from North America, Europe, and Australia that its predecessor had initiated.
Now comes the latest episode in the Meat Loaf saga, Midnight At The Lost And Found, produced by rock veteran/legend Tom Dowd (Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin). It’s the first Meat Loaf album not to feature the songwriting prowess of Jim Steinman, so amid much media buzz about this and other aspects of his career here are the facts behind all those rumours, and they’re straight from the source:
Meat on Jim Steinman:
He didn’t return my calls for a long time, so I just went ahead and did this record anyway. But we’re still friends, and he says that he wants to work on the next record after this one, so…
Meat on Midnight At The Lost And Found, his new album:
It’s a guitar record, I like guitars! It’s not as operatic, because Jim writes that stuff, that’s what he does…but it has the same emotion as before, it sounds like me, it feels like me! I wound up hitting higher notes than I ever did on the other two. I pushed myself to the limit! Tom Dowd said,
Meat, you can really sing, you have a great voice and I want to make people understand that. That’s why I like it!
There’s a song called ‘Priscilla’ that I love on here. It sounds like a Jim Steinman song, only using Ska!…There’s a great song by the guitar player Dick Wagner called ‘Fallen Angel’. There’s one called ‘Razor’s Edge’ where the band puts in a jazzy, Doors-type part that they wouldn’t let me hear ‘cause they thought I’d hate it, but I loved it! I love guitars…
Meat on his new role as songwriter:
Yeah, Midnight At The Lost And Found is the story of all these people in this bar…I worked with all the guys on the songs, most of ‘em anyway, with the exception of the one called ‘Don’t Look At Me Like That’, I dunno who even wrote that one…I didn’t like it, but we changed it and let Gary Rossington (ex Lynyrd Skynyrd/Rossington Collins Band) and Rick Derringer play duelling guitars on it. Now it’s real powerful at the end!
And why Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land”?
Aaaah, because I’d been doing it for so long that everybody said I should cut it…We narrowed the LP down to nine songs but it wasn’t flowing, and somebody said,
Hey, we cut it and it’s good and you’ve been doing it so long live that it’s kind of become your trademark. And it’s like this guy sitting in this bar imagining what it’d be like to take this journey.
One thing’s for sure. Midnight At The Lost And Found is not the last journey that Meat Loaf will be taking. That’s what happens when you’re BIG. The journey just gets more interesting. Believe it!
|‘Bat Out Of Hell’||- EPC 82419||20.1.78|
|‘Dead Ringer’||- EPC 83645||4.9.81|
|‘Midnight At The Lost & Found’||- EPC 25243||29.4.83|