Author: Mick Wall
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
I really am stuck with where to start here, Meat Loaf was part of the sound track to my childhood and a love for his music was fostered by my folks. I’m sure in the early days I listened under sufferance and probably complained the entire time; but over time I grew to love and appreciate the music.
The iconic career jettisoning album Bat Out of Hell has recently celebrated it’s 40th Anniversary and Bat Out of Hell: The Musical has just opened. Let me just say I am very sad that it opened elsewhere and I would love to see it make an appearance in my city; it’s definitely one I would head out to see. So it seems that now would be the perfect time to release a biography and go behind the name to meet the man.
Growing up I wasn’t actually aware that Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman were two separate people, a lot of that would be because the breakout album, Bat Out of Hell, was released the year after I was born. By the time I was old enough to appreciate it, it was already a classic. I was all about the music and not really interested any further than that, I didn’t delve into the story behind it.
You really can’t look at the life and career of Meat Loaf without Jim Steinman. They may have both done other things and had projects apart from one another but I don’t think either would be the household name they are without their collaboration. In my mind, and my heart, the two names will always be joined and synonymous with heavy hits.
Mick Wall is a music journalist and bestselling author of definitive rock bios. He knows his craft, he knows his industry and the way he puts it all together has a poetry all of its own.
Wall has looked at the career of Meat Loaf from the beginning and examined the inextricable link between Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. The lawsuits, the feuding, the epic highs and the devastating lows.
It was interesting to read the direct correlation between the careers of Steinman and Meat Loaf, it seems that though they are both extremely talented in their own right they are more than just the sum of their parts. Their success can not be shared equally. As one rode the waves of success the other was destined to languish in the ebb of mediocrity.
There have been biographies before and Meat Loaf co-wrote an autobiography, To Hell and Back, with David Dalton. Wall has read all the material, the interviews, the articles and spoken to those closest to the pair to bring the larger than life phenomenon that is Meat Loaf into sharp perspective.
Too often I think we forget that celebrities are ordinary people away from the limelight and Wall has definitely demonstrated the sharp contrast between the on stage and public persona of Meat Loaf and the shy, insecure fat kid who learned early on to play a role and create a persona to escape the bullying.
Steinman’s career is also examined and I loved reading about the breadth of his songwriting career. I have always knows there were some songs he’d written for other musicians, Total Eclipse of the Heart is unmistakably Steinman, but there are some that I was completely unaware of; though now that I know, I can certainly see it.
I am left with a wealth of new information and a yearning to scour the net to find the albums I missed, even though some are sure to be obscure and hard to find. Hearing them described intrigues me and a lot of the songs have been reworked and rerecorded. Meat Loaf ended up with some of the Steinman songs recorded by other musicians and I enjoy the comparison.
Bad For Good is an album that I do have, I grabbed it on sight not knowing that there was no sign of Meat Loaf. The songs are still epic but they certainly lack that extra something Meat Loaf brings to the mix so I am left wanting to discover all of the lesser known albums I missed in between.
The acting career was also something I was unaware of. I knew Meat Loaf had appeared in a couple of movies but I was not aware of the scope of his acting career, and again, I am left wanting to search them all out. Possibly because I’m procrastinating…
Like a Bat Out of Hell: The Larger Than Life Story of Meat Loaf is an interesting and comprehensive look at the life and careers of both Marvin Aday (Meat Loaf) and Jim Steinman, one not to be missed by fans both new and old.
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