I don't remember not knowing who Meat Loaf was, which makes sense as I was 2 years old when Bat Out of Hell was released. And, of course, I appreciated his performance in Rocky Horror, and reteaming with Jim Steinman for Bat Out of Hell II.
But I still remember one Christmas when I was in college my brother and I slipping out after the folks and company went to bed and we headed for a bar that had been there forever, with a jukebox that hadn't seen much rotation since it had been put in place. It was a shitty little bar with a clear brand of clientele which we didn't really match, most of whom seemed to be regulars and knew each other, and just as our beers hit the table, the jukebox started with Bat Out of Hell and someone had put in money to play the entire album in order.
I don't know why, but that night I became totally sold on that album.
Whatever world Jim Steinman wrote songs for (Steinman passed in April) and Meat Loaf sings about is a world that resonates like hell with me. And, apparently, the be-mulleted denizens of Molly Maguire's Irish Pub in Spring, Texas circa Christmas 1995. But, yeah, it's a musical theater version of rock and roll, where the already heightened melodrama of romance, heartbreak and all the usual faire of radio rock is raised to rock opera levels. And at the center, Meat Loaf's sincerity anchors what sh/could be absurd, putting a broken hero at the middle of it.
Here's to you and one of the best selling albums of all-time, sir. The record seems like an unlikely candidate to grab that mantle, and I'm so glad it has.
Mr. Loaf also acted. A LOT. His occasional health issues and personal demons may have kept him from some choices and maybe off the live stage, but he leaves behind not just his music but plentiful roles and screentime.