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R.I.P Meat Loaf: You rocked my world

Bat from Hell and I Would do Anything for Love singer passes away at 74

Meat Loaf performs at a concert in New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18, 2007. AP
Meat Loaf performs at a concert in New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18, 2007. AP

Allan Jacob

Published: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:07 PM

Dramatic. Energetic. Theatrical. Like a musical. The louder it was played, the better it sounded, and the more pleasure fans derived while lost in the unique, robust harmony.

It could be enjoyed more with the neighbors while waking the pets from a stupor. Sadly, there’s not a dry eye in the house with Meat Loaf’s passing at 74 on Thursday.

This rocker hit fans in the gut. They were the chosen ones who had an enormous musical appetite and were in the mood for his high octaves.

The ones who were willing to savor and digest the larger-than-music experience he dished out on stage and his videos that were a smash hit on MTV during the nineties.

The Meat’s only rider: you must prepare to listen and watch the show till the end. His songs were rather long, his critics complained, but he was definitely made rock an experience.

Marvin Lee Day (Meat’s real name) would give his all and mean it as he belted out numbers like I Would Do Anything for Love, the romantic hit that cemented his place as a cult figure in rock, and Bat from Hell, his breakout classic from 1977.

Meat Loaf’s rock was mellower and arguably a richer experience, though less metallic than metal or hard rock.

He packed in piano interludes while retaining the riffs of the electric guitar that defined the hard version. There were similarities with Freddy Mercury but Meat was less mercurial. He was also down to earth.

He wanted to be known less as a star and more as a human being with passion and emotion than the rock legends of his age.

His musical intensity was the show-stealer, and he could rock for more than three hours during performances with his raw vocal range that was the envy of other performers.

Yes, there was a certain rawness in Meat’s music if one sank teeth into it. In fact, he liked to be called Meat.

He would start slowly, deliberately, mournfully, and into a crescendo-like climax that would melt metal away.

For me, this was uplifting music, the kind of soul-stirring stuff that came in handy while I was on the road and had had enough of the blues.

It was called soft rock in the 80s’. I discovered his strain of music as a kid which many dismissed as easy-to-listen-rock.

It grew on me into my teens in the nineties and encompassed me in mid-life; held me in an embrace and rocked my world.

This was rock for the ages, for the young and the old, and for the uninitiated who want to discover Meat Loaf and his classics like I’d lie for you and that’s the truth that the MTV generation, of which I am part of, swooned to.

Meat Loaf’s best output was from the mid-seventies to the nineties, but his legacy will live on through his musical energy in an age of virtual concerts.

There is indeed Paradise by the Dashboard Lights with a sampling of Meat. Heaven couldn’t wait for his music.

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