MEAT Loaf is a big man. Six feet tall in his absolute theatrical stockings.
But he is a man of the family, or according to him.
“Some of my family members are 7 feet tall, and some weigh 700lb,” announced the singer, who died yesterday at the age of 74.
“The men next to me in the family are huge. I am the smallest of all the men at my father’s side”.
I met him once, and he was right. It was behind the scenes at an awards ceremony in London in the 1990s, and he was on trial in his dressing room.
He was forced into a shiny evening suit, obviously tailored for a much smaller man, and he looked a little ridiculous.
But he still looks cool. After all, he was Meatloaf.
“Hello,” he said, flashing a beaming showbiz smile. “I am Meat,” as if he had said it all his life.
And in a way, he did. His birth name is Marvin Lee Aday, but has been called Meat Loaf since he was a boy. For less obvious reasons.
He told Oprah Winfrey in 2016 where his name came from.
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“I got it when I was four days old. Not the Loaf part, just the Meat part, because I was born bright red.
“The doctor suggested that they keep me in the hospital for a few days and my dad said, ‘He looks like a nine-and-a-half pound piece of meat.
“I want you to put a nametag on the front of that plastic cot with Meat on it.” “
The second part of his name came when he was in high school.
“I stepped on a football coach’s foot and he yelled, ‘Get off my foot, you meatloaf bastard’.”
When I met him, everyone knew him as Meat Loaf.
Backstage at the awards ceremony, as soon as he stopped shaking my hand, he threw his head back and yelled like a wolf, almost as if he were barking at the moon.
He may have sung to the noise the band – which I remember as Coldplay – was making on stage, but he could have done what Meat Loaf did better than most people: Sing very loudly, in a different way people can.
I’ve loved his music since I first heard it in 1977, when he released his debut album. Bats out of hell. It was written for him by musician Jim Steinman.
It wasn’t cool – at the time you were really only allowed to like punk or disco – but I didn’t care.
‘My dad flipped out’
It turned out to be one of the best-selling records in history, shipping over 40 million copies, three million of them in the UK.
The music is melodious and melodramatic and there is a giant tongue in the cheek.
It dates back to the days of Phil Spector and was recorded with Bruce Springsteen’s band. But it sounds like nothing on earth.
The single You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth from the album was a huge hit around the world, and it has remained one of my favorites ever since.
In fact, I love his music so much that I was also one of the few people who went to see the musical Bat Out Of Hell when it premiered in London a few years ago.
In between, Meat Loaf has had an extraordinary and difficult life.
He eventually fell out with Steinman, and although they did collaborate on several subsequent films – including 1993’s Bat Out Of Hell II, which contained the blockbuster single I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Will don’t do it) – they still resent each other’s success.
Meat Loaf was born on September 27, 1947, in Dallas, Texas, the son of an alcoholic police officer.
His mother was a school teacher who sang in the girls’ gospel quartet, and it was she who instilled in her son a love of performing. But he’s a complicated guy, both extroverted and introverted, so it’s hard to find the confidence needed to sustain his career.
There is also such a big problem.
No rock star before him looked like Meat Loaf.
After his mother died of cancer in 1966, when the singer was 19 years old, his father attacked him with a knife.
Meat Loaf recalls: “My father blew it. I went into my bedroom and my father rushed at me with a butcher knife, like in a movie. I rolled out of bed and the knife hit the middle of the bed.”
He realized that it was time to leave home and set off for Los Angeles.
There he found early success as an actor, playing bit roles.
In 1971, he starred in the musical Naked Hair and four years later he appeared in the camp series The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Then he appeared in Spice World in 1997, play Spice Girls ‘bus driver, and the 1999 film Fight Club. What changed his life was his relationship with the creative genius Steinman, whom he met while auditioning for a play.
They spent three years writing and recording Bat Out Of Hell, only to spend another two years trying to find a record label willing to release it.
After appearing on Saturday Night Live in 1978, the record hit and Meat Loaf became a star.
Subsequent hits came hard and fast, but he suffered a breakdown in his voice from drinking too much, enduring a painful divorce, and is often so shy and timid that he hates going to meals. showbiz party.
1979 he married his first wife, Leslie, a secretary at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, where he filmed Bat Out Of Hell.
Producer Todd Rundgren recounted that Meat Loaf won her over by delivering her a giant whole salmon.
“It was as if a bear had proposed to its mate,” he recalls. Instead of a ring, a salmon.”
The two were married within a month, and Meat adopted his new wife’s daughter, Pearl. He and Leslie went on to have another daughter, Amanda.
They broke up after 21 years and he later married Canadian Deborah Gillespie in 2007. She was by his side when he passed away.
Health problems plagued him throughout his life – and so did the accident.
As he once noted: “I fell three stories, got wrecked, almost tripped, made emergency landings so many times that I should have died.”
He overcame a back injury five years ago that he said “hurts like hell”.
He added in his own inimitable style: “It didn’t hurt when I sat but when I stood up, it was like I was in the movie Psycho, stabbed by Norman Bates.”
In the years that followed, he had to have his knee replaced, which made it difficult for him to perform.
And to try to alleviate some of his long-standing allergies, he’ll drink a concoction containing his own urine. Rock and roll!
He is famous for his myths. He once claimed to have given serial killer Charles Manson a ride.
Another story he told was how Secret Service drove his car in Dallas the day JFK was shot in 1963. One of his other infamous yarns involved Prince Andrew.
He claims the Duke of York was rough on him in 1987 while the two were filming the charity event It’s A Royal Knockout.
Apparently the prince thought the mighty Loaf was flirting with his future wife Fergie, and he tries to push him into a moat.
He apparently said to him: “Don’t you know who I am? You mustn’t touch me, I’m a royal.”
Flirting with Fergie
Meat Loaf, unimpressed by Andrew’s predictable goofy behavior, grabbed his royal lapel and yelled like a wolf: “I don’t consider you to be!”
He passed away yesterday after a career that hit phenomenal heights, while he himself had been through appalling lows.
Troubled by health problems towards the end of his life, he was never able to fully reconcile the twin elements of his character.
On the one hand he is a larger-than-life introvert, and on the other an insecure extrovert.
He has the talent and the success, if not the easiest start. But as he once sang powerfully: Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad.
https://www.thesun.ie/tvandshowbiz/8245567/meatloaf-dylan-jones-yelled-wolf/ I met Meat Loaf and he screamed like a wolf