Good morning, y’all. Well, the skies are still blue, but so are we. It’s cold again and the wind is making it worse. We didn’t get a drop of rain from the promised typhoon that was supposed to deliver inches of rain. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t even watch Channel 11 and the Whiz O Meter without verbally responding to the TV. “Yeah, right”, is my most frequent response. At least the one I can reprint.
Well, since the weather was dry, I took the opportunity to spread mulch and pine straw on the assorted flower beds here at TackyToo. I took my Walkman along to keep me company. I brought along some of the classic ’70’s cassette tapes I found last week. I was counting on the earbuds to keep the wind out of my ears. I was also counting on the music to liven up my mood and to make these old bones feel younger. Song selection is very important.
While I had a passel of tapes to pick from, I only chose the tapes that I knew would put a spring in my step. As it turned out, I only needed to bring one tape. I started my playlist with “Bat Out Of Hell”, by Meat Loaf. Meat Loaf passed a few weeks ago and I just picked the tape because it was a favorite, not a tribute or anything. I’m kind of mad at him anyhow for tempting the Corona, but I guess that’s between him and his maker now.
Anyhow, I got into such a groove after the first playing that I just kept looping it for the next two hours. It was the music, and the words, and the memories of when I first heard the songs. I know I appreciated the words back in the ’70’s, but I might have not “heard” them as well as I do today. As much as I enjoyed “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” back then, I marvel at the almost operatic telling of the classic teenage love story played out in the front seat of a parked car. It was such a terrific album, with no “throw away” songs. I appreciate the consistency of quality even more today.
Now, I know the first question everybody asks is, “who names their kid, Meat Loaf?” No one actually, but Marvin Lee Aday was nicknamed “Meatloaf” by his abusive father. Apparently Meat Loaf got his size from his Dad and his singing ability from his Mom. His Mom was in a gospel group and appears to be the influence behind Meat Loaf’s gospel like sound and performances. While he was still a teenager, Meat Loaf’s abusive father drove Meat Loaf from home, never to return. As the story goes, Meat Loaf bought the next plane ticket out of Dallas, and it didn’t matter where it was going. Turns out it was going to Los Angeles, where Meat Loaf and his group found plenty of work opening for other musicians.
When not performing, Meat Loaf and his good friend Jim Steinman wrote songs in hopes of selling them to a record company. The songs for “Bat Out Of Hell” were rejected by multiple recording companies before finally finding a believer in Cleveland International Records. What a break for all concerned. “Bat Out Of Hell” has sold more than 43 million copies since its release. After almost 40 years, the album still sells an estimated 200,000 copies a year. It is one of the best selling albums of all time and has been ranked by Rolling Stone as number 343 in their top 500 albums of all time. Not too bad, for a singer whose stage name comes from his Mom’s favorite food.
Well, I don’t know if I can pick a favorite song on the album, they all strike a chord with me in some way. I guess I’m real partial to the trilogy on side two where the female lead asks for a commitment of undying love “until the end of time” in return for her “favors”. Meat Loaf relents and promises to love her “until the end of time”. In the last song of the trilogy he is praying for the end of time so he can “end his time with you”. I mean that’s some high quality story telling that you won’t find in a “Led Zeppelin” album.
I may have to put the DVD “Bat Out Of Hell“ set on my Christmas list this year.