Friday, 28 January 2022

Marvin Lee (Part 3)

I've read a fair few obits over the past few days that were written by people who clearly weren't actually Meat Loaf fans, or who are rather embarrassed to admit that they were. (Or, as Rigid Digit pointed out, were suddenly trying to reclaim him after years of indifference.)

I like to kid myself that I stopped trying to convince other people to love the same music I love many years ago... but really, isn't that one of the reasons we music-blog in the first place? I've always acknowledged that I'm fighting a losing battle against the musos and the Cool Police when it comes to Meat though. Doesn't mean I have to stop trying.

One of the most egregious falsehoods I've seen repeated over the past few days is that there's no worth to any Meat Loaf album that isn't a collaboration with Steinman. While it's good to see Jim get the respect he so rarely receives from the press, I also find myself bristling, because Meat always put 150% into any song he performed, and some of those non-Steinman tunes really stand up on their own... in any world where they weren't being compared with the best Jim had to offer. 

So here are five great non-Steinman Meat recordings. Are they as good as the best of Meat & Jim together? Of course not, but they easily stand their ground against many other classic rock tunes of the past forty years. These are the ones that came obviously to mind... ten would have required a little more digging.

5. Martha

The Tom Waits tune, given the Surf's Up piano ballad treatment. Waits purists might hate it... but I'm a Waits purist myself, and I love it. It takes all sorts.

4. Midnight At The Lost And Found

Meat and Jim were on the outs when this contractual obligation album was released, and it isn't a great one. (Meat claims Jim had written both Total Eclipse and Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, but management and the record company were also fighting with Jim at that point and refused to pay him. 

Despite all that, I've always had a great fondness for the title track... maybe because for many years, I actually thought it was a Steinman tune. The song itself might not stand up to comparison, but Meat gives it 110% as always, and makes me love it.

3. I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth)

Following the success of Bat II, the record company couldn't persuade Jim to keep playing ball. Instead, they shelled out for Diane Warren, queen of the power ballad, and told her to do her best impersonation of Jim. She certainly gave it a good shot with the title... though once you've compared the tune to If I Could Turn Back Time or Don't Want To Miss A Thing, you may come to realise she's something of a one trick pony. Still, at least the jockey was on top form. 

2. Modern Girl

Written by husband & wife songwriting team Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee, otherwise known as ex-National Lampoon collaborators who went on to write songs for Sesame Street and Dora The Explorer. 

That manic glee of their kids TV songs, when turned up to 11, seems the perfect fit for Meat. Modern Girl is everything you want from him... close your eyes, and it might as well be Steinman.

1. Los Angeloser

The least "Meat Loaf" song on this list. Whereas all the others at least try to ape the Steinman-esque pomp, or at least the OTT rock 'n' roll theatrics of Meat's life performance, Los Angeloser ditches all that for something quite unique. A little bit line dance country, a little bit "Gimme Hope Jo'annna", a little bit Nic Cage does Elvis, a little bit Jimmy Swaggart, a whole lot brilliant. Never fails to make me grin from ear to ear...

Thus concludes Meat Loaf week. Rest in peace, good buddy. Thanks for all the years of fun.


  1. Gosh, a part three. I know this has been a tough loss for you. As for the Cool Police, they can't actually arrest us, so no worries there.

    Always thought Midnight At The Lost And Found was a Jim song - As you say Meat always gave it 110% so always a big performance.

    1. I heard they can give you a pretty hefty fine...

  2. A fine list (and good to see Midnight At The Lost and Found and Modern Girl in there).
    Can I also add / suggest Blind Before I Stop and Rock n Roll Mercenaries

    1. They would have been in the 10, along with Razor's Edge and Bad Attitude.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...