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Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam – Meat Loaf

Cleveland International Records’ Steve Popovich Jr. and vocalists Eric Troyer and Kasim Sulton share their tributes to Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf, Blossom Music Center September 6, 1978, Richfield, Ohio, photo by Anastasia Pantsios

Meat Loaf, Blossom Music Center September 6, 1978, Richfield, Ohio, photo by Anastasia Pantsios

Marvin Lee Aday, who later changed his first name to Michael, known professionally as Meat Loaf, passed away January 20 at age 74. Meat Loaf debuted on Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart in 1971 as a duo with Detroit female singer Shaun Murphy as Stoney & Meatloaf with the edgy duet “What You See Is What You Get” on Motown’s Rare Earth label. It would take years of auditions and rejections until Meat Loaf and his musical partner, songwriter Jim Steinman auditioned for Steve Popovich’s new label Cleveland International Records and Popovich enthusiastically signed the duo for the first album for the new label, Bat Out of Hell, which has become one of the biggest selling rock albums of all-time. Three singles from the classic album reached the Top 40 in 1978, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “Paradise by The Dashboard Light,” featuring Ellen Foley and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth.” During the summer tour supporting the success of the album, Meat Loaf was presented with a platinum album for Bat Out of Hell on stage, after performing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” with Karla DeVito, at Blossom Music Center, south of Cleveland.

Meat bat

It would be four more years until the next Meat Loaf album on Cleveland International Records was released, Dead Ringer, with all songs again written by Jim Steinman. The single “I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us” had a sound in line with songs from Bat Out of Hell and its flip side was the exciting opening number “Peel Out,” both featuring Davey Johnstone, from Elton John’s band, on guitar.

Canadian label photo

Canadian label photo

Meat Loaf

Flip side: Peel Out

A side: I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us

Billboard Top 100 Debut: September 19, 1981

Peak position: No. 84

Cleveland International 14-02490

“Read ‘em and Weep,” covered two years later by Barry Manilow, was released as the next single, also from Dead Ringer, the first album with Eric Troyer as a background vocalist, who went to Electric Light Orchestra Part II, now known as simply The Orchestra. Troyer told Goldmine, “Meat Loaf was a bigger than life presence on stage and in the studio. After touring with him in the U.S. and Europe for many years, singing on multiple albums with him, he was always a trip, unexpected, spontaneous and full of life. The music of Jim Steinman with Meat Loaf up front will always have its place in rock.”

The third and final Meat Loaf album on Cleveland International Records was Midnight at the Lost and Found, with the opening number “Razor’s Edge” released as a single in 1983. During this period Meat Loaf was residing in Connecticut as featured in the pair of books by Tony Renzoni, 2017’s Connecticut Rock ‘n’ Roll and the new 2022 release Historic Connecticut Music Venues.

In 1993, as classic rock radio stations were emerging and playing songs from Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf had a tremendous comeback with the Grammy award winning platinum single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” joined by Lorraine Crosby, which spent five weeks at No. 1, from the Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman comeback album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell… Kasim Sulton sang background vocals on the album and told Goldmine, “It is heartbreaking news to learn of the death of my dear friend Meat Loaf. I’m forever grateful for the years spent working with him on stage and in the recording studio. His ability to capture and entertain an audience was a gift. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Meat II

Three more Meat Loaf singles reached the Top 40 in the mid-1990s, “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” and the gold single “I’d Lie For You and That’s the Truth,” joined by Patti Russo.

In 2016, Meat Loaf released what would become his final album Braver Than We Are, with all the songs once again written by Jim Steinman. The album’s longest song, “Going All the Way” had six movements. In his final interview with Goldmine, Meat Loaf said, “’Going All the Way’ is over eleven minutes long. Both of the ‘Paradise’ singers, Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito are on it. It includes what I think is Jim’s most brilliant stanza, ‘There are secrets I never can tell. There are shadows of darkness in heaven. There are so many suburbs of hell, and their hours are 24/7.’”

Meat Braver

Jim Steinman passed away last year. Steve Popovich passed away in 2011 and since then Steve Popovich Jr. has become the leader of Cleveland International Records. Popovich shared with Goldmine, “We are deeply saddened to hear of Meat’s passing. I’m still reeling in the tremendous loss of another Cleveland International Records alum, Ronnie Spector who passed away a little over a week ago. Back in 2019, Meat and I had talked about releasing one final album and putting it out on Cleveland International Records. The album’s title was going to be The Last at Bat. Meat was a musical giant whose legacy will forever be engrained in the city of Cleveland and in the hearts of its people, who championed him before any other city in the world at the time. The album, Bat Out of Hell, released on my father’s label, has gone on to be one of the top selling albums in the history of the music business, having sold over fifty million copies worldwide. It all started here and a big reason why Cleveland is the Rock and Roll capital of the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans all over the world. Heaven just gained another incredible talent to its choir. Rest easy.” Then Popovich concluded by reciting five lines from Bat Out of Hell’s tender song “Heaven Can Wait.”

Heaven can wait
And all I got is time until the end of time
Well I won't look back
I won't look back
Let the altar shine

Related links:

Goldmine 2016 Meat Loaf Interview

Goldmine 2021 Jim Steinman In Memoriam

Goldmine 2021 Ellen Foley Interview