The issue now is to decide which clip to post. You’d think it would be a no brainer and I’d post clips of either “Bat Out of Hell”, or “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” because I spent considerable time talking about both. But chances are, you already know Two Out of Three, so there’s little point in using that one. Bat Out of Hell would be great, but the thing is, that song comes in at over 9 minutes. I’m not going to ask you to hang around here that long.
So I decided to go a different way and post a song from Meat’s second album.
Way back in the early 80s, I read that Meat Loaf was going to be on one of those late-night music shows, the Midnight Special, I think. I was just getting into the Bat Out of Hell album, so I made sure to stay up late to watch. Remember, at this time, there was no MTV or other music videos available. I had no sense of how this guy performed.
So I stayed up, all set to see me some Paradise, or some Bat, or some Two out of Three… But what I got was a series of music videos from his forthcoming album, Dead Ringer. What a let down… I wasn’t in the mood to see songs I’d never heard before.
This is one of the albums I had him sign in Boston.
Let me get this straight though… I love that album now. I just didn’t know it at the time. Little did I know that this was practically an all-star album. Featured players were Davey Johnstone (from Elton John’s band) on guitar, Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg (from the E-Street Band) on piano and drums, Liberty DeVito (Billy Joel’s band) also on drums, Nicky Hopkins (Beatles side-man) on piano, and one more special guest vocalist.
One video really jumped out at me. It was the title track, “Dead Ringer for Love.” It appeared to be an attempt to recreate the vibe from “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.”
It was staged as a big bar-room duet, jock-boy versus leather chick, but the twist was that the female singer was Cher. Freakin’ Cher!
Now, this was back when Cher was still pretty cool in a renegade sort of way, and not the surgically-enhanced, carp-mouthed mutant she’s become in recent years. It would be another 6 years before she’d star in Moonstruck.
The two of them traded verses like they were having a ball, making perfect foils for each other.
Welcome back to 1981
Couple of quick notes on the video:
* I wonder how much time that Cher and The Loaf actually spent on the same stage. There are only a couple shots where they’re both in the same picture. The rest of the time, the shots are framed so that they could have been singing to a posse of stagehands and grips.
* How young do Meat’s backup singers look? It looks like he’s a 30-year old ex-lineman fronting the JV Football team. No way their voices would be low enough to pull off the "Dead ringer" refrain at the end. And Cher’s chick party looks like it’s filled with extras from the street scenes of “Pretty Woman.”
* Loved the flash-change from roadie jerseys to frilly tuxedo shirt. And he’s got the red hanky going! He doesn’t use that so much any more, but at the time, he always had the red hanky to wave. When he and Cher walk out of the place at the end, I swore he was going to wipe off the bar with it.
* I forgot how cheesy those early music videos could be. Like I said, this was pre-MTV, and even those in the first years of MTV were pretty primitive. I suppose these were filmed for European audiences, because there was no other outlet for them here.
* I never liked the “rock n roll and brew” refrain. Who calls it ‘brew’ on a regular basis? But I guess it’s easier to rhyme stuff with ‘brew’ than ‘beer’ or ‘ale’ or ‘Budweiser.’
OK, I tried to make this short, and I suppose it still qualifies, by my standards, anyway. Really, I thought it was going to go a paragraph or two, tops.
I’m not exactly a Dead Ringer for brevity…