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An Elegy for Meat Loaf

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

The first album I ever bought, of anyone's, was Bat Out of Hell II. I got it on cassette tape from Our Price in Margate high street. At that point I didn't even have my own system on which to listen to it. I would load it into my dad's JVC hi-fi, insert the impossibly long headphone cable and lie back on the sofa, my eyes closed and mind alive to whatever imagery the music and lyrics conjured in the soft darkness. Some of what Mr Loaf sang went above my head. (I was a lot shorter then.) Some of it was interpreted in theatrical set pieces involving Harley Davidson motorcycles, long hair and creaking leathers. In these little private dramas I felt powerful, something I couldn't feel with my eyes open, staring down the frightening, blaring world.

So it is with misty eyes and heart heavier than the man himself I sit here tonight, listening to his repertoire of croon and growl, whimper and crow, wondering what broke him so completely, so long ago, that the fiend of artistry was set free. Was it the violence he said he suffered at the hands of his father? Was it the bullying that hounded him at school? Was it the relentless expectations of fame? What came first, Meat? The trauma or the lies? When you make your life the art it hardly matters. What matters is that broken people can gaze into a broken mirror and piece together a single, perfect aspect.

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