Nightline Playlist: Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf will be the first to admit that he wasn't blessed with a natural talent for singing.

His first musical memory was his mother's reaction to him singing along to a song on the radio. "Oh no, it's a good thing you're not going to be a singer! You couldn't carry a tune in a bucket there!" she told him.

He admits that his rendering of the song was "unrecognizable," but that didn't stop Meat Loaf from recording some of the best-selling albums of all time.

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday in 1947 in Dallas. He adopted his famous name because his father called him "Meat" and his high school football coach nicknamed him "Loaf." So he combined the two, even though he says he prefers pork.


Unlike other singers, music was not a big influence for him growing up. It wasn't until his high school girlfriend encouraged him to listen to Bob Dylan that he really got into music.

"The first Bob Dylan album, my mother walked into the room and said, 'well, he can't sing a note, why would they let him make an album?'" Meat Loaf said. "She eventually figured out that Dylan wasn't about his voice, but about his lyrics. So I thought that was pretty hip of her."

'Bat Out of Hell'

Meat Loaf's mother died in 1966. Estranged from his alcoholic father, he moved to Los Angeles the next year where "music became part of the life."

Influenced by the sounds and the people he met around L.A. he formed a band alternately called Meat Loaf Soul and Popcorn Blizzard. The band opened for groups like the Who, the Stooges and the Grateful Dead.

Meat Loaf also dabbled in acting, appearing in several musicals — most notably the rock musical "Hair." Meat Loaf continued to act in musicals and in 1973, he won a part in Jim Steinman's musical "More Than You Deserve."

Steinman and Meat Loaf teamed up in 1977 to record "Bat Out of Hell," which became one of the best-selling albums worldwide and in 2003 was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 greatest albums of all times. Meat Loaf still enjoys performing the songs from his first hit album.

"I love 'Bat,' I love doing 'Bat.' It's such a workout," he said, adding that his rendition of the finale isn't perfect. "The song ends on three high C's — I don't hit them all."

Bumps in the Road

After the smashing success of "Bat Out of Hell," Meat Loaf hit some bumps in the road. During a concert in Toronto in 1978, Meat Loaf fell off the stage and broke his leg.

"I don't know anybody else who comes with that intensity to take a rock 'n' roll stage. I take it like I'm playing a game and I'm going to win," said Meat Loaf.

Meat Loaf continued to record albums, but in the 1980s he hit a series of setbacks, losing his voice and ability to sing for unknown reasons and filing for bankruptcy after a botched album and a recording hiatus.

He got back on track in 1993 and recorded a sequel to his 1977 hit album with Steinman entitled "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell." He won a Grammy for the album's hit song "I Would Do Anything for Love (but I Won't Do That)."

This week, Meat Loaf premiered a documentary called "Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise" directed by Bruce David Klein. The documentary follows Meat Loaf on tour in early 2007, an exhausting 18-month long grind to promote "Bat Out of Hell III" — his third album released in 2006.

So what's on Meat Loaf's iPod? Well, apparently, not much — as he's not a big fan of the product.

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