Meat Loaf: “For Crying Out Loud”

On September 27, 1947, Marvin Lee Aday was born in Dallas, Texas. As the boy grew up, his interest in acting and music led him to adopt a new name that, according to some sources, came from a dish his mom made, Meat Loaf.

I have confessed on this blog about my love of a lot of Meat Loaf’s songs. Of course, his greatest album remains 1977’s Bat Out of Hell. The popular album had several hits that you still hear today, such as “Two Out of Three” and, of course, “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” But the song on the album that I loved the most, which apparently is also the favorite of writer Jim Steinman, is “For Crying Out Loud.”

The song appeared as a B-side to the second single released from the album, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”  The single was released July 31, 1977, and the album would follow on October 21, 1977.

Before Meat Loaf’s album, the song appeared in a 1975 play starring Christopher Walken called Kid Champion.  Steinman wrote the music for the play, which is about a rock star.  Steinman’s demo version of the song for the play is below.

Of course, nobody can match Meat Loaf’s chops. In the video below, Meat Loaf performs “For Crying Out Loud” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2004. While Meat Loaf’s voice may not be what it once was, it is still pretty amazing in this performance.

In the video, Meat Loaf introduces “For Crying Out Loud” by saying he had not attempted the song live since 1978 in New York City. I do not know if it is true that so much time had passed, and I can’t remember if he played it when I saw him in the 1990s.

There is a video on YouTube claiming to be audio of a performance from the 1993, although I did not see the song in any of the posted setlists from that year. Meat Loaf did perform the song more recently in 2013 with a voice that is more wary. But it is clear he rarely plays this great song, and this one from 2004 is pretty amazing. Check it out.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    That’s When Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through

    Today’s song of the day is Jim Steinman’s “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”  The song is one of my favorite pop songs of the early 1980s, although it has a bit of a tortured history.

    After Jim Steinman found success writing the songs for Meat Loaf’s album Bat Out of Hell, the two planned to team up again.  But the plan encountered various problems, including Meat Loaf’s injured vocal cords.  So, Steinman set out to record the follow-up album himself.

    Bad for Good

    In 1981, Steinman released Bad For Good, an album that I love largely for nostalgia’s sake.  Many admire the songwriting for the album, believing that if Meat Loaf had recorded the songs, it would have been a worthy follow-up to Bat Out of Hell.

    But Steinman’s straining vocals cannot match the power of Meat Loaf’s voice.  Meat Loaf’s voice perfectly suits the bombast of Steinman’s songs.  Yet, I still find Steinman’s struggles on the songs make them more vulnerable and, well. . . human.  I wish Steinman — who was born November 1, 1947 — would record another album with him singing his songs.

    When I bought the record album back in 1981, the album came with a small record that had two additional songs.  One song was an instrumental and on the flip side was “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”

    “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”

    “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” clearly appeared as a song added for radio play.  It was a more typical pop song than the over-blown songs on the record, lacking some of Steinman’s teenage-style humor.

    Still, “Rock and Roll Dreams” stands out on the album.  I loved it. The song went to Number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    But something was different about Steinman’s voice.  I wondered how producers got Steinman’s voice to sound so much better on “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”  Many years later, though, I learned that it was not Steinman singing the song, even though it was credited to him.  The singer was Rory Dodd.

    Here is Steinman’s video for the song, where he is lip syncing over Dodd’s voice.

    Dodd was a Canadian singer who sang backup on many of Meat Loaf’s songs through the years. He also is the voice singing “Turn Around Bright Eyes” on Bonnie Tyler’s mega-hit recording of another Steinman classic, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” One may wonder what might have happened with everyone’s careers had Steinman handed over the whole album for Dodd to record.

    Critics and fans never complained about Steinman’s singer deception the way people became upset about Milli Vanilli at the end of the decade. Perhaps fans did not care because Steinman’s real voice appeared on the album, or perhaps they just enjoyed the song.

    Steinman even appeared on television to lip sync and promote “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” featuring an interesting ballet dance accompaniment to distract from his mouth movements. (Note that the video looks like it is not available, but it plays when you press the play button.)

    Meat Loaf eventually recorded his version of “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” for his album Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993). His version is pretty good too.

    I’m still partial to the Steinman/Dodd version. But Meat Loaf’s video also features a young Angelina Jolie.

    What is your favorite Jim Steinman song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Meat Loaf: “For Crying Out Loud”
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    It’s Only Two O’clock and the Temperature’s Beginning to Soar

    It is really hot today in New York, which has me thinking about songs about the summer heat. For example, if you flip through the radio stations you are bound to run across Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot!” But one of my favorite songs about the heat, which is not as well known, is “Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire,” written by Jim Steinman and recorded by Meat Loaf.

    I discovered the song when it appeared on Bad for Good, the 1981 album Steinman made after Meat Loaf’s voice problems prevented him from recording the follow-up to his mega-hit album Bat Out of Hell (1977). I probably am one of the few people who bought Steinman’s album and still will listen to it. I love his version of “Out of the Frying Pan” as well as every moment his voice strains to reach the high notes, perhaps because that is how I first heard it. I grabbed anything related to Steinman and Meatloaf for awhile, and I bought all of Meat Loaf’s 1980 albums before his big comeback with Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993), which featured Meat Loaf’s version of “Out of the Frying Pan.”

    While through the years my music tastes went in other directions, I still play some Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman music out of my archives. And today is a good day to listen to their overblown song with double entendre meanings and lines such as, “The subways are steaming and the skin of the street is gleaming with sweat.” Here is a grainy video of a young Meat Loaf performing the song in 1988 on a small stage in Flushing, New York before his 1990s comeback.

    For a more high-quality video performance, here is an older Meat Loaf on a much larger stage in 2010. While the singer no longer has the great voice he once had, you can still tell he gives his all.

    For covers of various songs about the heat, check out Cover Lay Down.

    What is your favorite song about the heat? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Meat Loaf: “For Crying Out Loud”
  • That’s When Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
  • Doing “The Time Warp” Since 1975
  • Anniv. of Civil War’s Start: Elvis’s American Trilogy
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)