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‘His passing has left a huge hole in my life’: readers remember Meat Loaf

Jan 25, 2022

From London to North Carolina, Guardian readers share their tributes to and memories of the singer and actor Meat Loaf performing at Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, 1978. Photograph: Rick Diamond/Getty Images Meat Loaf performing at Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, 1978. Photograph: Rick Diamond/Getty Images Last modified on Tue 25 Jan 2022 08.02 EST ‘His songs remind me of my mum’ My parents had just split up, and my mum, caring for two young daughters, took us to Bournemouth for a few days to get away. It was the year Jurassic Park came out and she would have been about 36, a few years older than I am now. She found a tape of Bat Out of Hell in a bargain bin at a service station on the drive there and the second she put it into the tape player in the car and heard the opening track, she was hooked. As kids, we loved it too – it was so fun, theatrical and a bit naughty. We played that tape over and over on our car journeys. I saw how his music empowered my mum and made her feel good at a very vulnerable and painful time. He has brought her pure joy since she found that tape and his songs remind me of the close bond my mum, sister and I share. Vicky, 33, editor, London ‘Bat Out of Hell is a Watson family staple’ My grandfather David Watson, or “Papa” as I knew him, passed away on 13 January 2022 at the age of 84. He was dearly loved by us all and will be forever missed. He was also a huge Meat Loaf fan. David Watson rocking his Meat Loaf shirt in 2013. Photograph: Emma Watson/Guardian Community At every family gathering Papa would call insistently for someone to play [Paradise By the] Dashboard Light or Dead Ringer for Love over and over again until we were sick of it. He went to a Meat Loaf concert in Glasgow’s SEC Centre with his wife, my late gran Ria Watson, in around 2013, when he was already well into his 70s. Almost every time I visited him, he would eagerly play Meat Loaf’s music videos from his iPad to the television for us to watch. Papa and his Meat Loaf songs became a running joke in the family, but it rubbed off on us all; my dad played Bat Out of Hell so often growing up that me and my two brothers, now all in our 20s, could probably recite the whole album backwards. We were stunned by the news that Meat Loaf passed away just one week after our beloved Papa. Bat Out of Hell is my favourite album of all time and a Watson family staple, and although we were saddened by the loss of the man, the myth, the legend himself, it was unbelievable to us that his death followed that of his biggest fan by just one week. I will always think fondly of Meat Loaf, not only due to the prevalence of his music in my childhood, but how my memories of it are intertwined with my Papa. Emma Watson, 26, recent graduate, Lesmahagow, Scotland ‘My mum sang along while she did the housework’ Pat Condon and his mother in 2000. Bat Out of Hell remains my favourite rock album and gets airplay often, but the greatest joy was in finding out that my mum used to put it on my hi-fi when I was at work and sing along while she did the housework. That secret only came out many years after I left home. I can see her in my mind’s eye head-banging to Bat Out of Hell while pushing the vacuum around. Pat Condon, procurement professional, Blackpool ‘Meat Loaf’s music never took itself too seriously’ My first boyfriend introduced me to Meat Loaf in the early 2000s, and “our song” was Heaven Can Wait. The relationship didn’t last, but I’ve loved the music ever since. When I married my husband, Dead Ringer for Love played at the end of the ceremony. (We joked about having Paradise by the Dashboard Light, complete with baseball commentary, as our first dance.) When I phone him, his ringtone is You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth. Meat Loaf’s music may have been overblown and rather silly but it never took itself too seriously, and sometimes you need that in life. Anna, 36, charity fundraiser, West Midlands ‘I haven’t stopped listening since I was eight’ Eric Dickson and Meat Loaf in 2013 on the Glasgow leg of the Last at Bat tour. Photograph: Eric Dickson/Guardian Community I got into my hero Meat Loaf as an eight-year-old boy when a friend of my parents’ brought a tape to a party. I couldn’t stop listening to it and I haven’t stopped listening to Meat Loaf since. I was lucky enough to meet him four times and see him live many more. He will live on through his music for decades to come. Let’s just hope he’s rocking with Jim Steinman , wherever they may be. Eric Dickson, 35, East Lothian ‘Meat Loaf’s music was the soundtrack to our relationship’ I discovered Meat Loaf when I was about 15 and Modern Girl played on the radio. I was hooked. I listened constantly on my cutting-edge Sony Walkman cassette player, especially on my way to and from school. I saw him perform live about 15 times, the first in 1986, in Wembley Arena. I went with a group of school friends. We missed the last train home after the concert and spent the night in the waiting room at Shenfield railway station, our ears ringing with the music and the incredible performance. There was no sleep that night, just singing his songs and discussing our amazing experience until the first train home at 5am. When I met my partner, Lore, at the age of 18, it was Meat Loaf’s music that provided the soundtrack to our dates and relationship. We are still together today, sharing the enjoyment and memories of his music. Meat Loaf was by my side musically for almost 37 years and he will remain so until the day I also have to accept that Heaven Can No Longer Wait. Frank, 52, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex ‘His music was my way of communicating with a world I felt closed out from’ I was first introduced to Meat Loaf at age seven. My dad had an old cassette and I remember constantly listening to Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad. Having been diagnosed with autism at a very young age, Meat Loaf was my way of communicating with a world I felt closed out from. In 2010, I bought my first Meat Loaf album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear. It was at this point my life totally changed. As a devoted fan, I became a member of the Mad About Meatloaf fan club, where I eventually worked my way to becoming a moderator. Sammy Mosteller and Meat Loaf in September 2021. Photograph: Sammy Mosteler/Guardian Community In September 2021, I had the opportunity to sit down with Meat Loaf in Concord, North Carolina, and spent almost 45 minutes one-to-one with him. The stories and the wisdom he shared with me were priceless. I told him I wanted to be a published author, and he replied it does not matter what the readers may think – as long as I write a book that I’m passionate about and am proud of, I will find my true audience. Before our meeting came to a close, Meat Loaf gave me a huge hug and thanked me for all I do for his fan club. His passing has definitely left not only a huge hole in my life, but many fans around the world as well. He has been a true inspiration in my life and will be truly missed. Sammy Mosteller, 25, Lincolnton, North Carolina, USA ‘He threw away his microphone and sang without it’ Wolfgang Schindler’s Meat Loaf concert flyer. Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell show in the summer of 1978 was the first rock concert I ever attended, and in my memory it is still one of the best I’ve seen. At the end of the show, he threw away his microphone and sang without it! That became my benchmark for future rock concerts, which unfortunately was never reached again. Wolfgang Schindler, 59, Hamburg, Germany ‘Who can forget his performance in Fight Club?’ When I was seven, I spent a year wearing a leg brace to help treat a condition called Perthes disease that affected my hip. I spent most of that year being pushed around in a wheelchair while listening to cassettes through my headphones. When the news of Meat Loaf’s death broke, I was reminded of a cassette that soundtracked that year: a compilation album of Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler tracks. I’m still not entirely sure how that compilation came to exist or even how a copy of it came in to my ownership. I’m very glad that it did, as I credit that year as being one of the reasons I developed such a love of music, where Meat Loaf was front and centre. And who can forget his performance in Fight Club? He will be missed by many. Lee, 32, music industry worker, London ‘I still listen at full volume’ Sue Nicholson’s Meat Loaf ticket. Photograph: Sue Nicholson/Guardian Community I still have my Meat Loaf ticket from Newcastle City Hall, 27 November 1984. From the moment I heard the Bat Out of Hell album in the late 70s, I’ve been a fan and I listen to his music still, at full volume. While Meat Loaf is inextricably linked with Steinman’s lyrics, one of my favourites is his cover of Dylan’s Forever Young. That’s how his music makes me feel. Sue Nicholson, retired, Tyneside Topics

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