Tag Archive | 1977

MeatLoaf

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

September 27, 2022

When reading the Infallible Wikipedia about this artist, who was born on September 27, 1947, what comes across is a larger than life personality whose personal excesses drove his incredible success but also his failures.

As a child, Marvin (Michael) Lee Aday*, was the target of other children for his physical appearance. He once stated in an interview that when he was born, he was “ ‘bright red and stayed that way for days’ and that his father said he looked like ‘nine pounds of ground chuck’, and convinced hospital staff to put the name ‘Meat’ on his crib. He was later called ‘M.L.’ in reference to his initials, but when his weight increased, his seventh-grade classmates referred to him as ‘Meatloaf’, referring to his 5-foot, 2 inches, 240 pound stature. He also attributed the nickname to an incident where, after he stepped on a football coach’s foot, the coach yelled ‘Get off my foot, you hunk of meatloaf!’.”

The name stuck and, as a performer, “Meatloaf” became the name by which he was famous. In fact, until I started researching this article, I did not know his real name.

His story, like so many other artists, was one of forming a band and playing every gig he could get. He landed singing roles in several musicals including The Rocky Horror Show and Hair. These successes eventually led to teaming up with Jim Steinman, a composer, lyricist, and producer; together they put together Meatloaf’s most iconic album Bat Out of Hell. Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

The official video for Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

“Meat Loaf and Steinman spent time seeking a record deal; however, their approaches were rejected by each record company, because their songs did not fit any specific recognized music industry style. Todd Rundgren, under the impression that they already had a record deal, agreed to produce the album as well as play lead guitar along with other members of Rundgren’s band Utopia and Max Weinberg. They then shopped the record around, but they still had no takers until Steve Popovich’s Cleveland International Records took a chance, releasing Bat Out of Hell in October 1977.”

It was a great decision. That album went on to sell an estimated 43 million copies, making it one of the best selling albums of all time. It has spent an incredible 485 weeks on the UK’s Album Chart, only two weeks less than Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.

Meatloaf with his composer, lyricist, and producer, Jim Steinman

Like many artists, it seems as if his over the top persona was, perhaps, a way to overcome some of the teasing he endured as a child. In an interview he once said, “Being too fat to play with the other children, I had to spend a lot of time alone, which probably has a lot to do with the way I am today. I’m usually alone in my hotel room from right after the show until the next day’s sound check. And I’m never bored; I don’t get bored. Probably because mothers wouldn’t let their kids play with me.”

Sadly, he died suddenly on January 20, 2022 at the age of 74. He’d had Covid several weeks earlier, but no specific cause of death was listed.

Somewhat belatedly Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album joined my hitchhiker music list when I found the CD at Value Village one day a few years ago. I admit that I had only heard his iconic Paradise By the Dashboard Lights a few times previously, preferring his ballads, particularly Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

I think that one of the reasons that song resonated with so many of my generation might have been due to the pain which the artist experienced early in life. To listen to his interpretation of the song there is absolutely no doubt that he understands what rejection feels like.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad is a song I can listen to again and again, appreciating Meatloaf’s vocal ability and soulful rendition. The year the song charted, I experienced a failed relationship and could truly relate to the words and music.

Rest In Peace Michael Lee Addy. The world was made better by your contributions.

*He changed his name to Michael as an adult.

A link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_Loaf

I Said oo-oo-oo-wee

Undercover Angel

July 7, 2020

If there was one thing the 1970’s was known for it was the plethora of questionable songs and their popularity. I’ve covered some of these songs in previous articles. Songs like Muskrat Love and The Streak, for example. Another questionable song was at the top of the charts for one week in July 1977.

Alan O’Day – the singer who penned the tune – dubbed it a “nocturnal novelette.” An apt description for this schlocky song.

94edeb0026cdb5d69f8eb2db8a0a8709Undercover Angel, in my opinion, should never have made it to number one. Perhaps the lyrics were just racy enough and just cryptic enough to cause the teenagers of the era to listen again and again in an effort to dissect its meaning.

The Infallible Wikipedia offers a brief hint:

“The song begins with a man describing his loneliness, when a woman suddenly appears in his bed and encourages him to make love to her. The rest of the song describes his feelings about her, then he discovers she must leave him, and he is saddened. She tells him to ‘go find the right one, love her and then, when you look into her eyes you’ll see me again’.

It then becomes apparent that he has been telling this story to a woman he is trying to seduce; he tells her he is ‘looking for my angel in your sweet, loving eyes’.”

The internet has been helpful in that the lyrics to pretty much every song ever written can be found with a simple search. Here’s a link https://www.elyrics.net/read/a/alan-o_day-lyrics/undercover-angel-lyrics.html so you can read them yourself if you are so inclined.

That said, the whole premise of this song is a bit disturbing. I would describe it a bit differently: A creepy guy has nocturnal fantasies which he then shares as a way to try and pick up a girl. Then, if the lyrics aren’t bad enough, the actual song itself has a repetitive and suggestive ‘oo-oo-oo-wee’ being sung over and over and over.

I turned 20 the year this record was popular and, being tuned in to music, knew the song but never thought much about it. Until the summer of 2013, that is. My own daughter – who just so happened to be 20 that year too – had started working at Michael’s (craft store).

As the weeks wore on she would come home and complain about the awful ‘70’s music’ which played on continuous loop through the store’s intercom system. I suppose they broadcast music of that era to appease the 40 and 50 something soccer moms who were their biggest customers. But it drove my daughter crazy.

There were two songs which she particularly loathed: Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Dawn and the one she dubbed the angel song… Undercover Angel.

screaming-blonde-woman-in-sweater-covering-her-ears-with-closed-eyes_ryckzumfl_thumbnail-full01

This is not my actual daughter… but close enough.

In fact, if I wanted to bug her all I had to do was sing ‘oo-oo-oo-wee’ like O’Day did on the record and she would tell me to stop in no uncertain terms. My fun ended when she moved away at the end of that summer, probably just to escape the music where she worked and, possibly, me for having a little fun at her expense.

Who knew that the worst songs of the 1970’s would live on as earworms* and haunt future generations decades later? It makes me wonder what songs of subsequent eras which were very popular are now seen by today’s teens as ridiculous: Barbie Girl? Macarena? Wannabe?

I think I need to call my daughter and ask her opinion… but not before I sing ‘oo-oo-oo-wee’ to her. It will make her day.

*An earworm, according to the Infallible Wikipedia, is “a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undercover_Angel_(song)

Fleetwood Mac

I heard some Rumours…

April 2, 2019

This album sat atop the Billboard charts for 31 non-consecutive weeks in 1977 and early 1978. Its chart dominance began on April 2, 1977 and, according to one of the principles of the group who recorded it, it was “the most important album we ever made.”fleetwood-mac-rumours-album-cover.jpg

The album was Rumours and the group Fleetwood Mac.

Theirs is a story which shows that finding the right blend of talent, relentless commitment, and a lot of hard work, are necessary to make it in the music industry. The Fleetwood Mac story begins in 1967 as explained in the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Fleetwood Mac was founded by guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Bassist John McVie completed the lineup for their self-titled debut album. Danny Kirwan joined as a third guitarist in 1968. Keyboardist Christine Perfect, who contributed as a session musician from the second album, married McVie and joined in 1970. At this time it was primarily a British blues band, scoring a UK number one with ‘Albatross’ and had lesser hits with the singles ‘Oh Well’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’. All three guitarists left in succession during the early 1970s, to be replaced by guitarists Bob Welch and Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker. By 1974, all three had either departed or been dismissed, leaving the band without a male lead vocalist or guitarist.”

The group was plagued by skullduggery from their manager, drug and alcohol addictions of some band members, departures of multiple guitarists, and an inability to make it big as a British Blues band. Then, in 1974 the band moved to Los Angeles. It was in that moment the magic began to happen. Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

“After (Bob) Welch announced that he was leaving the band, Fleetwood began searching for a replacement. While Fleetwood was checking out Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, the house engineer, Keith Olsen, played him a track he had recorded in the studio, ‘Frozen Love’, from the album Buckingham Nicks (1973). Fleetwood liked it and was introduced to the guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who was at Sound City that day recording demos. Fleetwood asked him to join Fleetwood Mac and Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his music partner and girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, be included. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year’s Eve 1974, within four weeks of the previous incarnation splitting.”

With the new members in place, the band took to the studio to record their (second!) self titled album, 1975’s “Fleetwood Mac.” It was a commercial success, selling over 7 million copies and featuring the memorable tracks: Over My Head, Say You Love Me (vocals Christine McVie), Rhiannon,  and Landslide (vocals Stevie Nicks).

In many ways, the two women’s distinctive voices came to define the group’s sound and propel their musical style towards mainstream pop.

With the release of Rumours in January 1977 and its subsequent rise to the top of the Billboard album charts, Fleetwood Mac cemented their spot in the Rock and Roll history books. The Infallible Wikipedia gives the details:

“By 1980, 13 million copies of Rumours had been sold worldwide. As of 2013, sales were over 40 million copies. As of May 2016, Rumours has spent 630 weeks in the UK Top 75 album chart and is the 11th best-selling album in UK history and is certified 13× platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, the equivalent of 3.9 million units shipped. The record has received a Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America for a 20× platinum certification or 20 million copies shipped, making it, as of 2012, the joint fifth best-selling album in US history (by number of copies shipped).” (Ed note: it is still, as of 2019, one of the top ten best-selling albums of all time)

Fleetwood-Mac.jpgAlthough the group has continued to record and perform over the years, with some members leaving, new ones coming in, and then old ones rejoining, those of us of a certain age no doubt think of Fleetwood Mac as the following five individuals who were the group in 1977: Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

During a foray in to Value Village (a Western Washington thrift store) about a year ago I was – as is my habit – perusing the used CD’s when I spied it: Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits. I plucked the CD from the shelf and spirited it home. Last fall when the hubby and I were about to embark on a three week, three thousand mile, road trip, I was forced to reduce down my box of ‘hitchhikers.’ This is what I lovingly call the approximately 25 CD’s which travel with me to Yakima and back every couple of weeks.

The purge process involved looking at every CD we own (who knows 100? 150? 200?) and determining which of the CD’s deserved a place in the box and which had a cut or two to be recorded onto a thumb drive. One by one I evaluated with the thumb drive pile growing ever higher and the box group getting smaller. “Would I,” I asked myself with each CD, ” listen to every song on this?”

There were only a handful which met that standard…  FM’s Greatest Hits was one of them. And so it remains in the box of hitchhikers. My only wish is that “Landslide” had been included on the CD as it is, by far, my favorite of their songs.

For those not familiar with it, here it is. Enjoy!

The FM story is fascinating and far too much to include in my weekly blog. Thankfully Wikipedia provides exhaustive information for those interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleetwood_Mac

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Billboard_200_number-one_albums_of_1977

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumours_(album)

When I first posted this three years ago, I had asked a few questions on Facebook. Couldn’t now tell you the question, but here is the answer: these five albums stayed at number 1 on the album charts longer than any others since the mid-1950s.

Weeks Album Artist Year(s) Source
54 West Side Story Soundtrack 1962-63 [44]
37 Thriller Michael Jackson 1983–84 [45]
31 Rumours Fleetwood Mac 1977–78 [45]
South Pacific Soundtrack 1958–59 [44]
Calypso Harry Belafonte 1956–57 [44]