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:
“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.
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.