MEAT LOAF – Dead Ringer [Music On CD reissue] *0dayrox Exclusive*
As requested, here’s the recent reissue from Music On CD of MEAT LOAF‘s underrated second album “Dead Ringer“. After the mega success of 1977’s Bat Out of Hell, the combination of endless touring, drugs and exhaustion had caused MEAT LOAF to lose his voice.
It took four years for MEAT LOAF to come back with 1981’s “Dead Ringer”, again entirely by partner Jim Steinman. Loaf sang with all his heart backed by the fabulous E Street Band; succeeding again in writing / producing perhaps the most bizarre rock tales, complimented by comic book artist and horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson’s artwork.
“Dead Ringer” is a roller-coaster ride taking you from heavy rock through to beautiful love-drenched ballads and back again (often doing this across the course of a single song) all plenty of drama.
The album reached #1 in the UK Album charts in ’81, while the single “Dead Ringer for Love” (featuring Cher) #5 in the UK Singles Chart.
Eager to deliver a follow-up before Bat’s sales cooled, the label sent Meat Loaf and his songwriter, Jim Steinman, into the studio the following year. Though Steinman soon had an album’s worth of songs ready to go, recording stalled when Meat lost his voice — a condition attributed to the exhaustion and vocal stress of touring, although doctors were ultimately unable to find anything physically wrong with him.
In the interim, Steinman ended up releasing the songs he’d earmarked for the Bat Out of Hell follow-up on his own, putting it out in April 1981 as Bad For Good.
Meat, meanwhile, used his hiatus to go Hollywood, starring in the 1980 film Roadie while working his way back to health. Eventually, he regained the ability to sing; armed with another eight Steinman songs, he entered the studio in 1981 to finally deliver his long-awaited sophomore LP.
The time off helped Meat Loaf get his head straight in some respects, but it couldn’t give him all the coping mechanisms he needed in order to handle his sudden fame.
The end result of this tortured period was ”Dead Ringer”, which arrived in stores on Sept. 4, 1981 amid great label fanfare — including a promotional feature film starring Meat Loaf in dual roles as both a world-famous (and tellingly miserable) singer as well as his own biggest fan.
Despite how thoroughly his momentum had stalled after Bat, hopes were high he’d return with a record proving the wait had been worth it.
The audience that made him a chart-topping superstar had largely dispersed after four years between albums, and while ”Dead Ringer” didn’t resulted as massive as its predecessor, actually hit No. 1 in the U.K. and sold very well in America, where eventually went platinum.
Dramatic, pretentious, cheesy at places, ”Dead Ringer” is a true product from the ’80s. Btw, this Music On CD reissue sounds great.
01 – Peel Out
02 – I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us
03 – More Than You Deserve
04 – I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back
05 – Read ‘Em And Weep
06 – Nocturnal Pleasure
07 – Dead Ringer For Love
08 – Everything Is Permitted
Meat Loaf – lead vocals
Davey Johnstone – guitars
Mick Ronson – guitars (3)
Joe DeAngelis – acoustic guitars (1)
Steve Buslowe – bass
Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards (1, 2, 8)
Larry Fast – synthesizers (1, 6)
Max Weinberg – drums
Liberty DeVitto – drums (5, 7)
Leslie Aday – female voice (1)
Jim Steinman – spoken word (6)
Cher – guest vocals (7)
Ted Neeley, Allan Nicholls, Eric Troyer – backing vocals