What are we to make of the musical career of Meat Loaf? On the one hand, we have an artist whose record sales, at more than 80,000,000 copies, makes him among the best-selling artists in history. On the other hand, we have an artist whose career had a long chain of albums that were not well-regarded, and seemed to come out of nowhere, fade back into nowhere, only to return more than a decade later. On the one hand, we have an artist named and regarded as a solo artist, but one who is best known through the songwriting of others, and whose songs featured notable backing vocals/duets with women on songs like “Paradise In The Dashboard Light” and “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” On the one hand we have the critical appeal of the albums in the “Bat Out Of Hell” series, but on the other hand we have long periods of critical and commercial failure and an appearance on the widely panned “Spiceworld” movie as an actor. Few artists possess the sort of polarized career that Meat Loaf’s career did, in which there is no question that he did enough to be honored, but his entire career is one that is difficult to understand in its sum total.
The Influence Of Meat Loaf
When examining the influence of Meat Loaf, it is important to note what he brought to the music world with his theatricality, with the epic scope of songs and albums and even cycles of albums. Additionally, his career marks the harmonious and successful working of a singer and a songwriter in his work with Jim Steinman, in a classic pairing of an evocative frontman with a talented songwriter. Meat Loaf’s songs and music videos are treasured for their cinematic scope and operatic nature, and the artist was enough of a cultural legend to be in a movie with the Spice Girls in the first place, whatever one thinks of the quality of the movie in question. Anytime an artist seeks a multi-album story arc, Meat Loaf is one of the artists who can be credited with encouraging this tendency, and there is no question that Meat Loaf’s endurance through career dry periods before finding a second period of popularity, perhaps one of the most unexpected career resurgences imaginable, all of which reflects well on his influence and importance as a musician. It is possible that for his debut album alone Meat Loaf would have been sufficiently influential with his heartbreaking songs, but given his lengthy career and his second period of success, he has done more than enough to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, even if the 1980’s were a bit of a lost decade for him in terms of sales and material.
Why Meat Loaf Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
In examining the worthiness of Meat Loaf for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we need to come to terms both with the lasting catalog value of a small set of songs, the large amount of work he did while toiling away as a little-regarded “Rock & Roll Mercenary,” and the sales and critical importance of his “Bat Out Of Hell” album cycle, which itself has sold tens of millions of copies . Given the lasting importance of such songs as “Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” and “I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth),” along with lesser known but important songs like “Rock And Roll Dreams Come True” and the top 40 hit “Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are,” as well as the touching “Not A Dry Eye In The House.” In addition, his album “Bat Out Of Hell” went 14x platinum, among the best selling albums of all time, and he managed to sell more than five million copies of 1993’s sequel album, another million copies of Welcome To The Neighborhood, and even his lesser known albums like “Dead Ringer,” “Midnight At The Lost And Found,” “Bad Attitude,” and “Blind Before I Stop” managed to be certified in the UK. Besides his own songs and albums, he managed to be a true team player as a rock star, working with Cher , Bonnie Tyler, Brian May, and John Parr, among many others on notable tracks.
Why Isn’t Meat Loaf In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?
No clue. Perhaps his lengthy career in rock & roll purgatory between the first two “Bat Out Of Hell” albums is held against him, or the fact that his success depended on brilliant songwriters, but either way, the reason is not a good enough.
Verdict: Put him in. Not only that, put him in along with the people who helped make his music special: Jim Stienman, Jim Parr, Patti Russo, and Ellen Foley. This doesn’t need to be a solo induction by any means, since Jim Steinman’s work as a songwriter, as well as Jim Parr’s, is worthy of recognition as well here.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: