It’s all coming back to me now: Meat Loaf and UK local news (really)

The death of Meat Loaf, the man forever known for hits like I’d Do Anything for Love and Bat of Out Hell, this week obviously made headlines around the world.

(Although not on that many newspaper front pages yesterday — we struggled to find him on any national front covers beyond the UK).

His passing did prompt a lot of reminiscing from newsrooms around the UK however, as archives was raided to remember when the Dallas-born rocker visited towns and cities around Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Perhaps the most vivid recollection came from the Worthing Herald’s Phil Hewitt, who recounted how a 15-minute interview with Meat Loaf quickly became over an hour, by accident.

How the Dallas Morning News covered the death of a home-grown star. Meat Loaf’s passing prompted memories across the UK too.

Phil wrote of his phone interview: “Meat Loaf was a fascinating interviewee, talkative and friendly — and then my time was up. I thanked him and put the phone down.

“I had had my allotted time and besides I had another interview that I needed to do straight afterwards. Except that I couldn’t make the call.

“I picked up the phone and there were voices on the line. The line hadn’t cleared. I was still connected. One voice was Meat Loaf’s — the other was his next interviewer.

“An amusing memory now layered with sadness.”

Well-travelled may not be a word you’ll see in many tributes to Meat Loaf, but it sums up his familiarity with many parts of the UK. In Ipswich, Ipswich Star reporter Timothy Bradford wrote: “The rock legend toured the UK extensively, visiting Ipswich three years in a row in the 1980s.

“He brought his Bad Attitude and Midnight at the Lost and Found tours to Suffolk’s county town in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

“Meat Loaf wowed fans at the Regent theatre — then known as the Gaumont — with hits including ‘Bad Attitude’, ‘Jumping the Gun’, and ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’.”

In Newcastle, ChronicleLive nostalgia editor Dave Morton looked back at the times Meat Loaf had rocked Tyneside audiences over the years — including one particularly memorable gig at Whitley Bay Ice Rink in 1993.

The concert provided the chance for Tyneside woman Lorraine Crosby — who provided the vocal for I’d Do Anything for Love, but never appeared in the music video to go with it — the chance to sing alongside Meat Loaf on stage.

The Chronicle reported on its front page: “Her performance was short — but Tyneside lass Lorraine Crosby proved a knockout hit with her capacity home-town audience.

“The powerful vocalist joined Meat Loaf on stage at Whitley Bay Ice Rink for the opening song and number one hit I Would Do Anything For Love, and stayed for the start of You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth.”

Gigs in the North East were certainly memorable, Dave reported. In 1985 the singer collapsed on stage at Newcastle City Hall, and was taken by ambulance to the city’s RVI, suffering from food poisoning and dehydration.

Then in 2007 a show at Newcastle Arena was cut short when Meat Loaf’s voice broke up. And then there was the time he took part in a penalty shoot-out.

In Cornwall, CornwallLive feature writer Lee Trewhela, reported on a 1983 gig which was expected to be in front of 30,000 people on a farm in Cornwall.

“It’s even harder to believe that a 30,000-capacity festival which boasted Meat Loaf, rock’n’roll pioneer Chuck Berry, 10cc and Aswad on its bill was a disaster.

“Local newspaper reports at the time stated that less than 7,000 people attended and organisers reported a £70,000 loss. However, an official receivers report later showed that only 3,700 people actually paid for tickets and creditors were owed over £200,000.”

In Bristol, Ellie Kendall of BristolLive looked back at Meat Loaf’s gig in the city in 2007 which was beset with complaints about the sound quality.

Meat Loaf in Bristol

Ellie wrote: “No matter your thoughts on Meat Loaf, his music or his performance at Ashton Gate back in 2007, there’s no denying that he’ll go down in history as a true icon in the world of music.

“And we here in Bristol were lucky to host him.”

In Glasgow, GlasgowLive’s Lee Dalgetty reported: “It’s been 39 years since Meat Loaf first performed in Glasgow, singing his hit single Bat Out of Hell to an ecstatic crowd at the Apollo — and he returned in 2013 for his last ever performance in Scotland.”

He added: “As many stars do, the singer’s claim that it was his last tour was taken with a pinch of salt — though in this case it was in fact true.”

Down the road in Edinburgh, David McLean, nostalgia editor for EdinburghLive, reported on the night Meat Loaf appeared on stage — only to dash off with a nosebleed. It was the same gig which the Edinburgh News’s Liam Rudden focused on in his tribute.

In Belfast, BelfastLive’s Peter McGoran drew attention to the fact that Meat Loaf’s original band — Meat Loaf Soul — had their first ever gig in 1968, opening for Van Morrison’s band Them.

“For those whose memories go that far back, they might recall that Meat Loaf performed at the Avoniel Leisure Centre in east Belfast way back in 1985, as part of his Bad Attitude album tour,” Peter wrote.

Perhaps the most unexpected connection Meat Loaf had with the the UK was his apparent support of Hartlepool United. Kirsty Dawson of GazetteLive reported on tributes from the club: “Meat Loaf’s story of how he became a Hartlepool supporter when he appeared on Soccer AM was heart-warming and we are glad to have been the team to which he dedicated his passion for football.

“He was probably our most famous fan and we send all our love and thoughts to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Gavin Ledwith of the Hartlepool Mail also delved into the story here.

In Dorset, Joanna Davis shared the reaction of Meat Loaf fans in Bournemouth for the Daily Echo, while in Nottingham, Paul Speed reflected on the times Meat Loaf lit up the city — including once with a giant, inflatable bat.

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

>> See the series so far, here

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The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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