Saturday, May 25, 2024

MeatLoaf New CD: American Idol, Hugh Laurie, Jack Black, and… Roger Ebert


Meat Loaf was big in the late 70s with the hoary “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” the album “Bat out of Hell,” and an appearance in the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

And then he wouldn’t go away.

He’s releasing a new album on April 19th called “Hang Cool Teddy Bear.” Apparently it’s a line from another cult classic, called “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” also from the early 70s. Guess who wrote the screenplay for the Russ Meyer directed spectacle of badness? None other than Roger Ebert. I’m sure he’ll give the album two thumbs up. Way up.

Otherwise, “Hang Cool” is populated by an odd group of musicians. They include actors Jack Black and Hugh Laurie (the guy from “House”) and Kara Dio Guardi from “American Idol.” Dio Guardi wrote at least one song on the album, too. So I guess we can expect Meat Loaf to mentor the “AI” kids before the season is over.

One name not included in the “Hang Cool” credits: Jim Steinman, who wrote and produced Meat Loaf’s biggest hits as well as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for Bonnie Tyler. Loaf and Steinman have a long and contentious relationship.

There’s a good adjunct story to the Meat Loaf saga, by the way. Steve Popovich, who ran Columbia Records’ Cleveland warehouse, started his own label, Cleveland Records, in 1977. He signed Meat Loaf, and then licensed “Bat out of Hell” to Columbia. Popovich has been suing them ever since, periodically winning millions from the record label giant for unpaid royalties, etc. Loaf now records for RoadRunner Records.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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