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To Hell and Back: An Autobiography

by Meat Loaf, David Dalton

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843257,074 (4)None
"poor fat marvin can't wear levi's!"a radio advertisement boomed as a 240-pound seventh grader named Marvin Lee Aday shuddered in humiliation. Parents said he was "too fat" to play with their children, and his classmates picked on him, even ganging up to lock him in a storage box. Unflatteringly nicknamed "Meat Loaf" by his alcoholic father, prone to getting concussions (seventeen in all), and drawn to musical theater, no one pegged this misfit kid to become a rock star. That is, until he recorded the third best-selling album of all time. In To Hell and Back, Meat Loaf reveals his amazing story--a rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches life that would rival most fiction. As a boy, he had to face down lowlifes straight out of Deliverance in order to fetch his drunken father out of gutbucket saloons--the same father who would later try to kill him with a butcher knife. He was at Parkland Hospital when JFK was declared dead, picked up a hitchhiker who happened to be Charles Manson, got recruited for the musical Hair while trying to get a job as a parking attendant, and starred in a movie that became the biggest cult film of all time, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. From there, he collaborated with Jim Steinman to make a record called Bat Out of Hell, which went from being laughed at and rejected by every music executive in the industry to selling more than 28 million copies and launching Meat Loaf into international superstardom. Meat's story would be incredible if it stopped right there. But that's just the beginning. The heights to which Meat had soared were matched only by the depth of his plunge back into the abyss. In a swirl of devious managers, drugs, lawyers, guns, money, nervous breakdowns (including the psychosomatic loss of his voice), and more lawsuits than he could count, Meat Loaf lost it all. He was bankrupt, his relationship with best friend and collaborator, Jim Steinman, turned ugly, and his wife, having a nervous breakdown of her own, was considering a divorce. But the hardest-working man in rock and roll would not stay down. Returning to his family he set out with them to conquer the world again, club by club and through word of mouth--a struggle that culminated in a reunion with Steinman, the Grammy Award-winning release of Bat out of Hell II, and a return to the limelight. Illustrated with dozens of previously unpublished photographs, Meat Loaf's story is--like Meat Loaf himself--larger than life.… (more)
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First off, this is one of the two books I bought when I was in England in 2001. I finally got to it...

Meat Loaf and Aerosmith have gotten me through some tough times in my life. Bat Out of Hell II: Back In to Hell is still the best Meat Loaf album, and was one of the several CDs I had with me over there.

Meat was also in Rocky Horror Picture Show, and was one of the original cast in the play before it became a movie. This book has some neat behind-the-scenes stuff with regards to the play and the film. For example, Meat originally played the parts of both Eddie and Dr. Scott. Having seen the local shadow cast, Formal Dress Optional, double up on roles, all I can say is that I identify with this. (Though the one part I ever did - that of Ralph Hapshat - wasn't mentioned in the book at all.)

Learning that Meat had "characters" for each of the songs he performed is making me go back and listen to everything again, and the characterizations seem so obvious now. But even without this, many of these mini-operettas are still awesome. Yes, I like 10-minute long songs. Then again, I like classical music, so...

I have to say, I also loved Meat in _Formula 51_ with Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlisle. But I think that movie came out after this book was written and published. ( )
  wookiemonster | Feb 11, 2014 |
great read about one of the most misunderstood but well loved musicians of our time - from his abusive childhood, through school, pitching bat out of hell, the bankruptcy, and then reborn again, this is the essential marvin lee aday book of facts...and full of his typical humour. did you know he met both john lennon and elvis presley? and funny those stories are too.
must read for a must have album. ( )
  scuzzy | Jun 30, 2010 |
You would never know that Meat Loaf had such an interesting life. I couldn't help but keep the pages turning on this book. A must for any classic rock fan! ( )
  Joles | May 7, 2008 |
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Dalton, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"poor fat marvin can't wear levi's!"a radio advertisement boomed as a 240-pound seventh grader named Marvin Lee Aday shuddered in humiliation. Parents said he was "too fat" to play with their children, and his classmates picked on him, even ganging up to lock him in a storage box. Unflatteringly nicknamed "Meat Loaf" by his alcoholic father, prone to getting concussions (seventeen in all), and drawn to musical theater, no one pegged this misfit kid to become a rock star. That is, until he recorded the third best-selling album of all time. In To Hell and Back, Meat Loaf reveals his amazing story--a rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches life that would rival most fiction. As a boy, he had to face down lowlifes straight out of Deliverance in order to fetch his drunken father out of gutbucket saloons--the same father who would later try to kill him with a butcher knife. He was at Parkland Hospital when JFK was declared dead, picked up a hitchhiker who happened to be Charles Manson, got recruited for the musical Hair while trying to get a job as a parking attendant, and starred in a movie that became the biggest cult film of all time, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. From there, he collaborated with Jim Steinman to make a record called Bat Out of Hell, which went from being laughed at and rejected by every music executive in the industry to selling more than 28 million copies and launching Meat Loaf into international superstardom. Meat's story would be incredible if it stopped right there. But that's just the beginning. The heights to which Meat had soared were matched only by the depth of his plunge back into the abyss. In a swirl of devious managers, drugs, lawyers, guns, money, nervous breakdowns (including the psychosomatic loss of his voice), and more lawsuits than he could count, Meat Loaf lost it all. He was bankrupt, his relationship with best friend and collaborator, Jim Steinman, turned ugly, and his wife, having a nervous breakdown of her own, was considering a divorce. But the hardest-working man in rock and roll would not stay down. Returning to his family he set out with them to conquer the world again, club by club and through word of mouth--a struggle that culminated in a reunion with Steinman, the Grammy Award-winning release of Bat out of Hell II, and a return to the limelight. Illustrated with dozens of previously unpublished photographs, Meat Loaf's story is--like Meat Loaf himself--larger than life.

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