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Baker's Dozen

Gold Dust Of Our Musical Worth: Ian Anderson's Favourite Albums
Barnaby Smith , June 6th, 2013 06:47

Ahead of a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall, the Jethro Tull man picks out his thirteen finest albums


Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell II
Ever since I’d been aware of Mr Meat I’d not been a fan at all. I thought he was bombastic, loud, churlish, arrogant – there was nothing about him that appealed to me, including his overtly showbizzy operatic voice. I’d never been a fan, until I was desperate for a track for some radio show I was doing where I needed to find an example of storytelling. I was looking for examples of people who told authentic observational tales, and I was stuck. Then my wife called to me from the other side of the office saying, "life is a lemon and I want my money back”. I said I was terribly sorry to hear this, and she said, “no, the Meat Loaf song, ‘Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)’,” although Jim Steinman actually wrote the song.

So I found the song and became, if not a Meat Loaf addict, at least someone who had established a degree of reverence for both Meat Loaf at his best and the lyrical and musical writing of Jim Steinman. I think it’s a great song, and it just happens to be on this album. I’m not saying I enjoy the whole album or most of Meat Loaf’s work, but that is a very good track. As soon as I heard it I told my wife, “damn, I wish I’d written that,” which is probably the biggest compliment anyone in my position can pay to somebody else. In fact, I think that should be the epitaph on my gravestone.