Meat Loaf’s isolated vocals on ‘Two Out Of Three’ show the powerful virtuoso he was

21 January 2022, 12:59 | Updated: 21 January 2022, 16:37

Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf. Picture: Alamy

By Kyle Macdonald

As the world farewells one of the most iconic voices of our age, we’re in awe of one particular track.

A rock icon passed away on Thursday night, 20 January. American singer Michael Lee Aday, better known by his stage name Meat Loaf, was renowned for his powerful, wide-ranging voice, and songs of both monstrous orchestrations, and unique intimacy.

As a singer, he had astonishing capacity. In his songs, he can be heard singing from a bass F2 to a stratospheric falsetto E♭6, and everything in between.

Vocally, he is a heldentenor, with a powerful, dramatic voice in a tenor register, with huge bodily resonance. He sported that iconic barrel chest that would have been the envy of many Wagnerian tenors.

And this bit of audio engineering reveals the scale of that genius: the isolated vocals of one of his greatest hits, ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’ (listen below).

Even in a ballad, you can hear the raw power of that heldentenor, with amazing resonance to every note, perfect diction and an utterly beguiling tone.

The melody is almost in a through-composed recitative style (glancing again at Wagner). It hovers around a tenor F-sharp. And boy does he make it sound exquisite.

Read more: Listen in awe at Freddie Mercury’s isolated vocals from ‘We Are the Champions’

The singer was born Marvin Lee Aday, in Dallas, Texas in 1947 and was given his nom de plume by his football coach.

On Friday morning, following the news, social media erupted in emotional tributes to the musician.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” Meat Loaf’s family said in a statement.

Musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock. RIP Meatloaf. Give my best to Jim.”

The singer sold over 100 million albums worldwide, with Bat Out of Hell still one of the top 10 best-sellers of all time.

Meat Loaf also indulged in symphonic collaborations. In February 2004, during an Australian tour, he performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, in a set of concerts titled Bat Out of Hell: Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

What an icon, and what a voice.