Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meatloaf and Beauty and the Beast

I've been thinking a lot recently about the things I loved in my childhood and how they relate to the things I love today. I'm not much of a Meatloaf fan, but one of his tracks has stuck to me like glue over the years.

One of my favourite Saturday morning things to do when I was a kid was watch Rage. Rage is a long-running music video program that begins around 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights on the ABC. On Saturday morning they do the top twenty or so songs of the week and my brother and I would always be up to watch them. This was the East 17 era, The Rockmelons ... and Meatloaf. I remember the clip for 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' with such clarity. It must have aired for weeks and weeks when I was about ten. It's an epic clip, nearly eight minutes long. I've always loved the song and had this vague idea that it had something to do with Beauty and the Beast. I of course saw the Disney adaptation of this fairy tale at the time like every other Barbie-wielding ten-year-old girl. In Beauty and the Beast, an ugly, beastly man is redeemed by the love of a beautiful girl, transformed back into the prince he always was and they live happily ever after. In 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' Meatloaf is the Beast, complete with uglifying make-up (insert snarky comment here), motorcycle and Gothic mansion.

What I've found curious over the years are the lyrics: what is the "that" that Meatloaf won't do? And what's the Beauty and the Beast connection?

They're actually quite beautiful lyrics:

Maybe I'm crazy, but it's crazy and it's true
I know you can save me, no one else can save me now but you

As long as the planets are turning, as long as the stars are burning
As long as your dreams are coming true, you better believe it

That I would do anything for love, and I'll be there til the final act
I would do anything for love, and I'll take a vow and seal a pact

I do love fairy tales, but I do find some of the assumptions that accompany them irritating. Beauty equals goodness, for instance. And the notion of happily ever after, as if it's as easy as falling in love and happiness forever after is a given. I'm a romantic but I like a bit of reality with my romance.

During Beauty's solo towards the end of the song, she asks the Beast all the things he'll do for her:

Will you raise me up, will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this Godforsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?

Will you cater to every fantasy I got?
Will ya hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?
Will you take me places I've never known?

He says vehemently that he will. Of course he will! He's dying to be redeemed, and besides, she's smokin'. So, happy ending on it's way! All that's left is for Beauty to do is leap on the back of that motorbike.

But she continues, rather accusingly:

After a while you'll forget everything
It was a brief interlude and a midsummer night's fling
And you'll see that it's time to move on

I know the territory, I've been around
It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down
And sooner or later, you'll be screwing around

And that's the "that" that Meatloaf is referring to. He declares he won't screw around, he won't cast her off or move on. After he's declared this, he's transformed into the prince, proving that he's not lying, and they ride off into the sunset together.

The clip retains its romance and happy ending, without the hero and heroine casting themselves blindly into happily ever after.
How lovely is that?

'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' reached number 1 in Australia on September 4, 1993 (two months before I turned ten) and stayed there for eight weeks. Beauty and the Beast was released in cinemas in 1991.

I'll leave you with the film clip. Rock out with your heart out.


  1. Great Flim Clip!:)

  2. ummmmm dude - you are like my mirror half.

    try paradise by the dashboard light for a bit of teen angst virginity stuff and two outta three aint bad if you want to be choked to pieces of sadness.

    meatloaf is one of my favourite bands and they only excel on their bat out of hell album ( i think thats the one)

    ps. i think we should do facebook.

  3. I know those are awesome songs! Maybe I'm a closet Meatloaf lover and I haven't even admitted it to myself. I'll have to get the album.

    Yeah we should totally FB. I'll send you my profile link ;)

  4. Great memory! I always wondered 'that' too. Cheers!

  5. Thanks for posting the lyrics! I never really listened to them before, but you're right. They're great!

  6. I adored this song, I think it was No 1 is the Uk for weeks too. I remember sitting in bedroom trying to tape it off Top of the Pops without getting any of the talking before hand LOL I feel old!

    Thanks for the memories :) Also having flash backs to Bryan Adams and Wet, wet, wet which I think were out around the same time.

  7. I remember that Wet Wet Wet song! "I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes..." Such a beautiful clip too.

  8. Oh man, I LOVED this song! I still love this song! So rad! I had actually somehow never seen the music video before this very day. And I never made the Beauty and the Beast connection. Now seeing the video and reading the lyrics, it's so obvious.
    I, like, Alexa, was also having Bryan Adams flashbacks. Although I guess they're less flashbacks for me, as I still adore Bryan Adams and listen to him regularly even today. He's a vegan, like me!, and he's totally my rock star crush.
    And oh my god, I just put Wet, Wet, Wet up on youtube, because I thought I didn't know what it was, and I am in total nostalgia heaven.