Today, we bid farewell to a rock hero. Actor, singer, and king of camp Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74 — which means it’s time to pay tribute to a career kicked off by a famous set of wheels: The Honda Civic.
Meat Loaf’s debut album Bat Out Of Hell was released in 1977, but he and fellow songwriter Jim Steinman had been picking away at it for almost five years by the time it was released. The duo didn’t really settle down to start seriously working on it until 1974, but the main thing that really helped get things going was the brand-new 1976 Honda Civic Meat Loaf had purchased during the recording.
MotorTrend chatted with the rock singer about his wheels back in 2016:
“There was only 18 [Civics] in the country when I bought mine. And we were using it to drive back and forth to Woodstock, Jim Steinman and I, to do ‘Bat Out of Hell.’ We had just started recording it.”
Perhaps the Civic proved to be a good luck charm? “Well, it didn’t seem so at the time, but as you sit here and look today — in a way it was, in a way it wasn’t,” Meat Loaf says. “They owe me and Jim a lot of money. The record company. I can’t even start to tell you how much money.”
I’ll leave it to you to check out the other vehicles that were integral to Meat Loaf’s career — but something about the thought of a big man behind the wheel of a little Civic was so charming to me.
The first generation Civic like the one Meat Loaf would have had was brand-new at the time, both internationally and in America. The Civic’s release also happened to coincide with the 1973 oil crisis, during which time gas was limited and gas prices skyrocketed. Instead of the hulking beasts America was building, the Civic was small and fairly fuel efficient, and it became the economy car of choice over American competition like the Ford Pinto or Chevy Vega. I don’t think I have to tell you that the Civic’s reputation helped it stick around while the Pinto and Vega lived short, unsatisfying lives.
So, here’s to the Honda Civic. The next time you want to complain about it being a standard, boring car, just remember: Without it, we wouldn’t have had Meat Loaf.