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October 24, 2023

Teddy Pendergrass, Meat Loaf, and Debbie Harry, ca. 1980

Did Meat Loaf tell Debbie Harry and Teddy Pendergrass what he wouldn’t do for love? These three disparate artists were brought together through the magic of film – 1980’s Roadie, to be exact. The comedy, which was Meat Loaf’s first starring role, featured a trove of cameos – including one by Harry’s band, Blondie. Pendergrass, meanwhile, contributed the Top 5 R&B hit, “Can’t We Try” to the film’s fantastic soundtrack.

Roadie is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by Alan Rudolph about a truck driver who becomes a roadie for a traveling rock and roll show. The film stars Meat Loaf and marks his first starring role in a film. There are also cameo appearances by musicians such as Roy Orbison and Hank Williams Jr. and supporting roles played by Alice Cooper and the members of Blondie.

One the strangest musical curiosities of the 1980s, Roadie stars Meat Loaf as a good ol’ Texas boy who turns himself into the world’s greatest roadie to win the heart of a teen-age groupie (Kaki Hunter). She, however, is obsessed with Alice Cooper, just one of the musical guest stars in this rock & roll road movie farce. Meat Loaf single-handedly saves concerts by Hank Williams Jr. and Roy Orbison (who duet on “The Eyes of Texas”) and Blondie (who crank up “Ring of Fire”) as well.

Directed by Alan Rudolph, from a slapdash story he co-wrote with producer Zalman King (which surely qualifies as one of the most unlikely creative partnerships in film history), this high-energy cinematic jam is a raucous, disjointed goof. But only the comedy is played out of key. The music rocks.

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