The next Meat Loaf could be in the UNT Pep Band

The next Meat Loaf could be in the UNT Pep Band


I’m not sure anybody aspires to be the next Meat Loaf and this story should probably be about Tony Mitchell, but North Texas has one of the best music programs in the nation and their impressive list of alumni proves that point. From Pat Boone to Meat Loaf, the Mean Green has continually produced musicians who have gone on to fame in all types of music. Names like Bob Belden, Eden Brent and Ivan Davis may not ring a bell to most, unless you are a jazz aficionado, blues fan or are up on your classical concert pianists.

To most of us (this is a sports website so we do not claim to ever be cultured individuals) the big names are those who have had popular hits throughout the years. Pat Boone has turned into a cultural icon and it all started at North Texas. Meat Loaf had one good album following the success of Rocky Horror Picture Show and toured forever before coming out with another successful album, “Bat out of Hell II.” And since then I have seen him as the host of some music game show on The 101 that I found amusing for a week.

The list continues with names like Jeff Coffin who played saxophone for Dave Matthews for a while and folk singer Sara Hickman. Arguably the most notable musical alum for North Texas is Don Henley. Since the Eagles formed in 1971, Henley has been on the charts for about 30 years with the Eagles or as a solo artist. The stuff from the 1980’s may be a little hokey these days (i.e. “All She Wants to Do is Dance”), the music he made with the Eagles is timeless.

In more recent times, Norah Jones met her future collaborators at UNT and went on to find quick success with her 2002 album Come Away With Me. Since then everything she releases turns to platinum, or usually at least double platinum.

The most tragic story is that of Bobby Fuller whose band released one of the most unappreciated songs of the 60’s. “I Fought The Law” was about to catapult Fuller into superstardom. The song was a top ten hit in the summer of 1966. However, right as the song was peaking on the charts, Fuller was found dead in a car outside his Hollywood apartment. While his death remains a mystery, Fuller has pretty much disappeared from popular culture. What remains is a generally crappy remake by The Clash of his famous song and some usually forced references by John Mellencamp.

Giving Don Henley a run for his money and a much bigger name in my book is Roy Orbison. Orbison enrolled at North Texas to study geology, apparently because he likes to rock. After Boone got a record deal, Orbison figured he could do the same with a little more hard work. That forced him out to the junior college level, but he was right. “Oh, Pretty Woman” aside, Orbison has a ton of superb songs spanning from 1956 until his death in 1988. And if you do not believe Orbison was making good music at the age of 52 in 1988, check out “Lefty” with the Traveling Wilburys.

There are many, many more famous musical folks with roots at North Texas. I suggest getting together and forming the Traveling Mean Greenburys. It would be one heck of a band. Get on it Meat Loaf.

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