DEFIANCE, Ohio – Meat Loaf bestowed a meandering endorsement upon Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney here Thursday night, making what the hard rock icon said was his first move on the political stage.

The singer, who rose to fame in the 1970s with his power ballads, performed a short concert at a high school football stadium in Defiance to rally some 12,000 supporters before Romney came on stage to give a speech.

 Meat Loaf performed a few songs familiar to his most devoted fans; his most famous hit, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” didn’t make the cut. And then, with dramatic flair and wearing a sparkly black ensemble, explained why he was getting behind Romney’s candidacy.

 “There has storm clouds come over the United States,” Meat Loaf said. (Yes, he said it that way.) “There is thunderstorms over Europe. There are hail storms – and I mean major hail storms – in the Middle East. There are storms brewing through China, through Asia, through everywhere, and there’s only one man that on the other night when President Barack Obama, God bless him, said to Mitt Romney, ‘The Cold War is over.’”

 “I have never heard such a thing in my life,” Meat Loaf continued. “The man needs to understand Putin and Russia. So I want you to know that there is one man who will stand tall in this country and fight the storm and bring the United States back to what it should be – Governor Mitt Romney!”

Meat Loaf, whose real name is Michael Lee Aday, said this is the first time he has ever endorsed a candidate.

 “I have never been in any political agenda in my life, but I think that in 2012 this is the most important election in the history of the United States,” he said.

Then he led a call and response with the audience. “Let me hear y’all repeat after me. Mitt Romney!... ‘Cause he can stand in the storm.”

Meat Loaf said he has been supporting Romney for a year, and is a fan of his running mate, too. “I want you to know, at 65, that Paul Ryan has not pushed me off the cliff in a wheelchair,” he said.

“I made three phone calls today to Democrats in California and I got two of them to switch to Romney, so two our of three ain’t bad,” Meat Loaf said. “So you get out there and you argue with your relatives, you argue with your neighbors, you get in fights over politics and religion, ‘cause we need Ohio! God bless ya. We love ya. Thank you. Keep rockin’ – and Mitt Romney!”

When Romney came out on stage, he gushed about his support from the musical guests who performed in Defiance, including country singer Randy Owen of the band Alabama as well as Big and Rich.

“I don’t recall having so much fun in such a long time as to be able to listen to these guys this evening,” Romney said. “You were over here watching them. Was [that] not just amazing to have Big and Rich performing? And then Meat Loaf? I mean, Meat Loaf was here! Can you believe it? And of course having Randy Owen of Alabama – wasn’t that fabulous?”

At the conclusion of the rally, the singers joined Romney on stage to sing “America the Beautiful,” which Romney often notes is his favorite hymn, as fireworks burst into the dark sky.