For crying out loud my readers, can you believe that “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf is now hitting its “Fabulous Fortieth” Anniversary? Yes my friends this album, while the second of Meat’s storied career was released on this very day back in 1977 and what an album it was. Composed in full by Jim Steinman, this release began the pairs historic collaboration during a very interesting time in music history. As a score this one is bombastic to the nth degree and from the moment it begins with the title track brings you deep into the story of a biker who is heading for the great unknown despite his unawareness of this being the case. This track remains a favorite based on its flourishing intro part and it was something I always tried to master as an up and coming musician. I got some of it but hey I was young. Oh yeah and before I get carried away here please remember that this isn’t as much line by line history and more of a personal reflection on the body of work. All of the finer details are locked into the Wikipedia entry if you’d like some deeper fact checking. So where was I. Oh yeah so this one was a killer if you glanced at the liner notes and featured players such as Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Max Weinberg, Edgar Winter, Roy Bittan, Ellen Foley and of course Jim Steinman. Rundgren would produce the album when no one else really wanted to. This one was a hard sell to the record companies of the day and that surprised me just a little bit since they were already open to bands like KISS, Judas Priest and Angel. Two of which could be considered “way out there” by the times standards.
The song “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” was an immediate radio hit or at least I believed that it was since I heard it on so many radio stations back in the day. My parents had a rocking side to them so traditional Rock Radio was something that was listened to in my household quite a bit. I think that was what led them to grabbing me the album because if they didn’t my copy came from one of those Record Clubs that let you snag a bunch of albums for a penny. I think everyone that I knew back as a youth took advantage of that “deal” and then was shell-shocked by how high the albums cost for you to make good with the company for the super discount but I digress.
Continue reading Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” Still Rocking At 40 (1977-2017)
Artist: Meat Loaf
Venue: Palace Theatre (New York, NY)
Label: Virgin Music
I was convinced that tonight was going to be something special from the moment that I heard about the show. The setting would be Broadway’s Palace Theatre and inside on this blustery night in New York City, the legendary Meat Loaf would perform music from all three of his “Bat Out Of Hell” albums. It’s been almost thirty years since the bombastic front man first appeared on the music scene with an album that would forever shake Rock & Roll history. Penned by Jim Steinman, “Bat Out Of Hell” was an album loaded with stories that had a tremendous Broadway aspect to them. It spawned the mega hits “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” and the fan favorite Teen Romance epic “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. The songs were radio staples back then and remain so to this very day. As a longtime fan of the recording, it would be great to experience these still fresh songs performed in such a setting. The event was sold out and a one -night only appearance and while the stage décor was limited to banners of the individual albums as banners the stage was absolutely loaded with music personnel and instruments. There was a sixteen piece strings and orchestra section, two keyboards, twin guitars, bass, drums, backup singers and of course – Meat Loaf. He arrived like a hurricane but only teased the crowd with “All Revved Up”, a song that I would have liked to hear the complete version of. Instead it was his lead in to “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”, one of the mega numbers in his repertoire and I admit that I was quite surprised to find this song so early on in the show. Yet considering the main idea was to showcase the new “Bat” album it made a little sense. Meat was in terrific vocal form for someone who has been singing at the top of his lungs for as long as he has and for this song the entire audience seemed to be doing the respective parts. It was during this song that we got to meet the lovely Miss Aspen Miller. Ms. Miller is perfect for the role of Meat Loafs foil for this track and an incredible vocal talent as well. During this song she pranced around stage in a skimpy cheerleader outfit which was met with levels of approval. She has a big voice and a lot of beautiful stage presence. Aspen is surely a welcome addition to the Meat Loaf touring company.
Continue reading Meat Loaf @ Palace Theatre (11/2/2006)
Artist: Meat Loaf
Title: “Classic Albums: Bat Out Of Hell”
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 10/3/2006
“Well I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday” – Those were the words sung by Meat Loaf on the absolute classic track “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. It was 1977 and I knew that song from beginning to end. I have to stop and laugh at the notion that none of my friends or I were of the age to properly realize what he was actually singing about yet we all knew the song from beginning to end, word for word. Such was the level of impact and appeal of the “Bat Out Of Hell” album and thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment this DVD takes the time to bring you inside the heads of those who helped to create it. Jim Steinman wrote the juggernaut recording and the DVD gives the viewer some background on how he and Meat Loaf first met. The pair surely had their work cut out for them for not only was operatic and theatrical Rock not entirely sellable, but a front man of Meat Loaf’s capacity was not exactly album cover and magazine worthy. After having more doors slammed in their faces than either of them could remember they met Todd Rundgren, producer, guitarist, genius who decided to give them a chance. Todd appears on the DVD as well offering his insight on some of the recording secrets. For a program that runs just under an hour, there is a lot of information to absorb. It’s fun to watch Meat Loaf years later at the mixing console as he plays with the tracks and shows off some of the parts that he is still proud of today. Steinman also takes time to sit at the piano and show how some parts were built upon and you even hear from the two backup singers associated with the record. The album features the recorded voice of Ellen Foley (does anyone remember her from “Night Court”?) and Karla DeVito, who sang live and performed in the promotional videos.
Continue reading “Classic Albums: Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf