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.
To me this album was big as I’ve already noted and was loaded with killer tracks. Let’s take a look at them once more down below and then continue along.
1. Bat Out Of Hell
2. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Nights)
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. All Revved Up And No Place To Go
5. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
6. Paradise By The Dashboard Light
7. For Crying Out Loud
As I review the tracks once more for this anniversary toast I can honestly say that while the seminal numbers of “Paradise” and the title track are my top-drawer favorites, that I don’t have any issue with any other number on the full release. When I do these summaries, I find myself playing the release on my Spotify and while there is generally some skipping around that doesn’t seem to happen at all with “Bat Out Of Hell”. Another notion that comes to me and brings a chuckle is how that “Paradise” seemed to be the very favorite song among my 8th Grade Graduating class. Middle School to most of you I guess and since this was 1979 for me, the album had been out for two years by the time we reached that personal milestone. Considering the songs subject matter against our age I had to laugh since most of us didn’t have that sort of experience at the time unless it was kissing which I know some did but the rest…..not at all. Going back to the tracks I loved the difference between the sides in “All Revved Up” and even “Hot Summer Nights” with its weird spoken word intro. The slower numbers were nice but that was it for me on them. Sure I still let them play through because why not. What are your favorite numbers from this one? You can let me know down in the comments section below.
Now while I generally include my original vinyl as photo inclusions in these posts, I cannot seem to locate my copy of this one and that makes me think that I ended up playing it to death. I know I owned a copy and would assume that my folks purchased it for me since I wasn’t really buying albums yet at that particular time. Oh well. I do have it on CD now and hope for an expanded and remastered copy to be released. “Bat Out Of Hell” ended up becoming a trilogy of albums that took a few decades to be released and while the second and third do not at all touch the original in this writers opinion, they are still worthy of a listen. Despite my love of this album I would never see Meat Loaf in concert until quite a few years later when he was touring the third part of the trilogy. Congratulations Meat Loaf and of course Jim Steinman on such an incredible body of work.