Bat Out of Hell: Rolling Stone's Number 343 of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Bat Out of Hell
Studio album: Meat Loaf
Released: October 1977
Genre: Hard rock, pop, progressive rock
Producer: Todd Rundgren

Bat Out of Hell is the 1977 debut album by American rock singer Meat Loaf and composer Jim Steinman. It's one of the best-selling LPs in history, having sold over 43 million copies worldwide and certified 14× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Rolling Stone ranked it at Number 343 on its 2012 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
There is no other album like Bat Out of Hell, 
unless you want to count the sequel.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine for Allmusic
Composer Jim Steinman developed the album Bat Out of Hell from a musical, Neverland. A futuristic rock version of Peter Pan, Steinman wrote it for a workshop in 1974. Three of the tunes -  "Bat Out of Hell," "Heaven Can Wait," and "All Revved Up with No Place to Go" - became part of the seven-song record. Todd Rundgren produced it. 

Bat Out Of Hell UK 12-inch red vinyl limited edition (1979)
Bat Out of Hell
Single: Meat Loaf
Album: Bat Out of Hell
B-side: Heaven Can Wait
Released: January 1979 (UK)
Genre: Hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal
Songwriter: Jim Steinman
Producer: Todd Rundgren

Jim Steinman was a composer without a peer, simply because nobody else wanted to make mini-epics like this. And no singer was more suited for Steinman's compositions than the bombastic Meat Loaf. 

No matter how ridiculous the song, Meat Loaf finds its emotional core. The production by Todd Rundgren makes Steinman's grandiosity immense but not overwhelming. 

The title track and opening song was inspired by teenage tragedy songs like "Leader of the Pack" and "Tell Laura I Love Her." Steinman wanted to write the "most extreme crash song of all time."  Both the single and album are often compared to Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run album, especially the song "Thunder Road," That Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan from Springsteen's E Street Band played on the album helped reinforce the comparison.


You Took the Words Right Out of My
Mouth
Single: Meat Loaf
Album: Bat Out of Hell
B-side: For Crying Out Loud
Released: October 1977 (US)
Released: March 1978 (UK) 
Songwriter: Jim Steinman
Producer: Todd Rundgren

"You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" is a story of young lust. One hot summer night on a deserted beach, a boy finds himself speechless, so overwhelmed with his flame he can't even say the words "I Love You." Fueled with passion, it's classic Steinman. He also wrote "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonnie Tyler and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion.

The album version of this song contains a spoken intro. The male voice is Jim Steinman, and the woman is Marcia McClain, an actress who played Dee Stewart in the Soap Opera As the World Turns. The dialogue was part of his stage production for Neverland. This was the first single released from Bat Out Of Hell. 



Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
Single: Meat Loaf
Album: Bat Out of Hell
B-side: For Crying Out Loud
Released: February 1978 (US)
Released: July 1978 (UK)
Genre: Soft rock
Songwriter: Jim Steinman
Producer: Todd Rundgren

In America, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" was the second single released from the Bat Out Of Hell album. It spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at Number 11. The music video was shot for the single and received significant television airplay four years before MTV's debut. 

Jim Steinman's friend, the actress Mimi Kennedy, had suggested he write a simple ballad, like the Elvis Presley song "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You." Something straightforward and simple. Steinman used the phrase but added his own brand of Shakespearean drama. It was the final song written for the album.



Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Single: Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley
Album: Bat Out of Hell
B-side: Bat Overture
Released: August 1978 (US)
Released: October 1978 (UK)
Rock: hard rock, glam rock
Songwriter: Jim Steinman
Producer: Todd Rundgren

"Paradise By The Dashboard Light" is about a teenage boy trying to convince a girl to have sex with him in a car. She holds out until he says he loves her and will stay with her forever. Overcome by passion, he does and honors his word to spend the rest of his life with her even though he can't stand her.

This song is absurd: a maudlin, grandiloquent eight-minute duet. Music industry folks needed to figure out how to react. It made the US Top 40 but was tagged as a "novelty" record, the same label given to Cheech & Chong and The Chipmunks. Even the musicians working on the album had their doubts. Kasim Sulton, from Rundgren's band Utopia, played bass on the sessions, told Songfacts: 

"Through the process, I remember distinctly saying to myself, 'This is just the biggest joke I've ever been involved in. I cannot believe that these people got a record deal! This is just crazy. I'll never hear this record. It's just a joke. It's a comedy record.'"

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