Written Before Listen
First off, Rest In Peace to Meat Loaf. To celebrate, I will listen to his celebrated debut, Bat Out Of Hell. I’ve never listened to Meat Loaf or even gone out of my way to and I don’t know why, but to celebrate the life of the musician, I will finally listen to his seminal debut.
Meat Loaf is a great frontman and singer, but he is mostly a lover of music. You could tell that he loved so many pop-rock legends before him. The opening track alone has an intro that is like a mixture of The Who, Queen, and Bruce Springsteen, and then it goes into this Billy Joel-inspired piano jam. The Springsteen influence carries on tracks like “You Took The Words” and “For Crying Out Loud” but Meat Loaf puts his own ambitious and theatric spin on the heartland sound. Alongside those artists, his biggest influence is by far Elton John. A lot of the vocal melodies and instrumental palettes are extremely inspired by Elton John but it’s brought to extremities that only an album like this could accomplish.
Meat Loaf’s debut is easily one of the most successful debuts of all time, but he got by with a little help from his friends. The most important musician that helped with this album was the legendary Todd Rundgren. For nearly all songs he did guitar and he also produced this record. Alongside Rundgren, the piano player Roy Bittan as well as one of the drummers, Max Weinberg are long-time members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Alongside that, we have the legendary Edgar Winter as the saxophone player for a good handful of these tracks. We also have one of the most famous recording engineers behind this record…Jimmy Iovine. As you can see, Meat Loaf had the names behind him, but the record was his and promoted as his, and there’s a reason for it, he is obviously the star of the show.
Bat Out Of Hells Place In Rock
This album review is low-key Songswithmusic history. The reason is that this is my first Rock Opera review. The ideas of ambitious albums with continuous themes started emerging in the 60s but weren’t completely developed until The Who dropped their seminal 1969 release, Tommy. It’s not the best rock opera out there, but it is a good place to start. After that, artists like The Kinks, Frank Zappa, and David Bowie toned around with the idea, but nothing topped the ambition of The Who’s take on it. That was until this album dropped. On the other hand, there was a version of ambitious and operatic rock that was more ambitious and acclaimed by music fans, Progressive Rock. What I’m trying to tell you is that with every album like this, we had an album like Rush’s 2112 or Emerson Lake & Palmers Trilogy. I can fully respect every aspect of this album because of it too. It was the mainstream’s introduction to theatrics and ambitious song structures in rock and in a way, this album made progressive rock more welcome to music fans, and I will gladly thank Meat Loaf for that.
This album was a massive success in a lot of places.Bat Out Of Hell is the 5th best selling album in New Zealand and the best selling album in Australia. Alongside that, It has a total of 44 million sales and the only three albums above it are Michael Jacksons Thriller, AC/DCs Back In Black, and Whitney Houston’s Bodyguard Soundtrack. That means that the album has more sales than any albums by The Beatles, Elvis, Elton John, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and many more commercially successful musicians.
With so many musicians and producers behind this album, it a guaranteed that the production is perfected. On the other hand, it’s produced to the point where everything is heard and satisfying. I wouldn’t consider this one of the best-produced albums but I would give this album credit for having production that just works for anyone to listen to. It comes to show that sometimes the production on a rock record doesn’t need to have the keyboard sounds on Pink Floyd records, the bass sounds of Beatles records, the drum sounds of Zeppelin records or the guitar sounds on Metallica records to have commercial success. It just has the right amount of authenticity and life to the mix that avoids the album from being labeled overproduced.
I will say it once again, Rest In Peace to Meat Loaf. I wouldn’t say I loved the album, but I will say that I respect it a lot. There’s a reason that multiple songs on this album appears on “Hits of The 70s” playlists or “70s Classics” playlists. There’s a reason why Meat Loaf barely has any contemporaries, this album is just in a league of its own, and rightfully so. Meat Loaf, you will be missed.