Yesterday it was exactly forty years ago that Bat Out of Hell, one of my all time favorite albums, was released.
A day late, I still have a few thoughts I want to share.
Bat came out three years before I was born. I am sure I have shared the story before, but I have to blame Henny Huisman for my introduction to Meat Loaf and what came next. He had this TV show, and our neighbor was going to be in it. She wanted to raise funds for a new meeting center for the local elderly, and (surprise surprise) he took her to an awards show, the Grand Gala du Disc 1993. We watched the broadcast of the show, in hopes to see our neighbor. (You’re thirteen and it were excitable times…) According to my mother, some pretty famous singer from way back when she was young would be singing a new song and some old hit of his, and I, not being all that into music, was all, like, whatever. So this guy comes on and starts singing this song and I am totally sold. Hook, line, and sinker. Later, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell… became the first album I ever bought, and from there on, it somewhere slipped into full scale Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman madness.
But seeing that TV show led to someone giving me a copy of Bat on cassette. And while I must surely have heard “Paradise” before that, I remember thinking while listening to that tape for the first time, “Hey, I know this song from Paul de Leeuw.”
That same tape also cut the final few minutes of “For Crying Out Loud”, for timing reasons. Until I finally heard the full length album version (on a second hand vinyl copy), it never really worked for me. Now it is my favorite track of the album, and perhaps my favorite Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman track as well. It might just as well by my favorite song ever, even.
Bat Out of Hell is 47 minutes of epic awesomeness, from the screaming guitars and piano thunder of the title track’s intro, to the pounding drums and soaring strings of “For Crying Out Loud”. Sure, I don’t really have to hear “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” ever again, and my favorite version of “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” comes now from the (also enormously awesome) Bat Out of Hell — The Musical, but it is a perfect album. Over 45 million fans can’t be wrong. (Disclaimer: at last count, we had like 15 copies ourselves.)
Having Bat Out of Hell in my life has made it definitely better, and I cannot thank Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman enough for that.