EntertainmentMusic'Bat Out of Hell', the best-selling rock album trilogy

‘Bat Out of Hell’, the best-selling rock album trilogy


In the world of rock we find albums that have gone down in music history and have had a great impact on society. In this article we are going to learn a little more about the Bat Out of Hell album series, whose first album was released in 1977 and is already one of the jewels of rock.

Not only is it one of the best-selling albums of all time, but it has also had two sequels: in 1993 and 2006. With a perfect playlist to cheer up any depressed soul, we take a closer look at the most powerful love songs in the world. music.

Meat Loaf will go down in rock history for Bat Out of Hell , which brought him million-dollar sales, legions of followers and also a few haters . His name will always be linked to this series of albums. Although Volume III released in 2006 certainly didn’t measure up, what was achieved in 1977 was impossible to beat. Nor was it easy to surpass a hit as successful as ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’, contained in Volume II, from 1993. In any case, the whole makes the trilogy a great composition and highly praised by critics. No other artist has sold so much with so few albums.

Special mention deserves Jim Steinman, writer of the songs for the Bat Out of Hell trilogy . Steinman is one of the names in rock, having won several Grammy Awards for his work as a producer. Among his most commercial successes are ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ written for Bonnie Tyler or ‘Making Love Out Nothing At All’ for Air Supply. Steinman is the creator of the Wagnerian rock style, which can be seen mainly in the albums of the Bat Out of Hell trilogy and in Bonnie Tyler’s Faster Than The Speed ​​of Night  (1983).

Some of the characteristics of this subgenre of rock are presenting very long songs with a structure of several well differentiated parts: introduction, plot, climax and end. The piano has a lot of presence and the percussion, which includes the tambourine as the protagonist, is great. The female choirs are also very important. The lyrics speak of love from an epic and fantastic narrative.

1977: the bat escapes from Hell

With one of the most recognizable covers in rock history, Bat Out of Hell was released in the fall of 1977. A motorcycle hero escaped from the bowels of the earth. The ground full of graves and the red sky formed a hellish landscape accompanied by a devilish statue. BOOH spent nothing more and nothing less than 244 weeks in the TOP 40 of the Anglo-Saxon charts (244 weeks!), a record so far unmatched by any other soloist. It is one of the best-selling albums in history and ranks at #66 on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Top 200 Albums list.

Bat Out of Hell contains seven songs, which range from the most powerful metal to ballads, passing through the purest rock. The first track, almost ten minutes long, is an authentic succession of blows and sensations driven by the great voice of Meat Loaf, the tireless piano and electric guitar. It is the song that gives title to the album:

There are 10 minutes in which we experience instrumental sections, rhythm changes… and we even hear the sound of a motorcycle (the motorcycle on the album cover). It is a continuous acceleration, an explosive piece. The extensive lyrics tell us about a crazy biker who wants to flee at full speed, burning the engine. Inevitably her escape from him, like a bat escaping from Hell, ends in a tremendous accident. Steinman said that he wanted to write “the biggest crash” ever told, and he surely got it.

‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ was the most successful single from Bat Out of Hell , a single that sold millions of copies and was curiously not representative of the vocal power and electric power of the record. Quite the contrary: it was a love ballad, delicately accompanied by the piano. That same tone is found in ‘For Crying Out Loud’. ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ was on the charts for half a year.

The introduction of ‘You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth’ is a dialogue between a woman and a man, who for an eternal minute examine each other for the level of love commitment. Then a new example of the epic rock of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. Lyrics and musical accompaniment are perfectly adapted and present catchy and moving melodies.

‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ is a rare bird in the world of rock. It is surely the longest song ever recorded at 45rpm. They are more than eight minutes of fast pace, very inappropriate for radio stations, which in most countries cut this song. A pity, because it is a song consisting of three very distinguished and great pieces.

‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ is proof of the diversity of sounds found in Bat Out of Hell , with a purer rock & roll rhythm, far from the hard rock of ‘Bat Out of Hell’ or ballads like ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’. In the documentary ‘Classic Albums: Bat Out of Hell’ (Bob Smeaton, 1999) the history of this great album is explained:

1993: return to Hell

After having had successes in the eighties (especially notable the ‘Dead Ringer for Love’ sung as a duet with Cher), at the beginning of the nineties the bat returned. It took Meat Loaf 16 years to bring back Bat Out of Hell , but he did it in style. The second volume of the series, titled Back Into Hell , contained one of the best hits of the decade: ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ was number one in several countries, and is still playing on the radio. Some 15 million copies were sold, showing that the Bat Out of Hell audience was still there.

In general, the album received positive reviews (both Q Magazine , AllMusic and Kerrang! gave it four stars out of five), although Rolling Stone magazine gave it a good beating in an October 1993 article. Criticism from some, who continued to focus more on the curvature of Meat Loaf’s belly than on the power of his voice, the truth is that in BOOH II we find several good songs.

‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ is Meat Loaf’s most famous song. It was written by Jim Steinman, something that is well appreciated in the length of the title. Some say that the names of Steinman’s songs, rather than titles, are short stories. The same thing happens with ‘Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back’ or with ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are’.

In the case of ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ the length of the song itself is also surprising: 12 minutes, a horror for radio stations. And yet, its beauty and power made it a hit.

‘Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through’ was the third single from BOOH: Back into Hell. A catchy rhythm that serves as an ode to rock itself. It is a tribute to the genre that “never leaves you alone, because you can put on your headphones and let the drummer tell your heart what to do.” Again the piano, the electric guitar and the choirs accompany the powerful voice of Meat Loaf.

On ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are’ (possibly one of the songs with the longest title) the rhythm changes, and the piano turns from powerful to delicate. At least in the first part, because it is another example of a piece with a complex structure: there are three musical sections, which represent summer, winter and spring. A great power ballad .

The start of ‘Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back’ couldn’t be more hard rock . At times it is very (very) reminiscent of Bon Jovi, but as soon as Meat Loaf’s voice appears we return to the Bat Out of Hell environment . Also, we continue in typical BOOH durations, in this case ‘Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back’ lasts 8 minutes. Meat Loaf was still doing his thing in 1993, in an environment loaded with grunge .

A la epica propia de Meat Loaf se le sumo la de Michael Bay, que dirigio los videoclips de ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’, ‘Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through’ (protagonizado por Angelina Jolie) y ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are’. Una combinacion explosiva.

2006: the monster is loose

Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose once again placed Meat Loaf in the TOP 10 internationally. Undoubtedly there was a lot of expectation to see what new adventures awaited the bat. It had been almost three decades since the release of BOOH in 1977 and thirteen years since BOOH II . In BOOH III Jim Steinman did not write all the songs, and in fact there were problems between him and Meat Loaf himself due to rights and copyright issues.

It certainly does not reach the level of its predecessors. Critics did not understand Meat Loaf’s embrace of nu metal, the heavy metal genre that flirts with alternative rock and hip hop, and it is true that the musical and lyrical quality of the songs did not come close to the hits released in 1993. (not to mention those hits from 1977). In any case, we wanted to rescue two songs that are catchy and were radio station fodder (something that ironically for Meat Loaf is not a compliment).

‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ is one of Jim Steinman’s most famous songs. It ended up in BOOH III , but it was meant for BOOH II , and it was also played by Celine Dion.

In the case of ‘Cry Over Me’, this is a typical ballad that could appear on the soundtrack of series like Smallville . A song that could have been published by any rock group and that, in fact, was not written by Steinman. Still, it’s successful. Far from the level that Meat Loaf showed in the other two Bats .

After Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose we don’t expect Meat Loaf to bring the bat out of Hell again. The series stays in a trilogy, and leaves us with a long list of great songs, full of energy. A powerful style full of sounds that will forever carry the signature of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman.

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