It’s remarkable to think that Meat Loaf’s iconic Bat Out Of Hell album is 36 years old this year. Originally released in October 1997, the album has sold over 43 million copies worldwide spawning the huge hits Bat Out Of Hell, You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. Now to tie-in with his farewell arena tour, Meatloaf has released Bat Out Of Hell: Special Edition.
Bat Out Of Hell: Special Edition contains the full original album plus two live tracks and Meat Loaf’s hit duet with Cher Dead Ringer For Love. Bat Out Of Hell marked the rock star’s first collaboration with Jim Steinman who wrote all of the songs for the album’s original release. The set was produced by fellow legend Todd Rundgren. This album is where Meat Loaf’s now trademark rock opera sound was established with each of the songs running for around at least 5 minutes and in some cases up to 9 minutes.
Opening with the title track Bat Out Of Hell the epic arrangements of Jim Steinman and Todd Rundgren sound as remarkable today as they did when the album was first released. Meat Loaf’s voice has always been his most unique feature and it’s fantastic to hear this classic collection once again. Whilst he may be known for his rockier moments Meat Loaf proves he can do simple with piano ballad Heaven Can Wait. His voice has incredible vibrato and he packs emotion into every single lyric.
One of the album’s most interesting moments is the epic Paradise By The Dashboard Light. The song consists of three parts – Paradise, Let Me Sleep On It and Praying For The End of Time – all of which explore a variety of musical styles. There’s rock in there, a bit of blues and dare we say even a little bit of pop? All Revved Up With No Place To Go is another forgotten gem and one that isn’t often mentioned from this album. The uptempo number is one of the shorter tracks on the album but it has classic Meat Loaf all over it.
The bonus tracks on the disc are the live intro Great Boleros of Fire, a live rendition of Bat Out Of Hell and Cher duet Dead Ringer For Love. It’s amazing to think that Cher and Meat Loaf have never performed Dead Ringer For Love together live.
Bat Out Of Hell: Special Edition contains a DVD titled Hits Out Of Hell. The disc contains a selection of Meat Loaf’s early music videos. It’s great to go back and revisit the legend’s early days. We especially love the video for Dead Ringer For Love which features Meat Loaf and Cher facing off in a crowded bar.
During his current Last At Bat Tour, Meatloaf has been performing Bat Out Of Hell in its entirety during the second act of the show. This could be the last ever time fans hear these songs live so the Special Edition release of this classic album is very timely. If you don’t own a copy, or yours is too worn out, do yourself a favour and pick up this fantastic new edition.