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Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf

Album: Bat Out Of HellReleased: 1977Charted:
8
  • Like all of Meat Loaf's hits, this was written by pianist Jim Steinman. He said he wrote this to be the ultimate "Motorcycle crash song." The lyrics refer to a rider being thrown off his bike in a wreck and his organs exposed: "And the last thing I see is my heart still beating / Breaking out of my body and flying away / Like a bat out of hell." The song "Leader Of The Pack," which also featured a motorcycle, was a big influence on this track.
  • The motorcycle sound in the middle of the song is producer Todd Rundgren on electric guitar. Todd hated the idea at first, but Steinman begged him until he did that and the subsequent solo in one take. (thanks, Doodle - St. Augustine, FL, for above 2)
  • Jim Steinman wrote this song for his stage production Neverland, which he had been developing since 1975. The play debuted at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC on April 26, 1977. The Bat Out Of Hell album was released on October 21, 1977 and contained two other tracks from Neverland as well: "Heaven Can Wait" and "All Revved Up with No Place to Go."
  • Steinman trademarked the name "Bat Out Of Hell" in 1995, and in 2006, Meat Loaf sued him when Steinman wouldn't let him use the title "Bat Out Of Hell III" for an album. Steinman produced the album Bat Out Of Hell II, but Desmond Child produced the 2006 album.
  • "Bat Out Of Hell" is an expression meaning very fast.
  • The Bat Out of Hell album spent 474 weeks on the UK album chart and became one of the top five all time best selling albums. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Producer Todd Rundgren told Mojo magazine February 2009 of Bruce Springsteen's influence on the Bat Out of Hell album. Said Rundgren: "Jim Steinman still denies that record has anything to do with Springsteen. But I saw it as a spoof. You take all the trademarks - over long songs, teenage angst, handsome loner- and turn them upside down. So we made these epic songs, full of the silly puns that Steinman loves. If Bruce Springsteen can take it over the top, Meat Loaf can take it five storeys higher than that - and at the same time, he's this big, sweaty, unappealing character. Yet we out-Springsteened Springsteen. He's never had a record that sold like Bat Out of Hell, and I didn't think that anyone would ever catch on to it. I thought it would be just a cult thing. The royalties from that album enabled me to follow my own path for a long time after that."
  • Aside from a limited edition 12", this was never issued as a single in the US, but it was the first song many radio stations started playing after the album came out. Running 9:56, it was far too long for Pop radio, but embraced by the Freeform and Album Oriented Rock stations that were all over the airwaves.

    Bat Out Of Hell went on to sell about 30 million copies (give or take a few million depending on whose accounting you believe), but when it was released, its success was anything but a given. Meat Loaf was a very obscure artist and the album was unconventional, with nothing that sounded like a standard radio hit. This break in convention ended up distinguishing the album and prompting the huge sales figures.

    Even the guys who played on the album thought it would flop. In our interview with Kasim Sulton, who was the bass player, he said that while recording it, he thought the album was "the biggest joke that I've ever been involved in." He learned that it was not a joke when he heard the song on the influential New York City radio station WNEW-FM. "I hear this track, and I said to myself, 'That sounds vaguely familiar. Where have I heard that song before?'" Sutton said. "Then it hit me: 'I played on that!' It was 'Bat Out of Hell,' that track. And then after hearing it on WNEW, the record exploded."
  • In the UK, this was edited down to 6:40 and released as a single, charting at #15 in February, 1979 - 16 months after the album was released. In 1993, it was re-released in the UK (this time cut to 4:50), and charted at #8.
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Comments: 37

Amazing song. Always.Crüe - Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Great song from a great album, one of the few CDs I have that I don't program out a a single track, it's great from start to finish...Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
HELP HELP HELP !!! Does anyone know where to find the sheet music for the FULL INTRO TO BAT OUT OF HELL??? I've tried every legitimate outlet I know and have found zip.Jonathan - Parsippany, Nj
@ Stu, Philadelphia: Jim Steinman said on an interview with the Sky Arts channel that he was a big fan of "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and acknowledges that had an influence on his track Bat Out Of Hell.

Although unlikely to be recorded, Jim Steinman still holds up hope for the fourth and final installment of the "Bat Out Of Hell" series which he'd like to title "Bat Out Of Hell IV: The Final Bat". Meat Loaf, on the other hand, is adamant the "Bat Out Of Hell" journey ended with "The Monster Is Loose".
Jon - Scotland, United Kingdom
Skeletim, USA, NJ may not be too far off the mark because i remember reading in Meat Loafs Autobio. that all the songs that Stienman writes go into this 'super-musical' called neverlandRichard - Invercargill, New Zealand
The exact length is actually 9:59. This corresponds to the chapter and verse from the book of Lividicus "seek not the shortest distance to the truth, but hasten thy journey to the light lest ye never escape the fire of hell" Jim Stienman was a devout Catholic.Paul - Boston, Ma
Believe it or not, "Bat Out Of Hell" and the album of the same name was supposed to be a country music project.Jon - Scotland, United Kingdom
I've heard this song more times than I can count, and it always blows me away. I love it. But I swear, the line, "When the metal is hot and the engine is hungry" sounds like, "When the metal is hot and the engine is 'holy'". The next line is,
"And we're all about to see the light", can be interpreted as "we're all about to die, about to meet a higher power, etc.", which is likely a "holy" experience, if you believe in a higher power. I know what the lyrics are, as printed on the album/CD jacket because I own it. Maybe I'm wrong, but listen to him sing it a few or several times. If it was a misprint on the jacket, there may have been so many copies printed & sold before the error was noticed that they just decided to leave it as is.
Gary - Blackwood, Nj
I have been a fan from the begining and this song is about as raw and energetic as it gets. If this song doesn't get your heart pumping you just might be dead. I hope MeatLoaf goes on for another 30 yearsT - Tucson, Az
The piano behind the first verse sounds almost EXACTLY like the first verse in Springsteen's "Thunder Road".

Either way, Bat Out Of Hell is one of my absolute favorite songs, and favorite albums as well.

My bride walked down the aisle to a shortened, instrumental version i recorded of "Heavan Can Wait".

I LOVE MEAT LOAF!! :)

My band Raised On Radio does a good rendition of Paradise too, 9 minutes be damned :)
Stu - Philly, Pa
saw Meat Loaf on a double bill concert with Electric Light Orchestra. thought it was innovative and wild that he drove on stage on a Harley, and then for their show ELO arrived in their white flying saucer.......Roman - Barrie, On
Tom: One reason this sounds a bit like Springsteen is because the piano player is Roy Bittan and the drummer is Max Weinberg, both of the E Street Band.Rich - Bellevue, Wa
"When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone, gone, gone.
Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes.
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight's shining through.
Then like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
I'll come crawling on back to you." that chorus has got to hit home with many people in love, people mis judge love and think to little of it in my opinion and they don't realise how good it can be.
Joe - East Rockaway, Ny
This song is about Peter Pan promising to visit Wendy every night but returning to Neverland (San Fernando Valley) every morning. "Nothing ever grows in this rotten old hole and everything is stunted and lost" because the lost boys never grow old in Neverland. If he leaves too far away from the radiation that mutated his genes, then he will grow old. Hence why he is damned if he never gets out to see Wendy, but he is also damned if he does.Skeletim - Usa, Nj
This is a great song. The album was a tremendous success in the United States even though dozens of labels rejected it. But it's considered an all-time great in Australia and England, which is shown by many of the comments here coming from people from those two countries.David - Youngstown, Oh
Steinman was going to sing it but lost his voice after booking the studio.Money was tight so step in Marvin Adey and the rest is history.Check out Steinmans Bad for good album if you like Bat out of HellDavid - Grimsby, England
Does anyone else think this song sounds a LOT like Bruce Springsteen?Tom - East Lyme, Ct
Just a brillient song....Tracey - Johannesburg, South Africa
this stetches to over 12 minutes when performed live and also has female back-up vocals when played live.Ed - Ottawa, Canada
This is an amazing song, and anyone who really likes this song should listen to Heaven Can Wait, i am a romantic, and that song always puts me in a very sensual mood.Clayton - Mons, Belgium
Grea song! The album sells up to 200,000 copies a year!Damian - Melbourne, Australia
The album is the top selling Rock album in the UK in the 70s. Followed by BooH II.Will - York, England
this song is great i like to listen to it wile i am in the car drivin and going fast but somtimes i go crazy and almost crash you know becose i get too much into the songElie - The U.k, England
Ok, Ok I'm a Darkness, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith and Guns n Roses fan. But in this part of my Rock n Roll heart I'm a Meat Loaf fan. I don't know why I just like him. Just the titles of his songs. You know Bat out of Hell. You took the words right out of my mouth. Paradise by Dashboard Light.The Darkness Rock - Millmerran, Australia
an incredible intense rock and roll song made perfect lol, he is an incredible singer as well and his guitar playing skills are very top notch, sad he never released many more like thisAlexio - Haslemere, England
I'm 65 and absolutely no music revs my engine like this song! The driving intensity is downright sexual.Susan - San Francisco, Ca
I love this song its an awsome song and one of the few songs i can relate to as a racer...and this song is how i came to have nick name ( the bat out of hell)...Sarah - Spur, Tx
I love this song, it made me go back with my ex-wife, then we had a kid, then we broke up. Well I can thank this song for the good parts and blame her for the bad :PRodin - Brighton, England
I think he most special thing about this song is the "singing guitar" (i think it's the best impression for the sound that appears at 8:59). This is such a great sound that everytime I hear that song I go crazy!Chris - Stuttgart, Germany
when I feel my age, I put on this song - awesomeSandra - New York, Ny
Great song, brilliant album too....but the sequel, "Bat 2: Back Into Hell" was a major disappointment.Jack - Annan, Scotland
This song is played at every party i've gone to. It's a classic but its bloody longMadeline - Melbourne, Australia
This was on 1977's Bat Out Of Hell album. By far Meatloaf's greatest work.Aj - Cleveland, Ga
Steinman's inspiration for writing this song actually came from the film pyscho. Meat tells us this on the Story Tellers DVD. Another fact from that is that the song was originally only half the length it was until meat got hold of it and persuaded steinman to add more.James - Billingham, England
The exact length is 9:52Josh - Plainview, Ny
Awesome song...super long thjo..anyone know the exact length?Shana - Pembroke, Canada
An awesome song. I'm a ski racer, so that involves pushing ourselves to always go faster. Anyways, every year I pick a theme song to sing while I'm waiting for my turn to race. As soon as I heard this song, I knew what I'd be singing this year!Aj - Ontario, Canada