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DVD Review: Classic Albums: Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell

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There is a series of 60-minute documentaries entitled Classic Albums and each one takes a small peek into what it takes to make a classic album. I got lucky. I got to see how Bat Out Of Hell was made. If there was ever an example of catching lightning in a bottle, this is it. In a time period when the last thing that would sell is a rock album that borders on theatrical, Bat Out Of Hell managed to defy everyone.

We learn that Meat Loaf, or Meat as everyone refers to him in the documentary, was trying out for a musical that Jim Steinman had written. In the musical there was a solo number that brought the house down every time Meat sang it. This gave Steinman the idea of making this album. He wanted to make the ultimate crash song, the ultimate make out song, the ultimate ballad. Each song he wrote had to be the best of its kind.

With the help of producer Todd Rundgren they started making the album work. One of the interesting things to me is in the title track of the album — both Steinman and Meat wanted a motorcycle revving its engines. Rundgren wasn’t about to drag a motorcycle into his studio so he simulated it on the guitar. I have spent decades just 'knowing' that they recorded a motorcycle.

The documentary is full of little tidbits like this. And it actually makes you want to dig up your recording and listen to it. I know I did.

The only true drawback to the entire DVD is the lack of songs played the whole way through. Sure, there is lots of never before seen concert footage, but it is constantly interrupted by the people involved. Maybe this would have worked better as a two disc set, one of the documentary, which is excellent, and another one of just concert footage

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