“Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf (No. 98)

I deliberately posted the first entry in this series without having the entire list finished. Mainly because I knew that once the list was closed, I’d keep finding albums I had missed or questioning choices. 100 albums? Only 100? Yeesh.

Bat Out of Hell, though. It had to be on this list, somewhere. It has been part of my musical life for damn near 40 years. When Bat Out of Hell was first released, I was just seven years old, and heard it all over the place.

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” and the epic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” were staples on the local classic rock station. I think I snagged my first copy of Bat Out of Hell as one of my Columbia selections, one of eight cassettes for a penny. Was I disappointed with the non-radio cuts on Bat Out of Hell? Nope. Not even a little.

Bat Out of Hell is the Blazing Saddles or Blues Brothers of albums. While neither movie is, strictly speaking, the most artistic film, if I am flipping channels and find one of them playing… I stick around until the end. Pretty much every damn time.

Likewise, Bat Out of Hell sucks me in every time. “Paradise” is glorious anthem of 70s rock excess, with a few nods to Little Richard for good measure. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” wrote the book on power ballads long before they were played out.

Meat Loaf was never able to deliver a follow-up half as good as Bat Out of Hell, though the “sequel” was a nice effort with some decent cuts. Still, one legendary album is more than most artists manage in their career.

Interestingly, Meat Loaf’s magnum opus was produced by Todd Rundgren, who produced at least one other masterpiece on my list. Oddly enough, Rundgren’s solo work has never really excited me that much – but he must be one hell of a producer.

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