Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell was far more than a great rock record. The album was a work of art that introduced to the world one of the greatest rock and roll vocalist of all time. It also presented rock fans with the songwriting genius of Jim Steinman, and the brilliant musicianship and production skills of Todd Rundgren. Many rock fans know Todd Rundgren and his brilliant body of work, but his brilliance on the Meat Loaf material should not be underscored. Todd Rundgren‘s backing vocals are all over the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums and clearly defined the landscape of sound that projected Meat Loaf’s powerful rock and roll tenor that compares to no one.
Bat Out Of Hell should always be defined as in the same league as legendary albums such as Born To Run, Who’s Next, and Dark Side of the Moon. Bat Out Of Hell was an album that had a significant cultural impact just like those classic rock records.
Composing a list of the Top 10 Meal Loaf songs is really just an exercise in fun and a tribute to one of the most exciting performers in classic rock history. Nonetheless, its is also a task taken very seriously here. Meat Loaf has released thirteen original albums in his career. The Bat Out Of Hell album developed into a trilogy with Bat Out of Hell II being released in 1993 and Bat Out of Hell III in 2006. It would be easy to fill this list with just material from the three Bat Out Of Hell albums, but somehow that just doesn’t seem fair for multiple reasons. So, if you only know the famous songs, there’s plenty here. But we have also chosen some of the lesser known Meat Loaf material that we know all true rock and roll fans will recognize as out of this world.
# 10 – Dead Ringer For Love
Opening our Top 10 Meat Loaf Songs list is the lead-off single from Meat Loaf’s 1981 Dead Ringer album. After the grueling live performances of Bat Out Of Hell , it took some time before Meat Loaf returned to the recording studio. In between the Bat Out Of Hell album and Dead Ringer, Jim Steinman actually released a solo album entitled Bad For Good that had originally been penned for Meat Loaf. Some of the songs from the Bad For Good album would eventually be recorded by Meat Loaf on Bat Out Of Hell II. However, the Dead Ringer album is for many a hidden gem in the Meat Loaf catalog.
It was tough to choose a tune from this album since there are so many great cuts on the record. Nonetheless, the one that seemed the most fun, especially in the song’s video representation was the album’s title track “Dead Ringer For Love.” There are not many singers that could go note for note with Cher or Meat Loaf, so the pairing of the two legendary voices culminated in a track for the ages. The song’s Mitch Ryder feel fueled the high energy track that hardcore Meat Loaf fans have consistently raved about for years.
# 9 – Song Of Madness
The true hidden gem on this Top 10 Meat Loaf Songs list is one of the heaviest songs Meat Loaf has ever recorded. In 2010, Meat Loaf released one of the best albums of his career entitled Hang Cool Teddy Bear. Sadly, in the year 2010, hip hop and bubblegum boy/girl band pop left no room on the radio for great new rock music.It’s a shame because Hang Cool Teddy Bear was an exciting record that showcased a host of some of the industry’s best songwriters. Steve Vai’s guitar work on the track is the perfect complement to Meat Loaf’s heart pounding resonance. Vai’s solo is earth shattering! Don’t miss this one.
# 8 – All Revved Up with No Place to Go
This great Meal Loaf song opened up side two of the original Bat Out Of Hell album. This one was spectacular rocking song that easily would have been the best track on almost any other rock and roll album.
# 7 – Blind As A Bat
The final installment of the Bat Out Hell trilogy was released in 2096. Bat Out Of Hell III featured a heavier and more intense sonic pallet than the previous two Bat Out Of Hell albums. It was the first of the series to feature songwriters other than Jim Steinman. However, Steinman did pen some of the albums material. Although this is a Meat Loaf best songs list, we just want to take a break here and say that this is our favorite Meat Loaf album outside of the original Bat Out Of Hell release. This was a stunning record that delivered action packed emotionally charged songwriting, singing and instrumental performances.
The album was an exercise in songwriting craft tuned to the character and voice of a legend that deserved the songwriter’s best. The album most definitely deserved more spots on this top 10 Meat Loaf songs list. However, there was really only room for one. So we have gone with “Blind As A Bat.” Just listen to the amazing musical transition from verse to chorus. The chord voicings used in the chorus must have sent chills down the spines of songwriters in observance of those magical moments that defines what brilliant songwriting is all about. Desmond Child has written so many hits over the years, but “Blind As A Bat,” stands as one of his best. He can thank Meat Loaf for seeing it through brilliantly.
# 6 – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
The wit of Steinman and vocal delivery of Meat Loaf underscores the beautiful melody of Bat Out Of Hell’s signature ballad “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad.” As we edge closer to the top of our Meat Loaf songs list it becomes more difficult to write anything original about these upcoming classic songs that hasn’t already been written. The next set of songs are not just Meat Loaf’s best songs, they are some of the best songs ever released in rock and roll history. And by the way, every piano student in 1977 went out and brought the sheet music to this one.
# 5 – Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
When Jim Steinman released his Bad For Good album in 1981, the album’s original release contained a bonus 7 inch record that contained the song “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.” The 7 inch single also contained the instrumental track “The Storm.” If any one discarded the single, they would have missed the best song on the album, and simply one of Steinman’ greatest compositions of his career.
They knew this one was good because Meat Loaf recorded it for the Bat Out of Hell II album. You just can’t let a song like this one get away. If there ever was one song that defined the artistic intentions of Steinman, “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through,” would come pretty close.
# 4 – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
While we have already mentioned Todd Rundgren, we can’t fail to point out the contributions of the members of Utopia on many of Meat Loaf’s records. Bass guitarist Kasim Sulton, keyboardist Roger Powell,and drummer John Wilcox all heavily contributed to the virtuoso musical performances on the Bat Out Of Hell records. These were musicians not only known for their work in Utopia, but who have also graced the vinyl sides of thousands of rock and roll recordings.
Besides the Utopia crew, the Bat Out Of Hell world also utilized the talents of certain Bruce Springsteen E Street Band members. Bruce Springsteen’s piano player Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg. Bittan have been credited with work on three of the Bat Out Of Hell tracks. The mighty Max Weinberg was responsible for the drum tracks along with Roy’s piano on Bat Out Of Hell’s, “Bat Out Of Hell, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, and “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” The track “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” also featured the iconic Edgar Winter on saxophone. This was a record that just screamed talent.
# 3 -“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)“
This one was the follow-up to the massive Bat Out Of Hell album. The first single released from Bat Out of Hell II was a tender love ballad dipped in deep sarcasm and Steinman wit. Meat Loaf’s powerful vocal delivery turned this stunning rock ballad into a huge success. For some who had waited for a ferocious rocker to follow-up Bat Out Of Hell, the release of a power ballad was a pretty courageous move that in the end worked out perfectly on the sales charts.It would become Meat Loaf’s first number one single in the United States.
It would also top the charts in twelve other countries. The album version clocked in at close to twelve minutes. The single release was cut down to five minutes and twenty-five seconds. Lorraine Crosby’s vocal on track matched Meat Loaf’s intensity in the most dramatic fashion. Crosby’s closing line was a chilling reminder to every couple who have ever faced the pain of betrayal.
# 2 – Paradise By The Dashboard Light
Do you remember the first time you ever heard this song? Well that’s really all that is left to write about this monumental recording. A song written about life’s greatest ritual has become a standard ritual itself in so many ways. It simply is Meat Loaf’s most famous song. People who have never heard of Meat Loaf, know this song.
Songs like this do not become immersed in popular culture, they become popular culture. You can’t follow-up a song like “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” It belongs in a category all by itself. Deservedly so, that category closed the moment the song was released. If you have never heard this song, don’t be a huckleberry. Play it now!
# 1 – Bat Out Of Hell
Standing at Number One on our Top 10 Meat Loaf Songs list is the amazing track that started it all. Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell,” was a sweeping epic rock and roll masterpiece. I remember the faces of all my friends that I played this track for when they heard it the first time. Everyone was blown away by it. On first listen, the song’s opening thunderous piano rolls and screeching guitars were only a tease for what was to come.
At every point in the song when you thought the music had reached its climatic point, it shifted into a higher gear that came from an unimaginable place and time. It was a surreal feeling hearing this music in 1977. You can argue it was the time period, the culture, or any reasons as to why the song resonated so deeply. In the end, it was simply an earthshaking composition elevated by a genius production. But none of that would have mattered without the dramatic powerful vocal talent and artistry of Meat Loaf. His performance on “Bat Out Of Hell,” is easily the greatest rock and roll vocal performance in classic rock history.