Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday (and later legally changed his first name to Michael) but has been known to family, friends and fans for most of his sixty plus years simply as “Meat”. He is best known for his successful trio of albums in the “Bat out of Hell” series, released in three different decades. In addition to his success in the music industry, he is also an accomplished actor, fantasy sports champion and the best selling writer of his autobiography, “To Hell and Back. I have seen Meat Loaf in concert nearly a dozen times and have met him several times. Here are, in my opinion, the top ten songs by Meat Loaf.
10. Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
This anthemic song was released on the 1993 album “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell”. This song celebrates the joy of rock music and its healing and soothing power. The soaring chorus declares “when you really, really need it the most/that’s when rocks and roll dreams come through.”
9. All Revved Up and No Place to Go
A tale of teen lust and angst, this song is from “Bat Out of Hell”, one of the highest selling albums of all time. It was released in 1977 and went on to sell millions upon millions of copies in the following decades. This song is about a teen “varsity tackle and a hell of block” (in other words, a great high school football player) who laments his lack of female company on a Saturday night. This is a rollicking song that never fails to get the listener moving- it’s a great workout mix song.
8. I’d Lie For You and That’s the Truth
The only song in this top ten not from the Bat trio of albums, this song is from 1995’s “Welcome to the Neighborhood” album. I’ve always thought of this song as a lesser known (but even more beautiful) companion to the monster hit “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That). It features longtime Meat Loaf singing partner Patti Russo and is unfailingly lush, romantic and drama soaked- everything a great Meat Loaf song should be.
7. Took the Words (Hot Summer Night)
This song is well known for its spoken prelude about the “wolf with the red roses” on the original Bat album. In concert, it has become a thunderous sing along that is always avidly anticipated by fans.
6. I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)
This was the monster hit on Bat II, going number one in 28 countries and winning the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance. It has caused all sorts of debate regarding what exactly the main character isn’t willing to do, but Meat Loaf himself has clarified that issue numerous times. Just listen to the verse before each chorus, it tells you what the man “won’t do”- he won’t “forget the way you feel right now”, “forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight”, “do it better than I do it with you”, “stop dreaming of you every night of my life” and finally, he won’t “be screwing around.
5. Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
Another song from Bat II, this epic power ballad is over ten minutes long. It tells the story of a middle aged man looking back on his life and past loves and abusers. This is a very emotional song, and has been known to bring Meat Loaf (and audience members) to near tears when sung live.
4. Out of the Frying Pan (and Into the Fire)
This song is big and brash, just like Meat Loaf himself. It begins with a stuttering guitar solo, then simmers to a sensual, scorching climax. When preformed live, this song often includes pyrotechnic effects and is a highlight of the concert. It was released in 1993, but has been a staple of Meat Loaf’s lives shows since the early 80’s. This is another song from the outstanding Bat II album.
3. Bad for Good
This is a Steinman penned song that didn’t appear on a Meat Loaf album until 2006’s “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose”, but it has been performed live by Meat Loaf across three decades. Classic Steinman lyrics, soaring guitars- this song is quintessential Meat Loaf.
2. Paradise by the Dashboard Light
“Paradise” is an epic tale of teen lust gone terribly wrong over the years. It was released on the original Bat album. It begins with two teens in a car, with the boy insisting “I wanna go all the way tonight, tonight” and the girl proclaiming “stop right there!” Soon, the girl insists that the boy must promise to “make me your wife”. The boy agrees to love her “til the end of time”, but soon both are praying for the end of time to arrive because that simply cannot stand each other. The baseball commentary by Phil Rizzuto is known and loved worldwide. This is a karaoke favorite, but I’ve always been proudest of the fact that I got the deejay at my senior prom to play it. In Meat Loaf concerts over the years, this song has been the peak of camp drama as the song has been re-enacted in a variety of ways but it always is a rollicking high point of the concert.
1. Bat Out of Hell
What Meat Loaf top ten would be complete without the ultimate Meat Loaf song, “Bat out of Hell”? As the title track on the first Meat Loaf album, it has achieved iconic status all over the world. It has been described by songwriter Jim Steinman as the most extreme crash song of all time. It details a motorcycle crash that takes the young rider to depths of hell and back again. The “motorcycle guitar” solo is well known, the original solo on the album was done by producer Todd Rundgren and it has been recreated live over the years by several remarkable guitarists, most recently by Paul “Metal Loaf” Crook.
This is my list of the top ten Meat Loaf songs; I’d love to hear your suggestions as well. A top ten list is a very personal and fluid thing, I suspect that if I wrote another one in a week there would be some changes. Meat Loaf’s music has been a comfort and a joy in my life, and I love to talk about my favorite songs with others. If you aren’t familiar with all of these songs, they are very worth your time to take a listen. As the lyrics of song #10 say, with music “you’re never alone, ’cause you can put on the ‘phones and let the drummer tell your heart what to do.”