Meat Loaf's live band have released a new version of Bat Out Of Hell and fixed a 44-year-old problem

The Neverland Express onstage
(Image credit: Deko Entertainment)

The late Meat Loaf's old live band, The Neverland Express, have released a cover of Bat Out Of Hell. Featuring American Idol winner Caleb Johnson on vocals, the new version of the 1977 classic comes from band's reworking of the entire Bat Out Of Hell album, entitled Paradise Found: Bat Out of Hell Reignited, which is released via streaming platforms on Friday.  

The new recording of Bat Out Of Hell also rectifies a 44-year-old problem. The original version of the song was recorded in the key of E, but the track needed to be sped up to fit alongside You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Heaven Can Wait and All Revved Up with No Place to Go on a single side of vinyl. The result was that the released version of the song had been pitched up to the key of F. 

"This made Meat’s voice sound different, higher," says Neverland Express guitarist Paul Crook. "The end result haunted Meat Loaf his entire career. Tickets buyers wanted to hear that voice. This always bothered him."

The solution was to record the new version of the song in the key of F, so it's rendered at the pitch fans are used to – but without the tape being sped up – and allowing Johnson's voice to to be heard as it was recorded.    

The new Bat Out Of Hell recordings are also arranged differently from the original album, versions that took shape over many years of touring.

"All of Meat Loaf’s songs have developed into something completely different from their original recordings," says Crook. "This is the live arrangement. The version, we, the Neverland Express have been performing with Meat Loaf for decades.".

 

In 2018, it was reported that Meat Loaf was considering the possibility of a Bat Out Of Hell tour where his place on vocals would be taken Caleb Johnson. Following the success of the Jim Steinman musical of Bat Out Of HellLoaf was rumoured to be planning a tour in which he told stories about his long career and relationship with Steinman, while Johnson performed the songs.

For his part, Johnson – who won American Idol in 2014 after performing songs by Aerosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons, Bon Jovi and Creedence Clearwater Revival – will shortly be hitting the road with The Neverland Express for the Celebrating Meat Loaf tour, in which Bat Out Of Hell will be played in its entirety alongside other songs. The run of dates, which includes six UK shows in May, kicks off with an album release show this Saturday at the Atlantic City Borgata Casino & Resort. Full dates below. 

Physical copies of Paradise Found: Bat Out of Hell Reignited can be ordered from Merchbucket.  

Paradise Found: Bat Out of Hell Reignited cover art

(Image credit: Deko Entertainment)

Celebrating Meat Loaf tour

Jan 27: Atlantic City Borgata Casino & Resort, NJ
Mar 31: Westbury The Space at Westbury Theater, NY
Apr 01: Norwalk Wall Street Theatre, CT
May 20: Oxford New Theatre, UK
May 21: Birmingham Symphony Hall, UK
May 23: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, UK
May 25: Gateshead Sage One, UK
May 26: Manchester The Bridgewater Hall, UK
May 27: London Indigo at The O2, UK

Tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab)

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.