Skip to main content

The 20 Million Club podcast: Is Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell the most ridiculous album of all time?

Meat Loaf
(Image credit: Meat Loaf)

The new episode of Classic Rock's new podcast series The 20 Million Club is out now, with a look at Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell, the third best-selling album of all-time.

Hosted by British broadcasting legend Nicky Horne, The 20 Million Club also features guests appearances from Classic Rock Editor Siân Llewellyn, alongside Scott Rowley, former Classic Rock Editor-In-Chief (and current Content Director of Music at Future).

On its release in 1977, few people would have put money on Bat Out Of Hell becoming the third best-selling album of all time. The week that it entered the UK album charts – released October 1977, it didn't hit the chart until March 1978 – an album called Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols sat at 31. Meat Loaf scraped in at 60. 

In a year of massive change for the music business, Bat Out Of Hell seemed out of step: theatrical and overblown at a time when punk was seemingly ushering in a new wave of gritty realism and anti-rock stars. But maybe that was the secret to its success. Maybe it was the fun antidote to punk's nihilism and prog's navel-gazing. And what was Meat Loaf if not a new kind of rock star? Big and daft, with gloriously huge songs about teenage love and going-all-the-way, Bat Out Of Hell is both preposterous and actually very relatable. 

You can catch up on the whole series now. Since launch the team have argued the merits of AC/DC’s Back In Black, Led Zeppelin's 4th album, Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill, Queen's Greatest Hits, Prince's Purple Rain and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon and more.

The 20 Million Club can be listened to right now on Apple Podcasts (opens in new tab) and Spotify (opens in new tab) or anywhere you get podcasts (opens in new tab). Subscribe to never miss an episode and please leave a review.

EXTRAS:

Meat Loaf doing Paradise By The Dashboard Light on The Old Grey Whistle Test, May 1978

Official Albums Charts entries for Bat Out Of Hell:

According to the Official Charts Company (opens in new tab), Bat was in the UK Albums Charts for 522 weeks, and reached a high point of 9. Bat Out of Hell II went to number 1 but only stayed in the charts for 67 weeks. Bat Out Of Hell entered The UK Album Charts on March 5, 1978 (opens in new tab) for the first time (at no.60).

Bat out of hell

(Image credit: Official Charts Company)

Meat Loaf's first album?

Stoney and Meatloaf

(Image credit: Stoney and Meatloaf)

The picture above is a reissue of the Stoney and Meatloaf album from 1971 (opens in new tab). You can tell it's a reissue because the sleeve has Meatloaf (one word) as the lead artist, hoping to capitalise on the success of Bat Out Of Hell. But back in 1971, original sleeves had 'Stoney and Meatloaf' at the top. Stoney was Shaun Murphy (opens in new tab), a singer who worked with Bob Seeger, Eric Clapton and later fronted Little Feat. The album was released on Rare Earth records, an imprint of Motown.

Even back in 1971, Meat's weight was used as a marketing device. Check out (I'd Love to be) As Heavy as Jesus:

Are there any albums more ridiculous than Bat Out Of Hell?

A: Yes, there are millions. Just to choose one: Olias Of Sunhillow by Jon Anderson (opens in new tab) is more ridiculous than Bat Out Of Hell. Gentle Giant, Gong, Rush – they had some crazy ideas for albums. In comparison, Bat is just a bunch of horny love songs.

In the podcast, Scott comments that he'd probably been sent an album that day that was more ridiculous. Was that true? "Well today," he said, "I got sent a press release for a band called Suffocate For Fuck Sake but yesterday's press release for 'UK underground shitgrind act' Shiteater probably beats that: their album is called Annointed In Urine, Crowned in Faeces and the press release boasts that it contains 'elements of old school death metal, grindcore, and thrash for one thrilling stool loosening experience' and songs like Reigning From a Throne of Cold Porcelain, Uncontrolled Projectile Defecation, Left Hand Cack and Wicked Tyrant of Repugnant Feculence

"C'mon: that is more ridiculous than Bat Out Of Hell."

Classic Rock is the online home of the world's best rock'n'roll magazine. We bring you breaking news, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes features, as well as unrivalled access to the biggest names in rock music; from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC to the Sex Pistols, and everything in between. Our expert writers bring you the very best on established and emerging bands plus everything you need to know about the mightiest new music releases.