In 1977, after a year of rehearsing at the Ansonia Hotel in New York City, a band calling themselves "Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf" emerged with a record's worth of material entitled "Bat Out Of Hell". The album consisted of an astonishingly coherent set of seven songs born of Steinman's "Neverland Concept" (an exaltation of all that is sexually charged and emotionally pure). Truly, it has become an anomaly in the history of rock'n'roll. The singular effect it has had upon the countless millions of the world has made it a phenomena within the industry.
At the time, however, "Bat Out Of Hell" was just another musical product in need of marketing. To aid in the development of a clear brand identity and to simplify merchandising, it was decided that the album would be sold under the "Meat Loaf" moniker. Conceptually the name "Meat Loaf" would represent the collaborative efforts of Jim Steinman, the creator, and Meat Loaf, the interpreter. In reality, and for obvious reasons, it has been a source of confusion, professional tension, and un-attributed credit ever since.
Meat Loaf's role in the overall success of "Bat Out Of Hell" is undeniable. His huge tenor voice and larger-than-life stage presence has become both the vocal and visual incarnation of Steinman's "Bat" vision - a vision Jim Steinman had been developing since his college days. "Bat Out Of Hell" is a Jim Steinman creation. Every aspect of the album shines in the special light of his genius and ultimately it's birth was the fruition of his dream.
This is not an attempt to re-write history. Neither is it designed to undermine the significance of the many talented individuals involved with "Bat Out Of Hell". Rather, it is a suggestion of how things might have been had the 'green gods of marketing' decided to relegate Meat Loaf's name from the album's title in lieu of Steinman's. Neither a preposterous though or uncommon occurrence - take for example:
- Oliver Stone's "Nixon" starring Anthony Hopkins
- Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" featuring Glenn Close
- or Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto" performed by Luciano Pavarotti.
Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell
Sung By Meat Loaf
seems very appropriate.