Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell

Movie studios have been dancing under the sequel tree for as long as time can remember, networks caught on and now crank out sequels of shows that are still running but record labels haven’t done much in the way of sequels. That is unless you count Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell series.

Note: This review using the term “kick ass” and “ass kicking” almost to the point where it loses its meaning.

It’s surprising to read that an album that has sold more than 45 million copies was originally a hard sell to record companies. They actually commissioned Richard Corben for the artwork for the album 6 years before it was finally released and 3 years before any record company would touch the album.

Richard Corben is most famous for his Heavy Metal covers and at 66 is still drawing today as good as ever. And by the looks of his bio page, he’d kick my ass if I said anything different.

Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell 2

The sequel Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell, served up more epic tunes including the hit that wouldn’t go away I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) but all I cared about was the album art.

This time it was Michael Whelan who stepped up to the brush for this cover. Michael’s work has also featured heavily on Sepultura’s covers and my obsession is covered here on our review of Chaos AD.

Note the addition of an angel figure and the use of the buildings to signify tombstones. Pretty deep I know. The Chrysler Building hints at a time frame sometime into the future and the biker here looks more metal and less Tarzan.

Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell 3

What I didn’t realize before I started this post was that Meat Loaf had released a third album just last year, Bat Out Of Hell 3: The Monster is Loose. This time the cover was painted by Julie Bell. That didn’t ring a bell until I realized she’s married to Boris Vellejo. Julie used to model for Boris and since then has become an artist in her own right. I would make a female body builder joke right now but by the looks of her bio page she’d kick my ass.

This is my least favorite of the covers. The poses look staged and the layout is cluttered. The bike is hidden away off the cover and the stone pillars seem to say that we’re in ancient times. And what kind of fool takes on a flame breathing bat with a sword? Get yourself a shotgun dude!

Also worth noting is how Jim Steinman’s name moved from under the title of the album in the first, to the bottom of the album on the second and totally removed from the third. Which also shows the progression of his working relationship with Meat Loaf. Jim is also credited with the concept for the original album artwork.

At first I wondered why Richard wasn’t asked to continue his good work but I think Meat Loaf just wanted to spread the Bat love. Why tie yourself down to just one famous fantasy artist.

Michael got to double dip a little by doing this awesome cover for The Very Best of Meat Loaf. I wonder if this was an unused concept for the previous album? I love the clouds.

The Very Best of Meat Loaf

Which cover is my fav? It’s a tough choice but color, composition and overall ass kicking style, I’d have to go with Bat Out Of Hell 2.

Art vs Photo:
It was a smart move to use a painted cover and not shove Meat Loaf on there for a few reasons.

1: Meat Load is an ugly guy. Sure under some soft lighting and in monotone maybe he’s passable but check the picture below if you need more proof as to why this guy shouldn’t have been on the cover

Meat Loaf face

2: The art kicks ass! It’s a classic as is as powerful today as it was back in 1977. Few photos can stand up to 30 years of scrutiny.

3: Fantasy art suits the albums sound and themes perfectly.

And finally for those that need aural stimulation here’s the classic Bat out of Hell song performed by the man himself in his prime.

And here’s Meat Loaf in a Michael Bay directed film clip for I Would Do Anything For Love.

Meat Loaf: The Bat Out Of Hell Series

Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell

Movie studios have been dancing under the sequel tree for as long as time can remember, networks caught on and now crank out sequels of shows that are still running but record labels haven’t done much in the way of sequels. That is unless you count Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell series.

Note: This review using the term “kick ass” and “ass kicking” almost to the point where it loses its meaning.

It’s surprising to read that an album that has sold more than 45 million copies was originally a hard sell to record companies. They actually commissioned Richard Corben for the artwork for the album 6 years before it was finally released and 3 years before any record company would touch the album.

Richard Corben is most famous for his Heavy Metal covers and at 66 is still drawing today as good as ever. And by the looks of his bio page, he’d kick my ass if I said anything different.

Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell 2

The sequel Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell, served up more epic tunes including the hit that wouldn’t go away I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) but all I cared about was the album art.

This time it was Michael Whelan who stepped up to the brush for this cover. Michael’s work has also featured heavily on Sepultura’s covers and my obsession is covered here on our review of Chaos AD.

Note the addition of an angel figure and the use of the buildings to signify tombstones. Pretty deep I know. The Chrysler Building hints at a time frame sometime into the future and the biker here looks more metal and less Tarzan.

Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell 3

What I didn’t realize before I started this post was that Meat Loaf had released a third album just last year, Bat Out Of Hell 3: The Monster is Loose. This time the cover was painted by Julie Bell. That didn’t ring a bell until I realized she’s married to Boris Vellejo. Julie used to model for Boris and since then has become an artist in her own right. I would make a female body builder joke right now but by the looks of her bio page she’d kick my ass.

This is my least favorite of the covers. The poses look staged and the layout is cluttered. The bike is hidden away off the cover and the stone pillars seem to say that we’re in ancient times. And what kind of fool takes on a flame breathing bat with a sword? Get yourself a shotgun dude!

Also worth noting is how Jim Steinman’s name moved from under the title of the album in the first, to the bottom of the album on the second and totally removed from the third. Which also shows the progression of his working relationship with Meat Loaf. Jim is also credited with the concept for the original album artwork.

At first I wondered why Richard wasn’t asked to continue his good work but I think Meat Loaf just wanted to spread the Bat love. Why tie yourself down to just one famous fantasy artist.

Michael got to double dip a little by doing this awesome cover for The Very Best of Meat Loaf. I wonder if this was an unused concept for the previous album? I love the clouds.

The Very Best of Meat Loaf

Which cover is my fav? It’s a tough choice but color, composition and overall ass kicking style, I’d have to go with Bat Out Of Hell 2.

Art vs Photo:
It was a smart move to use a painted cover and not shove Meat Loaf on there for a few reasons.

1: Meat Load is an ugly guy. Sure under some soft lighting and in monotone maybe he’s passable but check the picture below if you need more proof as to why this guy shouldn’t have been on the cover

Meat Loaf face

2: The art kicks ass! It’s a classic as is as powerful today as it was back in 1977. Few photos can stand up to 30 years of scrutiny.

3: Fantasy art suits the albums sound and themes perfectly.

And finally for those that need aural stimulation here’s the classic Bat out of Hell song performed by the man himself in his prime.

And here’s Meat Loaf in a Michael Bay directed film clip for I Would Do Anything For Love.





19 Comments

  1. Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo also designed the hilarious poster for the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” movie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:AquaTeenPosterColonMovie.jpg

  2. SOY UN FANATICO DE MEAT LOAF. ME PARECE GENIAL, SOY DE PERÚ. LA PRIMERA VEZ LO VI EN PARADISE BY…. Y LUEGO CON BAT OUT OF HELL, PERO TWO OUT THREE AIN’T BAD SONÓ MUY BIEN Y HEAVEN CAN’T WAIT TAMBIEN.LUEGO ESCUCHÉ LA HERMOSA I’D LIE FOR YOU, ROCK’N ROLL DREAMS COME TRU’Y LA SUPER I DO ANYTHING FOR YOU. TE FELICITO SR. ADAY SIGUE ROCKEANDO. ¿CUÁNDO VIENES AL PERÚ?

  3. Meat loaf’s covers are the best. Thanks!

  4. rock on live foreva meatloaf

  5. I have this album, a 1977 issue but the words “songs by Jim Steinman” appear at the bottom of the front cover, not under the album title at the top.
    Can anyone explain?

  6. I also have the 1977 issue with “Songs by Jim Steinman” printed at the bottom. In fact, I have FOUR copies of the LP, and all have Steinman at the bottom of the cover. However, the CD cover is the same as the cover shown here. The change may have been made in the transition from LP to CD.

  7. I love Meatloaf fantasy art covers, but my fave (out of the ones shown here) is definitely Bat Out Of hell 2.
    I have a different version of Bat out Of Hell’s cover with just a photo of a bat – this one is better but it looks primitive; especially the bat.
    I can see what you mean about Bat Out Of Hell 3′s cover!

  8. (8)i remember every little thing as if happened only yesterday- parking by the lake and there was not another car in sight.

    i never had a girl, looking any better that you did.
    & all the kids at school, they were wishing they were me that nightttttt.(8)

    haha, the cover is a bit intense but fully shows the theme ‘ass kicking’ and i think themes are really good; they become reconisable without a name needed. therefore known.
    thanks.

  9. i really like this cover. i think it goes really well with the music that he sings.
    it is a great cover and looks good.

  10. The cover art, although good when taken on its own, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the music. Good cover art should relate somehow to the music inside.
    I have only listened to Bat out of Hell 1 though.

  11. I love meatloaf. My sister gave me his first album Bat out of Hell and 30years later, its still my favourite of all time.I've seen him twice in Brisbane at the Entertainment centre. I've still got his ticket from the first show I saw in 1995. Now I play his dvd and the neighbours love him also. I would love to meet him and thank him for his great music,

  12. Im going to have to disagree with you on personal favourite. My favourite cover work AND favourite Meat CD would be Bat Out of Hell III. I think the overall composition and style of the music and the coverwork are fantastic. I mean, all his stuff is equally phenomenal, but as III was the first introduced to me, it remains a personal favourite. He is a fantastic musician along with Jim Steinman, and i think they have both made a mjor contribution to music history.

  13. Don't forget Jim Steinman's Bad for Good, which was the original, but aborted 'Bat out of Hell 2', which features a Richard Corben cover as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_for_Good

  14. Oh very good find!

  15. Steinman and Meat Loaf sure aren't heavy death metal types, which is why this art seems incongruous. But who cares, it rocks, esp. #2.

  16. I had to look up incongruous but now I know what it means I agree :)

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  18. Some of your information is slightly incorrect. Firstly, the original LP release of Bat Out of Hell featured the “Songs by Jim Steinman” portion at the bottom of the cover. It was moved to the top for the CD release in the 90s.

    Also, the final version of the Bat Out of Hell III cover is slightly different. It excludes the additional bat wing in the background at the top right (it is “Bat” not “Bats” after all; don’t know what Julie Bell was thinking). It also includes the “Songs by Jim Steinman and Desmond Child” text at the bottom.

    In regards to favorite cover, I agree with you, but the first Bat cover comes very, very close. The Bat III album cover was great but different. It signified a change in style, as the album features more metal and has a slightly more serious tone,  

    à la  ”The Monster is Loose.” Steinman’s involvement was also absent, unfortunately. It was still a great album.

  19. hey Sir Bob where were you when I wrote this! I enjoy that the comments only enhance my very basic knowledge of these albums. I didnt know that about Jims credit

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