Fascinating stuff for the true fan
Gary Jennings | Hesperia, CA United States | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This gives you the whole history of how this truly unique, once-in-a-lifetime album, came about. If you are a "liner-note-reader" like me, you will love this DVD. If you love " the-making-of" extras on movie DVDs, you love this too. I wish they would make one of these for every favorite album of mine."
Bat out of Hell "The Making Of"
B. Corso | O-side, CA | 04/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All Meat Loaf anf Jim steinman fans should love this 'making of' DVD. Interviews with all the people involved.
It's a Joy to watch!"
Meat Loaf, Steinman, Rundgren et al. look back at the "Bat O
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Right off the bat, so to speak, I have to say that I do not think you can do a documentary on Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" as a classic album and not at least talk about Phil Rizzuto, even if the man himself, now not only a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame but its oldest living member, does not appear on camera. We hear Phil doing the call on the radio broadcast for the bridge of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" ("Holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!") but how on earth they got him to do this and what he thinks about his bit of rock 'n' roll immortality are never broached. But even without the Scooter, there are enough memories and video clips to keep fans happy with a look at one of the great rock albums of all time.
Although some of the tunes were apparently originally written for a modern musical version of "Peter Pan," most of what appears on "Bat Out of Hell" were written specifically for Meat Loaf to sing by Jim Steinman, in a perfect marriage of singer and songwriter that proves itself to be one of those occasions where two perfect halves find each other. "Bat Out of Hell" only made it to #14 on the Billboard charts but that is because it was one of those albums that sold for years (14 million in the U.S. alone). "Rolling Stone" has it at #343 on its list of Top 500 Album of all-time, but anybody reading this is going to think it is too low. This megabomastic album represents the epitome of operatic rock as far as I am concerned. The only other album that comes to mind would be Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies," so apparently you have to make up a weird name for your lead singer when you do music this theatrical, but while they share gothic and Grand Guignol elements, this 1977 album is a lot more epic. This documentary, originally produced for VH-1, looks back on how this musical miracle managed to come about.
There are only seven songs on the album and all of them are touched on in the course of this 58-minute documentary. The video clips of "Bat Out of Hell," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and the aforementioned "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," date back to that period, but what is more interesting is Steinman sitting down at the piano banging away, or Meat Loaf and producer Todd Rundgren sitting at the mixing board letting us hear individual tracks and how they fit together. If Steinman and Meat Loaf wanted to do an "unplugged" version that was just the two of them, singer and piano accompaniment, that would be worth hearing. The story of how both the idea for the album and the finished product were rejected almost universally until Rundgren decided to produce it and Steve Popovich bought it for Sony. Just another brick in the wall to prove that most people making decisions in the music industry are idiots. Attention is paid as well to how the songs were put together (guess which song is supposed to sound like the Eagles), although not enough details to suit me. The best story has to do with Steinman whining about wanting a motorcycle for the title track and Rundgren finally doing it on his guitar, but lanching right from the sound effect into his big solo.
In addition to the above talking heads we also hear from background vocalists Ellen Foley and Rory Dodd from the album, along with Karla DeVito who song on tour and in the videos, bass player Kasim Sultan, drummer Max Weinberg, and others. There are some good stories and some nice insights for the legion of fans who admire the album and who will do the same thing I did when I watched this documentary today, which was to put on the album itself and crank up the volume. Final Note: I see that "Bat Out of Hell III" is due out this October. Of course, anybody interested in this DVD will be curious to see what Steinman, Meat Loaf and Rundgren have for us this time. We know you can only climb to the mountain top once, but there is certainly reason to hope that this next time we will be up in at least the same altitude as "Bat Out of Hell II.""