“Bat Out of Hell” was written by the late legend Jim Steinman who was an American composer, lyricist, record producer and playwright. Steinman sadly passed away on the 19th April 2021. “Bat Out of Hell” was performed by Meat Loaf, (aka Michael Lee Aday) and released on Meat Loaf’s debut album of the song name.
“Bat out of Hell” was written about Peter Pan and the Neverland story, which Steinman had intended to appear on a “rock n’roll sci-fi version of Peter Pan”, according to the official jimsteinman.com website. In 2017, Steinman finally completed the musical which he started in 1968. According to the “Classic Albums: Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell” DVD, the song was also inspired by teenage tragedy songs such as “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las, “Terry” by Twinkle and “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson. Steinman also stated in the DVD that “There is something so thrilling to me about that operatic narrative that involves a cataclysmic event, especially one so perfectly intune with a teenager’s world, and rock and roll, as a car or motorcycle crash.” However, according to Meat Loaf, the song is constructed from a shot near the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, in which the viewer looks down a valley and sees city lights. Meat Loaf states that the clients in the hotel “wish they would have left like a bat out of hell… It had nothing to do, believe it or not, with Bruce Springsteen. It had to do with Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho.” This put to rest rumours that the song was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album.
The music video was directed by Arnold Levine, and features shots of a motorcyclist riding through graveyard interloped with shots of Meat Loaf performing the song live. On YouTube, the video has almost 24 million views with over 94 thousand likes.
“Bat Out of Hell” was honoured at the 2008 Q Awards with the “Classic Song” award, with Paul Rees (Q’s EIC) stating: “There are some songs that transcend such things as time and genre, and “Bat Out Of Hell” is assuredly one of them. It sounded extraordinary when it was first released, and it appears no less so now—like something beamed in from another planet. Extraordinary, and magnificent too, thanks in large part to one of the great vocal performances on record.” The track was also placed third on Top Gear’s “Top 5 Ultimate Driving Songs”, and was ranked below Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”.
The lyrics to “Bat Out of Hell” can be viewed here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.