Cherry Red Records (label)
01 September 2014 (released)
26 August 2014
The career of Meat Loaf is defined by the monster success of Bat Out Of Hell, which has shifted more than 40 million copies worldwide at the last count. The singer spent some time trying to break free from the anchor that the album had become - either struggling to repeat its success or struggling to lose the one-album wonder tag. The extensive sleeve notes that come with this re-release also still hint at Meat Loaf's frustration that Jim Steinman gets too much credit for Bat Out Of Hell. So the spotlight is put on one of the album's Meat Loaf produced without Steinman at the controls.
Despite the success of Bat Out Of Hell, Meat Loaf's career struggled in the early 1980s, with lawsuits and disputes with Steinman. 1984's Bad Attitude featured only two of Steinman's songs - and both had previously been recorded. For Blind Before I Stop two years later, Steinman wasn't available so a new producer and team of writers was needed. In came the surprise choice of Frank Farian, previously known for his work with disco stars Boney M.
Despite poor sales (around half a million), the album has become somewhat of a favourite for fans, with the epic ballad Standing On The Outside and Rock 'n' Roll Mercenaries, featuring English singer John Parr, seen as a couple of his better songs. However, as Meat Loaf himself confesses, the production means the album has not aged well - with 80s drum effects and bad keyboards littering the 11 tracks. There's a nod back to his chart topping single Dead Ringer For Love, with the title track, while Masculine's over the top guitar work and Rock 'n' Roll Hero just about keep their heads above the tinny production. But time has not been kind to Special Girl and Getting Away With Murder.
Some original artwork is included in this well put together re-release -- and the sleeve notes make good reading. But listening to the record underlines Meat Loaf's reliance on Steinman, rather than showing he could cope without him.