Thursday, October 19, 2006

Weird career? I'd say so

You guys may have noticed that I didn't put up CD releases on Tuesday. Well, that's because nothing of any (and I mean ANY) interest came out. Unless, of course, you consider a new Aerosmith greatest-hits compilation a big deal. (Pick up Weekend tomorrow just to read me mock Aerosmith. Good times.)

But, I did receive Meatloaf's "Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster is Loose" in the mail yesterday, and will be participating in a teleconference with The Loaf at 4 p.m. today (Sarcasm alert: Woo-hoo!).

The disc hits stores on Halloween, and I think this is a good time to think about the amazing career of the man really known as Michael/Marvin Lee Aday.

In 1971, Meatloaf makes a record that never sees the light of day, at least until after he got famous for "Bat Out Of Hell." So let's talk about "Bat Out Of Hell," which was written by Jim Steinman and came out in 1977.

Here's a record that sold 22 million copies just in this country, a ton more worldwide. You'd think the artist would be riding a wave of success and that his follow-up record would sell significant amounts. But "Dead Ringer" was a huge flop, even if it did have one real hit ("Dead Ringer For Love"). Most of the songs on the record were written by Steinman, but not all.

Through the '80s, Meat releases three more flops, most with a song or two written by Steinman. Then 1993 comes around, and "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell" hits stores, with all songs written by Steinman. The disc sounds similar in bombast to the first "Bat," and, again, sells a gazillion copies.

How this happened, I will never understand.

So now comes the true test. Since the release of "Bat II," Meat's put out two more relative flops. If "Bat III" becomes a big hit, I will be totally flabbergasted. I've heard the follow-up discs to "Bat II" and I've heard "Bat III." There's not much of a difference. "Bat III" even has songwriters not named Steinman, and a god-awful nu-metal tune.

Can the name "Bat Out Of Hell" be a franchise like "Mission Impossible" or something? A name that Loaf can slap on one record every 12 or so years and reap the success? Or do people just like bombast sung by fat man, but only if Jim Steinman's writing said bombast? These are the questions we all need answered.

Do you guys think there's any chance in hell "Bat III" becomes a mega-hit record?

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