Heaven Can Wait

Time for another Friday song.  It has been too long.  This will be an interesting song.  When it comes to Meat Loaf, people tend to hate it or they tend to love it.  I am in the camp of people who love Meat Loaf and I think that the Bat Out of Hell album is in the top 25 of rock albums ever made.  I come from a theatrics background from my days at Hudson, so maybe I have a better appreciation than most would.

“Heaven Can Wait” is a beautiful ballad and really comes from the heart.  Meat puts his all into this song and it really comes through.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Bat Out of Hell is the second album by American rock musician Meat Loaf, and his first collaboration with composer Jim Steinman, released in October 1977 on Cleveland International/Epic Records #PE-34974.  Selling approximately 200,000 copies per year as of 2010, it is the fifth best-selling album worldwide, having sold 43 million copies worldwide.  Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 343 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003. Its musical style is influenced by Steinman’s appreciation of Richard Wagner, Phil Spector, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.  Bat Out of Hell has been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America as a platinum album, fourteen times over.

This album’s title also became the title for two more Meat Loaf albums.  Steinman produced the 1993 album, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into HellDesmond Child produced the 2006 album, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.

The album developed from a musical, Neverland, a sci-fi update of Peter Pan, which Steinman wrote for a workshop in 1974, and performed at the Kennedy Center Music Theatre Lab in 1977. Steinman and Meat Loaf, who were touring with the National Lampoon show, felt that three songs were “exceptional” and Steinman began to develop them as part of a seven-song set they wanted to record as an album.  The three songs were “Bat Out of Hell”, “Heaven Can Wait” and “The Formation of the Pack”, which was later retitled “All Revved Up with No Place to Go”.

Bat Out of Hell is often compared to the music of Bruce Springsteen, particularly the Born to Run album.  Steinman says that he finds that “puzzling, musically”, although they share influences; “Springsteen was more an inspiration than an influence.”  A BBC article added, “that Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan from Springsteen’s E Street Band played on the album only helped reinforce the comparison.”

Steinman and Meat Loaf had immense difficulty finding a record company willing to sign them.  According to Meat Loaf’s autobiography, the band spent most of 1975 writing and recording material, and two and a half years auditioning the record and being rejected.  Manager David Sonenberg jokes that they were creating record companies just so they could be rejected.  They performed the album live in 1976, with Steinman on piano, Meat Loaf singing, and sometimes Ellen Foley joining them for “Paradise”.  Steinman says that it was a “medley of the most brutal rejections you could imagine.”  Meat Loaf “almost cracked” when CBS executive Clive Davis rejected the project.  The singer recounts the incident in his autobiography.  Not only did Davis, according to Meat Loaf, say that “actors don’t make records”, the executive challenged Steinman’s writing abilities and knowledge of rock music:

Do you know how to write a song?  Do you know anything about writing?  If you’re going to write for records, it goes like this: A, B, C, B, C, C.  I don’t know what you’re doing.  You’re doing A, D, F, G, B, D, C.  You don’t know how to write a song… Have you ever listened to pop music?  Have you ever heard any rock-and-roll music… You should go downstairs when you leave here… and buy some rock-and-roll records.

Meat Loaf asserts “Jim, at the time, knew every record ever made. [He] is a walking rock encyclopedia.”  Although Steinman laughed off the insults, the singer screamed “Fuck you, Clive!” from the street up to his building.

Todd Rundgren, however, found the album hilarious. The singer quotes him as saying: “I’ve got to do this album. It’s just so out there.”  They told the producer that they had previously been signed to RCA.  In one 1989 interview with Classic Rock magazine, Steinman labeled him “the only genuine genius I’ve ever worked with.”  In a 1989 interview with Redbeard for the In the Studio with Redbeard episode on the making of the album, Meat Loaf revealed that Jimmy Iovine and Andy Johns were potential candidates for producing Bat Out of Hell before being rejected by Meat and Steinman in favor of Rundgren, who Meat initially found cocky but grew to like.

Recording started in late 1975 in Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, NY. Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg, the pianist and drummer from Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band played on the album, in addition to members of Rundgren’s group Utopia: Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell and Willie WilcoxEdgar Winter played the saxophone on “All Revved Up”.  Rundgren himself played guitar, including the “motorcycle solo” on “Bat Out of Hell”.  Both Steinman and Rundgren were influenced by Phil Spector and his “wall of sound“.  According to Meat Loaf, Rundgren put all the arrangements together because although “Jim could hear all the instruments” in his head, Steinman hummed rather than orchestrating.

When Rundgren discovered that the deal with RCA did not actually exist, Albert Grossman, who had been Bob Dylan‘s manager, offered to put it on his Bearsville label but needed more money.  Rundgren had essentially paid for the album himself.  Mo Ostin at Warner Bros. was impressed, but other senior people rejected them after they performed live.  Steinman had offended them a few years earlier by auditioning with a song named “Who Needs the Young”, which contains the lyric “Is there anyone left who can fuck? Screw ’em!”

Another E Street Band member, Steve Van Zandt, and Sonenberg arranged to contact Cleveland International Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records.  After listening to the spoken word intro to “You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth” (“Hot Summer Night”), founder Steve Popovich accepted the album for Cleveland.

Rundgren mixed the record in one night.  However, the mixes were not suitable to the extent that Meat Loaf did not want “Paradise” on the album.  Jimmy Iovine, who had mixed Springsteen’s Born to Run, remixed some of the tracks.  After several attempts by several people, John Jansen mixed the version of “Paradise” that is on the album.  According to Meat Loaf, he, Jansen and Steinman mixed the title track.

Phil Rizzuto‘s baseball play-by-play call for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” was recorded in 1976 at The Hit Factory in NYC by Rundgren, Meat Loaf and Steinman.  As an Italian Catholic, Rizzuto publicly maintained he was unaware that his contribution would be equated with sex in the finished song.  However, Meat Loaf asserts that Rizzuto only claimed ignorance to stifle some criticism from a priest and was fully aware of the context of what he was recording.

Todd Rundgren acknowledges that Steinman was highly influenced by the “rural suburban teenage angst” of Bruce Springsteen. According to manager David Sonenberg, “Jim would always come up with these great titles and then he would write a song that would try to justify the greatness of the title.”

The album opens with its title track, “Bat Out of Hell,” taken from Steinman’s Neverland musical.  It is the result of Steinman’s desire to write the “most extreme crash song of all time.”  It features a boy who is riding so fast and ecstatically that he is unable to see an obstruction until it is “way too late.”  The next track, “You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth,” opens with spoken word, performed by Steinman and Marcia McClain, that was also taken from the Neverland musical, as were the next two tracks.

“All Revved Up with No Place to Go” describes the beginning of a relationship and also the taking of the girl’s virginity:

You and me ’round about midnight
Someone’s got to draw first blood […]
Oooh I got to draw first blood.

Side two opens with “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad,” which was written near the end of the album’s production.  The song documents the break-up of two relationships: first where the singer says he is not in love with his partner, and the second where he recalls when the “only girl … [he’d] ever love” left him.  In the Classic Albums documentary, Rundgren identifies how the song was influenced by the Eagles, who were successful at the time.  The producer also highlights the “underlying humor in the lyrics,” citing the line “There ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.”  He says you could only “get away” with that lyric “in a Meat Loaf song.”

The sixth track, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light“, is an epic story about teen romance and sex.  A duet between Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley, the couple reminisce about driving to a secluded spot, at which he plans to have sex.  They “make out” heavily in the middle instrumental section, described in metaphor in a baseball commentary by New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto. However, she stops him just before they have sex, insisting that he first proclaim that he will “love her forever.”  He swears to love her until the end of time.  The final part of the song displays the couple in an acrimonious relationship, in which they are “praying for the end of time” because “if I got to spend another minute with you I don’t think that I can really survive.”  Whereas the title track is the “ultimate car crash song,” this, according to the writer, is the “ultimate car sex song.”  It epitomizes the album’s, as Ellen Foley describes, “pre-pubescent sexual mentality.”

The seventh and final track, “For Crying Out Loud”, is a more sedate love song.  It recounts the positive changes that a girl has made to the singer’s life, which had “reached the bottom”.  The song also incorporates some sexual innuendo with the line “And can’t you see my faded Levi’s bursting apart.”

Comparing the album to Steinman’s late-60s musical The Dream Engine, Classic Rock magazine says that Steinman’s imagery is “revved up and testosterone-fueled.  Songs like “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “For Crying Out Loud” echoed the textbook teenage view of sex and life: irrepressible physical urges and unrealistic romantic longing.”

Steinman’s songs for Bat Out of Hell are personal but not autobiographical:

I never thought of them as personal songs in terms of my own life but they were personality songs.  They were all about my obsessions and images.  None of them takes place in a normal world.  They all take play in extreme world.  Very operatic … they were all heightened.  They don’t take place in normal reality.

For example, citing the narrative of “Paradise,” Rundgren jokes that he can’t imagine Steinman being at a lakeside with the most beautiful girl in school, but he can imagine Steinman imagining it.

Steinman is credited with the album cover concept, which was illustrated by Richard Corben.  The cover depicts a motorcycle, ridden by a long-haired man, bursting out of the ground in a graveyard.  In the background, a large bat perches atop a mausoleum that towers above the rest of the tombstones.  In 2001, Q magazine listed the cover as number 71 in its list of “The Hundred Best Record Covers of All Time.”

Steinman had wanted equal billing with Meat Loaf on the album’s title.  He wanted it to be called “Jim Steinman presents…” or “Jim and Meat,” or vice versa.  For marketing reasons, the record company wished to make ‘Meat Loaf’ the recognizable name.  As a compromise, the words “Songs by Jim Steinman” appear relatively prominently on the cover.  The singer believes that this was probably the beginning of their “ambivalent relationship.”

The phrase “Bat Out of Hell” can be traced back to the Greek playwright Aristophanes‘ 414 BC work entitled The Birds.  In it is what is believed to be the first reference to a bat out of Hell:

Near by the land of the Sciapodes there is a marsh, from the borders whereof the unwashed Socrates evokes the souls of men.  Pisander came one day to see his soul, which he had left there when still alive.  He offered a little victim, a camel, slit his throat and, following the example of Odysseus, stepped one pace backwards. Then that bat of a Chaerephon came up from hell to drink the camel’s blood.

Steinman registered “Bat Out of Hell” as a trademark in 1995, and sought to prevent Meat Loaf from using the title.  In 2006, however, the singer sought to cancel Steinman’s trademark and use the title for Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.

Bat Out of Hell was released by Cleveland International on October 21, 1977.  Cleveland International’s parent label was Epic Records, where almost everyone hated it.  Steve Popovich, the head of Cleveland International Records, was relentless in his efforts to get Epic and all of CBS Records and radio onboard.  In 1993, Steinman reflected that the album is “timeless in that it didn’t fit into any trend. It’s never been a part of what’s going on.  You could release that record at any time and it would be out of place.”

Response to the album was slow.  Steinman asserts that it was “underpromoted”, having a reputation of being “damaged goods because it had been walked around to so many places.”  Due to the enthusiastic response to the music videos from the record Australia and England were the first to develop interest.  The BBC television programme Old Grey Whistle Test aired a clip of the live band performing the nine-minute title track.  According to Classic Rock, response was so overwhelming, that they screened it again the following week.  They later invited the band to perform “Paradise” live. ”  As a result, in the UK Bat became an unfashionable, uncool, non-radio record that became a ‘must-have’ for everyone who heard it, whether they ‘got’ Steinman’s unique perspective or not.”

The album was not an immediate hit; it was more of a growing one. Bat Out of Hell still sells about 200,000 copies per year and has sold an estimated 43 million copies worldwide, 14 million in the United States alone, over 1.5 million (22 times platinum) albums in Australia (even re-entering charts on June 2007, at #34 on the ARIAs) becoming the second best-selling album there behind John Farnham‘s Whispering Jack, 24x Platinum.  It stayed on the United Kingdom charts for 474 weeks, a feat surpassed only by the 478 weeks of Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours.  In 2003, the album was ranked number 343 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  In 2006 it was voted number nine in a poll conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to discover Australia’s most popular album.  In November 2007, Meat Loaf was awarded the Classic Album award in Classic Rocks Classic Rock Roll Of Honour.

Reviews were initially mixed, but have since become much more positive.  Rolling Stone calls the songs “swell, but… entirely mannered and derivative.”  The arrangements “aren’t bad”, although the musicians are commended.  The review ends with the assertion that the “principals have some growing to do.”  Contemporary reviews are more positive, however.  Allmusic declares “this is Grand Guignol pop—epic, gothic, operatic, and silly, and it’s appealing because of all of this.”  They acknowledge that Steinman is “a composer without peer, simply because nobody else wanted to make mini-epics like this.”  Rundgren’s production is applauded, as is the wit in the music and lyrics.”  It may elevate adolescent passion to operatic dimensions, and that’s certainly silly, but it’s hard not to marvel at the skill behind this grandly silly, irresistible album.”

Also, Meat Loaf revealed on In the Studio with Redbeard that he was not well received early on in the tour when he was opening for Cheap Trick.  In the same interview, Meat Loaf revealed that when he played at a CBS Records convention in 1978, record executives and superstar Billy Joel (who was in the audience) gave Meat Loaf a standing ovation for his performance after a haunting performance of the closing track “For Crying Out Loud” was the turning point in the album’s success in the US.

Heaven Can Wait

Meat Loaf

written by Jim Steinman

And a band of angels wrapped up in my heart
Will take me throu-ough the lonely night
Through the cold of the day
And I know-ow, I know
Heaven can wait
And all the gods come down here just to sing for me
And the melody-y’s gonna make me fly
Without pain, without fear

Give me all of your drea-eams a-and
Let me go-o along on your way
Give me all of your prayers to sing and I’ll
Turn the ni-ight into the skylight of day
I’ve got a taste of paradise
I’m never gonna let it slip away
I got a taste of paradise
It’s all that I really need to make me stay
Just like a chi-ild again

Heaven can wait
And all I got is time unti-il the end of time
Well I won’t look back, I won’t look back
Let the a-altar-ar shine

And I know that I’ve been released
But I don’t know to where
Nobody’s gonna tell me now
And I don’t really care, no no no
I got a taste of paradise
That’s all I really need to make me stay
I gotta taste of paradise
If I had it any sooner, you know
You know I never would have run away
From my home

Heaven can wait
And all I got is time unti-il the end of time
Well I won’t look back, I won’t look back
Let the a-altar-ar shine

Heaven can wait, ahh…, heaven can wait
Well I won’t look back, I won’t look back
Let the a-altar-ar shine…
Let – the – al-tar shine…

About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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