Radio 5 Live has a Saturday morning feature where children review old music from parents/relatives collections.
This morning a delightful 8 year old girl reviewed Bat Out of Hell which came from her Granny’s collection. Being 64 myself & remembering this 1977 album as if it were last week, this was not a good start. The fact that it turned out to be a vinyl copy & she had to be taught how to use a record player made me feel even older.
However the bad news stopped there. She was asked to describe the record in three words & said ‘brilliant, exciting’, long pause then… ‘loud!’ She gave it 5 out of 5 &, when asked to compare it against her favourite, Ollie Murs, said it was much better!
She was then asked for her favourite track &, without hesitation said ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ & belted out a surprisingly tuneful & word perfect rendition of the ‘Stop Right There’ & ‘Do You Love Me, Will You Make Me Your Wife’ bit.
Her enthusiasm was infectious & it made me think that there are many youngsters who will have a wonderful time in the coming years when they discover some of the fantastic music granny & granddad enjoyed & that some of the musicians from many years past can indeed show a clean pair of heels to the manufactured pop idols that they believe represent the cutting edge of the music industry.
The interview ended when she asked the DJ if he supported Watford. When he confirmed he did she said it was the wrong team & told him ‘Up the Rams!’ A young lady who definitely knows her own mind!
I remember when Bat out of Hell came out people raving over it : to me it was overblown American rock - OK but nothing I would buy or choose to play myself. I was quite impressed, however, that it stood the test of time and still seemed popular a decade later - and Meatloaf still playing it.
I want to make it clear that whilst I like the album it is not one of my favourites. I only bought the CD about 15 years later when I had spare cash.
However I have met, in my small social circle, at least half a dozen people over the years for whom the album reminded them of good times in the past & instantly feel a warm glow whenever they hear a track from it.
My own memory of it dates back to January 1978 & the successful single ‘You took the words right out of my mouth’. I had just received a big promotion at work, large pay rise & first company car, out on the road all the time & answerable to no one except my figures at the end of the month!
This catchy track was often on the radio in the car & just raised the spirit on hearing it. The opposite was true of the other big hit of the time, Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, which has always sounded to me as if she was recording it whilst someone was trying to strangle her!
I think the reason Bat Out Of Hell was such a success was that all the songs were catchy after only one or two listens & you found yourself singing them without realising. The album was also pure theatre, easy to follow & gloriously over the top. It seemed to tell a story & paint pictures without requiring you put too much effort into listening.