In 1993, Meat Loaf was hungry for a taste of the success he had enjoyed in the late 1970s when his debut studio album, Bat Out of Hell, scored three top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — including the epic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — and spent six months in the top 40 of the Billboard 200 in 1978.
In the wake of Bat Out of Hell’s phenomenal success — the album would go on to be certified 14 times platinum by the RIAA — Meat Loaf (real name: Michael Lee Aday) released three LPs in the ’80s that didn’t produce a single top 40 Hot 100 track.
More than 15 years would pass before his fortunes would change. Financial and legal squabbles had resulted in Meat Loaf falling out with producer-songwriter Jim Steinman, whose theatrical approach to rock had been instrumental in the creation of Bat Out of Hell. Steinman had actually begun writing a sequel during the height of the original album’s success, but it wasn’t until the beginning of the ’90s that the two men reconciled and began recording Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell.
Given that more than a decade had passed and grunge was ruling the airwaves, the industry was skeptical that Meat Loaf and Steinman could repeat their success. “If this doesn’t do 3 or 4 million [copies], it’ll be a cold day in hell before they let us do another,” Meat Loaf told Q magazine on the eve of the album’s release in September 1993.
But Hell II quickly silenced the skeptics. Its lead single, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” rocketed to the top of the Nov. 6 Hot 100 chart — becoming the then?46-year-old Meat Loaf ’s first No. 1 — and ruled for five weeks.
In 2006, Meat Loaf released Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, and though Steinman was partially involved, both men continue to mine the series. In 2018, Meat Loaf, who is 71, embarked on the Back Out of Hell Tour but left the singing to 2014 American Idol winner Caleb Johnson, while Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell The Musical is touring North America.