In 1975, a then relatively unknown Meat Loaf appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and announced himself to America. He played Eddie the Delivery Boy and had some singing to do. One of those songs I have included on this list. At that time, I doubt many would be thinking about composing a list of the Top 50 Meat Loaf songs.
An Unlikely Hero
I suppose you could call him that. He resembled a very out-of-condition Jack Black, if that is possible. But, despite the look, inside was a man with a Rock n Roll spirit. And, it poured out every pore of his body, literally, at times.
He came from nowhere to become one of the most respected artists of his time. Some would say any time. But, in fairness, he didn’t do it on his own. He had a lot of support and input from others, especially Jim Steinman and Todd Rundgren.
Steinman and Meat Loaf fell out over ownership of the “Bat Out Of Hell” brand. Steinman trademarked the name in 1995. But, by August 2006, the singer had dropped the suit, saying he had “too much history” with Steinman to pursue the court case.
The Bat Man
You could call him that after the trilogy of albums Bat Out Of Hell. The first two especially were more than just albums, a bit like The Who’s Who’s Next or The Dark Side Of The Moon from Floyd. More than just albums.
Bat Out Of Hell was more a work of art than an album. And, for that, we have to offer some recognition to the great Jim Steinman. He was a songwriter and a very good one. But, he also had a vision that was later termed “Symphonic Rock.”
He knew the sound he wanted for the songs and went on to create it to excellent effect. Steinman was helped by another great musician, backing singer, and producer, Todd Rundgren. Together they formed a partnership that generated music that would rock the world in the eyes of some.
The End of The Bat?
Problems and lawsuits ruined the working relationship between Meat Loaf and Steinman. And by the settling of the suit in 2006, in some ways, it was too late. Needless to say, Steinman didn’t produce the third album in the trilogy. That role was given to Desmond Child. No doubt he tried his best, but it wasn’t the same, and the fans knew it.
But those were just three albums. Meat Loaf released twelve studio albums and 39 singles. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, he sold over 100 million records around the world. That means we won’t be short of options.
Not Always Top Of Everyone’s List
I should say that he hasn’t always been the flavor of the month. From 1981 to 1993, despite releasing plenty of singles, he didn’t get one on the American chart. However, some did make the Top 100 in the UK.
And, with so many songs over such a long career, it also means it will be hard to choose the Top 50 Meat Loaf songs. The “big” ones will be there, of course, but also some tracks you may not be so familiar with. So, let’s take a look at what are, in my opinion, Meat Loaf’s greatest songs, starting with…
Top 50 Meat Loaf Songs
Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
Let’s start with this track that Meat Loaf recorded for the Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell album. It was his third single from that album. If you are expecting a full-on Rock opening, then this isn’t it. It has the Steinman feel to the production, but it is pretty much a power ballad.
“Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through” was released as a single in 1994 and reached #11 in the UK and #13 in America. It was written by Jim Steinman, and he included it on his own solo album in 1981, Bad For Good.
The song is a celebration of music. In particular, Rock Music, emphasizing that music will always be there when you need it. I suppose it will, unlike some people.
It’s All Coming Back to Me Now
This song caused more problems between Steinman and Meat Loaf. Steinman wrote the song and thought it was best suited for a woman to sing.
There is a reason for that…
Meat Loaf wanted to record it, and Steinman said no. In the end, Steinman had to use a court ruling to prevent Meat Loaf from doing so. Toys were coming out of the pram in all directions.
It is clear that Steinman wanted to protect his work, nothing wrong with that. Meat Loaf, on the other hand, automatically assumed that Steinman was “his” writer and he could record whatever he wrote. Not the case, was it?
The song was recorded first by the girl group Pandora’s Box. But a later version by Celine Dion was far more successful. Meat Loaf finally recorded it with Marian Raven in 2006 to be included in Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.
Why Was Steinman So Insistent?
He wrote and took his inspiration from the book “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte. That is an epic tale, and in the book, the love affair with Heathcliff is looked at through the eyes of Kathy.
Steinman’s song was romantic and passionate and seen through her eyes. Therefore, in his view, it had to be a woman to sing it. When you listen to it, Meat Loaf does a good job with the song. But pulling in a little female help did add to the finished product. Meat Loaf’s version reached #6 in the UK.
Dead Ringer for Love
This is a track taken from his second album with almost the same name, Dead Ringer. The song was initially created for a TV show, “Delta House.” It was written by Jim Steinman, Sean Kelly, and Tony Hendra. On this version, Meat Loaf collaborated with Cher, who also helped to complete the writing of the song. She wasn’t given a credit.
This is more of what we expect from Meat Loaf. A high-powered, all-energy production. And the addition of Cher gave it a lot more of that energy and, of course, profile.
I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)
Most people would probably expect this track to be much higher on this list of the Top 50 Meat Loaf songs. He had been out of the singles charts for 12 years when he suddenly returned with this power ballad. It was taken from the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. Jim Steinman wrote it and gave credit to Lorraine Crosby, aka “Mrs. Loud.”
Was it Meat Loaf’s most successful song? It reached #1 in 28 countries and was the only time he had #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with the same song.
I know what you are thinking…
If it was that successful, why is it at #7 among the best Meat Loaf songs? Well, I make no apologies. I didn’t like it at the time, and I went back to it again for this article, and still feel the same. Sorry. It is here because it was his most successful single, so it has to have a place on this list somewhere.
All Revved Up with No Place to Go
A song produced by Todd Rundgren from the first in the trilogy, Bat Out Of Hell. The song was written by Jim Steinman and is a typically thumping Meatloaf performance and a powerful production.
Listen to some rather nice bass work on this track from Kasim Sulton. And who is that on the saxophone? None other than Edgar Winter. He could play a bit.
So, let’s go back to 1975 and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Written by Richard O’Brien, it opened in London in 1973 and caused a few shock waves at the time. We weren’t used to Frankenstein figures cavorting to Rock Music. Even though Alice Cooper was about to say a fearful hello soon.
RHPC went to Los Angeles in 1974 but wasn’t a success in New York in 1975, lasting only 45 showings. Meat Loaf’s contribution was this track, sung as Eddie, the delivery boy. A real 50s Rock & Roll feel that he sings well with a great band behind him.
What You See Is What You Get
Was Meat Loaf all Rock and power ballads? Not at all. At one time, he could knock out a Motown-type song, as we can hear on this track from 1971. This is a track on the album entitled Stoney And Meatloaf.
For those that might not know, Stoney, real name Shaun Murphy, is a female R&B and Blues singer with a very underrated voice. She began her career in 1971 with Motown in Los Angeles, but that didn’t work out.
She has worked with the Moody Blues, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, and for fifteen years, was a member of Little Feat. Her collaboration with Meat Loaf was impressive, as you can hear on this track. The performance of both makes the song worth its place, even though it will be an unlikely inclusion for some people.
You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth
This was the second track from the album Bat Out Of Hell and his first solo single release. It was again written by Jim Steinman and is one of the “heaviest” songs he recorded. Steinman was prompted to write a song that would be okay to use as a single in terms of its length.
Jim was prone to write ten-minute songs that would not get airplay. This was his attempt to create a radio-friendly rocker for Meat Loaf. It reached #33 in the UK and #39 in America and was produced by Todd Rundgren.
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad
Another track from Bat Out Of Hell and another song from Jim Steinman produced by Todd Rundgren. It was released in 1978 and reached #32 in the UK and #11 in America, making it his second most successful song.
Strangely, like quite a few of the songs on the first album, the inspiration was the story of “Peter Pan.” Steinman had the idea of writing and producing a Rock and Roll version of the J.M. Barrie story with Sci-Fi undertones.
Bat Out Of Hell
Possibly the most famous Meat Loaf song, and another from that first album. There are two versions – the full 9-minute album version and the 4-minute radio edit. Surprisingly, it didn’t chart in America but reached #8 in the UK.
Written by Jim Steinman, of course, and produced by Todd Rundgren, it proved to be the best song from what was a very good album. There were some subsequent re-releases of this song over the years. To date, it’s one of the most well know Meat Loaf songs.
Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)
Lost Boys and Golden Girls
Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back
Everything Louder Than Everything Else
Back Into Hell
More Than You Deserve
Rock And Roll Mercenaries
Blind Before I Stop
The Giving Tree
The Monster Is Loose
If God Could Talk
Runnin’ For The Red Light (I Gotta Life)
What About Love?
Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)
Life’s A Bitch And Then You Die
A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
Bad For Good
Come Back To Sorrento
Cry To Heaven
Don’t Leave Your Mark On Me
I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)
It Just Won’t Quit
Jumpin’ The Gun
Love Is Not Real / Next Time You Stab Me In The Back
The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be
Piece Of The Action
If You Really Want To
Rock ‘N’ Roll Hero
Original Sin (Theatrical Trailer)
Everything Is Permitted
Heaven On Their Minds
Because Of You
Blind As A Bat
In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King
If This Is The Last Kiss (Let’s Make It Last All Night)
Want More Rock Music From Excellent Musicians?
Well then, check out our thoughts on the Best Van Halen Songs, the Top 10 Journey Songs, the Top 10 Kansas Songs, the Top 10 Kiss Songs, the Best Ted Nugent Songs of All Time, and the Top 10 Styx Songs for more incredible song selections.
Of course, you need to hear them. So, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones with Volume Control, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 that you can buy in 2023.
Top 50 Meat Loaf Songs – Final Thoughts
An interesting character. I say that because an aura had built up around him that many would say was unjustified. If you consider his chart performance, only one album, Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell, ever reached #1 in America. He did have two #1 albums in the UK, Back into Hell and Dead Ringer. But not what you might call a great success.
Singles success seemed even harder to get. Meat Loaf had just one #1 in America and one in the UK for the same song, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” That song ended up being, by far and away, his best chart performance. As well as one of Meat Loaf’s most popular songs.
It’s Not About Chart Success…
Over 45 years, whichever way you look at it, he can’t be described as over-successful. The “boys in the suits” might not agree. But, with Meat Loaf, it was not necessarily about record sales if you are judging success.
Working with Jim Steinman, he created what was a “new” sound. How would you describe it? Phil Spector in overdrive is one way. And that new sound created an army of fans. Those fans made, and sometimes continue to make, unrealistic claims about his popularity.
You can’t knock the quality of everything he did. When he worked with Steinman/Rundgren, he was at his best. It is that period of his career for which he will be remembered.
Until next time, happy listening.