When I was in the 8th grade..I would say that would have been circa 1977 a slew of great music was released. Records by artists like KISS, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Styx and many more allowed music lovers to bask in some great great tunes. One of those records released was Meatloaf-Bat Out of Hell. Now this record would prove to be very different than any other recording released to AOR radio and to the rock genre in general. Why did we like it so much? It is not traditional in the rock field by no stretch. The songs are long for the most part and quite frankly a bit weird. This was one of the first rock "opera" records made. One particular single though helped launch Meatloaf's career, catapult the record sales, and also allowed us young teens to find interest in it. That song was "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad." This was the token ballad on this otherwise conglomeration of songs ranging from harder edged rock to simple middle of the road adult type music. The ballad was one in which we slow danced to at the middle school dances. We played it at the parties hoping to steal that kiss from a girl or boy we had our eyes on. Then Album Oriented Rock (AOR) radio began playing a lengthy song from the release called "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights." There were two stations in my area that I listened to. One was WQDR out of Raleigh NC. The other was WKZL out of Greensboro NC. KZL was the go-to station for us. What was so cool about this station and the other one was that every night at 11:00 pm they would play an album in its' entirety with no interruptions except when side 1 was over they would run some commercials. Then they would spin side 2 until it's completion. My friends and I could listen to an entire record start to finish and then decide if we would then go out and by it! It was simply....awesome!
Now one cool factor I had going for me was that my Electrophonic Stereo system was complete with AM/FM stereo, record player, and 8-Track tape player/recorder (The pic below is the exact stereo I had minus the cassette player with it). So I would go down to the nearby department store and buy a few blank 8-track tapes. I began taping every record these stations played at night. I was building my 8-Track collection, although it was quite illegal! My 13 year old mind didn't know it was nor did I care. I wasn't selling these tapes. I was simply thrilled that I could now listen to those records anytime I wanted. However, I still wanted to buy the records so I could stare at the covers and read the liner notes. And most times that is exactly what I did. If I had a tape I liked, I bought the record. For those I wasn't exactly thrilled with, I just wrote the name of the record on the tape and put it in my tape holder. I only wish I still had those tapes today. I was able to salvage one of those 8-tracks which was KISS "Dressed to Kill." There is likely some more music on it as well. My goal is to one day find an old 8-Track player at an antique store and then I will have it if ever needed.
Because of the radio station playing Bat Out of Hell in its' entirety, I bought the record. I then realized what a great record it is. It still stands the test of time. Jim Steinman wrote all the songs on this record. Jim came from a theater background so this type of writing makes sense. The album was produced by the great Todd Rundgren. Every song is great. My personal favorites are "You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth" and "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights." I actually like every song on this release.
Personally I think the mid to late 70's gave us some of the best music ever. When I buy vinyl from that period, I try to buy the original releases. Yes these releases have been remastered and re-released and sound great. However, for me I like the original sound these records gave us at the time. I also wish AOR radio would return and play entire records start to finish. It is just not practical today and there is just too much red-tape and headaches for that kind of thing on a legal end nowadays. Nonetheless, I'm glad I was around during that time to experience those great albums and radio stations. There is nothing quite like good ol' nostalgia!
So...until next time...keep digging for vinyl