Then came Todd Rundgren who fell on the floor laughing when exposed to the glory of Bat Beginnings. He was in love with audacity of it. Rundgren signed up to produce the album while Meat and Steinman finagled a contract with RCA (Card #1). In 1976, the threesome cut tracks with members of the E Street Band and Rundgren's band Utopia. Then Rundgren had to go on international tour to promote his own album. He departed with the words no artist likes to hear, "So where's the money?"
Enter Card #2. Random guy who owns a slew of truck stops makes an "investment" and buys out Meat's contract with RCA. (Hey, truckers need good rock and roll too). Tracks keep getting cut, progress continues until...well, where's the distribution avenue? You know, that pesky "label"?
They managed an audience with Warner Brothers (Card #3). The whole gang is there, Meat, Steinman, Ellen, a few backup singers. They're ripping up the performance, but instead of "sign here" they're told "get the eff out." Turns out Steinman, with his infinite ability to attract friends, had auditioned for the Warner execs on a previous project and had so offended them, that no way, no how were they ever going to get behind anything with Steinman's taint on it.
Push is coming to shove. They're running out of options. They've been tossed out by pretty much everyone.
But they have an album. Completed. Ready to ship.
Hiding up Meat's sleeve is the Queen of Hearts, Cleveland International Records, a sub of Epic, a label with one artist on its roster. CIR waffles, maybe Bat is right for them, maybe not. Three Card
October 21, 1977, Bat Out of Hell is released to such glorious industry fan fare that the head of Epic Marketing ...
barfed in his hands.