Personnel includes: Meat Loaf, Clare Torry, Lorraine Crosby, Bonnie Tyler, Patti Russo, Cher (vocals); Jim Steinman (various instruments, background vocals); Todd Rundgren (guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Tim Pierce, Eddie Martinez, Bob Kulick (guitar); Edgar Winter, Lenny Pickett (saxophone); Roy Bittan, Paul Jacobs (piano, keyboards); Jeff Bova (Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards, programming); Roger Powell (synthesizer); Kasim Sulton (bass, background vocals); Steve Buslowe, John Seigler (bass); Kenny Aronoff, Max Weinberg, John Wilcox, Mickey Curry (drums); Marvin Lee (percussion); Eric Troyer, Crystal Taliefero, Gunnar Nelson, Matthew Nelson, Rory Dodd (background vocals).
Producers include: Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, Todd Rundgren, Alan Shacklock, Russ Titleman.
Engineers include: Todd Rundgren, Steve Rinkoff, Mark Thomas.
While Meat Loaf's previous anthology, 1984's HITS OUT OF HELL, contained most of the radio hits you'd expect from the first part of his career, it obviously didn't contain any selections from his mid-'90s "second coming" (with BAT OUT HELL II and the monster hit "I Would Do Anything for Love"). Released in 1998, the double-disc THE VERY BEST OF corrects this, containing a more extensive track listing than its predecessor and clocking in at nearly two hours with a more expansive 18 tracks. If you're an aficionado of '70s arena rock (Queen, Elton John, Styx, etc.), then Meat Loaf's THE VERY BEST OF will likely become a permanent denizen of your CD player. Standouts include such early classics as "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," as well as oft-overlooked mid-career standouts "Dead Ringer for Love" and "Midnight at the Lost and Found," and of course the '90s "comeback" tracks "I Would Do Anything for Love" and "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through."
Entertainment Weekly (12/11/98, p.81) - "...This set recaps the sweeping grandeur of his mega-million selling BAT OUT OF HELL bow and all the cheesier, histrionic singles that followed..." - Rating: B
Mojo (Publisher) (2/04, p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 - "'Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad' and 'Bat Out Of Hell' remain glorious masterpieces of Saturday night yearning and rebel-without-a-cause drama."