Meat Loaf – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…A song that includes a number.

From his 1977 album, Bat Out Of Hell. The song reached #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on August 7, 1978.

From Songfacts

“Two out of three ain’t bad” is a trite cliché often used for comic effect. (“How was your date?” “He was tall, handsome, and incredibly boring.” “Well, two out of three ain’t bad.)

Jim Steinman, who was Meat Loaf’s songwriter, turned the saying into a song about the elusive nature of love. The song begins with Meat Loaf getting kicked to the curb by his girl, presumably because he won’t tell her he loves her. He makes the case that even though he will never love her, he’s good enough, since after all he does want her and need her, and happy endings are only for fairy tales.

We then learn that his commitment issues step from a previous relationship – one with the only woman he will ever love. She once left him with the same explanation: I want you, I need you, but I’ll never love you.

Jim Steinman wrote this song after his friend, the actress Mimi Kennedy, suggested that he write a ballad along the lines of the Elvis Presley song “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” She was implying that he should write something straightforward and simple, but Steinman doesn’t work that way. He used the phrase, but added a degree of Shakespearean drama that was typical of his work.

In America, this was the second single released from the Bat Out Of Hell album. The first single, “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth,” didn’t chart, but by the time “Two Out of Three” was issued in March 1978, the album was picking up steam and the song rose up the charts, peaking at #11 on July 8.

The single was edited down to 3:58 from the 5:23 album version.

Todd Rundgren produced the Bat Out Of Hell album. On this song, he used the other three members of his band Utopia: Kasim Sulton on bass, Willie Wilcox on drums, and Roger Powell on synthesizer. Rundgren played guitar and also sang backup on this one.
This song got a big boost when Meat Loaf performed it on Saturday Night Live on March 25, 1978.

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t getting us nowhere
I told you everything I possibly can
There’s nothing left inside of here

And maybe you can cry all night
But that’ll never change the way that I feel
The snow is really piling up outside
I wish you wouldn’t make me leave here

I poured it on and I poured it out
I tried to show you just how much I care
I’m tired of words and I’m too hoarse to shout
But you’ve been cold to me so long
I’m crying icicles instead of tears

And all I can do is keep on telling you
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way
I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you’re looking for a ruby
In a mountain of rocks
But there ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding
At the bottom of a Cracker Jack box

I can’t lie
I can’t tell you that I’m something I’m not
No matter how I try
I’ll never be able to give you something
Something that I just haven’t got

There’s only one girl that I have ever loved
And that was so many years ago
And though I know I’ll never get her out of my heart
She never loved me back, ooh I know
I remember how she left me on a stormy night
She kissed me and got out of our bed
And though I pleaded and I begged her
Not to walk out that door
She packed her bags and turned right away

And she kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way
I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t getting us nowhere

Writer/s: JIM STEINMAN

5 thoughts on “Meat Loaf – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

  1. I had this album and wore this track out! The album had “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” on it too. It was junior high and the hormones were ragging! Who the else knew anything about love at that point anyway! Thanks for memory! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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