Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

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"Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"
Side A of 1978 US 7-inch single
Single by Meat Loaf
from the album Bat Out of Hell
B-side"For Crying Out Loud"
ReleasedMarch 1978 (US)[1]
  • 21 July 1978 (UK)[2]
GenreSoft rock
Length5:27 (LP version)
3:58 (7" version)
Songwriter(s)Jim Steinman
Producer(s)Todd Rundgren
Meat Loaf singles chronology
"You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth"
"Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"
"Paradise by the Dashboard Light"
Music video
Video on YouTube

"Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" is a power ballad[3] performed by the American musician Meat Loaf. It is a track off his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, written by Jim Steinman. It spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #11,[4] and earned a million-selling Gold single from the RIAA,[5] eventually being certified platinum. It remains his second-highest charting hit in the US, behind "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" (1993), and stands as one of his career signature tunes.


It was the final song written for the album. In a 2003 interview for the VH1 Ultimate Albums series, Steinman recalled:

I remember Mimi Kennedy [a cast member of Jim's then-current musical Rhinegold] telling me, she said, you know, when I was probably complaining why no one liked my stuff and couldn't get a deal, she says, 'Well Steiny, your stuff is so complicated. Can't you write something simple?' And while she was saying that the oldies station was on the radio and it was playing that old Elvis song, 'I Want You, I Need,' whatever it was. 'I Want You, I Need You, I Love You', you know. I just started singing my own song but it was 'I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.' She said, 'Why don't you write something simple like that, "I want you, I need you, I love you"?' I said, 'Well I'll try.' I don't try to make them complicated. I remember going home and I tried so hard but the best I could do was: 'I want you, I need you but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you, don't be sad, 'cause two out of three ain't bad'. So it was still a twist but it was my closest to a simple song, and one Elvis could have done.[6]

A music video[7] was shot for the single and received significant airplay on television video programs of the period, four years before MTV's debut.

Two mixes were created for the song. In the album mix, timed around 5:27, one can hear prominent Moog synthesizer embellishments by session keyboardist Roger Powell. The single mix, timed just under 4:00, downmixes the synthesizer considerably, in place of a much warmer and predominant string arrangement by Kenneth Ascher. This mix also edits out and removes the first lyrical bridge of the song which includes the line, "There ain't no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box", and does some overlapping, splicing and editing to seamlessly merge back into the second part of the lyrical bridge, starting with, "I can't lie, I can't tell you that I'm something I'm not". An additional edit in the last verse removes the lines, "And though I know I'll never get her out of my heart, she never loved me back, Ooh I know, well I remember how she left me on a stormy night, oh she kissed me and got out of our bed". Last, a song fade-out beginning in the middle of the ending chorus' second refrain is also featured, hence removing the full-circle lyrics of "Baby we can talk all night, but that ain't getting us nowhere", that both started and ended the song, in its full album-mix version.

The Japanese release changes the title of the song to use a percentage, translating it as "66% is good enough".[8]


Cash Box said that the "vocals are emotionally rendered" and the "lyric is interesting."[9] Record World called it a "rambling but appealing single."[10]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Meat Loaf version[edit]

Julian Austin version[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[30] 20

Personnel (original Meat Loaf version)[edit]


  1. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 536. ISBN 9780862415419.
  2. ^ "Meat Loaf singles".
  3. ^ "The 40 Greatest Power Ballads Playlist". Classic Rock Magazine. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Meat Loaf". Billboard.
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  6. ^ "Classic Albums Six Hour Interview". Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  7. ^ Official Video on YouTube
  8. ^ Meat Loaf - 'Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad' (Japanese release), retrieved 2017-04-14
  9. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. March 4, 1978. p. 13. Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  10. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. March 4, 1978. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  13. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  15. ^ Hung, Steffen. " - Meat Loaf - Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad".
  16. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Meat Loaf Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Meat Loaf Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 7/01/78". Archived from the original on 2016-03-20. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Meat Loaf Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  22. ^ "Meat Loaf Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  23. ^ "Kent Music Report No 236 – 1 January 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1978". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 2022-02-14 – via
  24. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  26. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1981". 1981-12-26. Archived from the original on 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  27. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Meat Loaf – Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". Music Canada. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  28. ^ "British single certifications – Meat Loaf – Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  29. ^ "American single certifications – Meat Loaf – Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  30. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 3492." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. March 23, 1998. Retrieved October 14, 2013.

External links[edit]