‘Bat Out Of Hell’ Singer Meat Loaf Dies At 74
Meat Loaf, the bombastic singer and actor who is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, has died. He was likely 74 years old but gave conflicting reports about his age. According to longtime agent Michael Green, he died Thursday night with his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda, and other close friends around him.
Meat Loaf, whose real name was Michael (born Marvin) Lee Aday, began working as a musician in several bands, and actor for film and stage beginning in the late 1960s. He had his first breakout in a Los Angeles production of the musical Hair. He would rejoin Hair on Broadway after recording his first albums and then met his future collaborator Jim Steinman during a successful audition for More Than You Deserve at the Public Theater.
After performing in both the original cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its later film adaptation, Meat Loaf decided to focus primarily on music. The artist later released Bat Out Of Hell in 1977, which featured unforgettable vocal performances from himself and revolutionary rock composition from Steinman.
Bat Out Of Hell was an outlier as a rock opera album in a time when genres like disco and punk were dominant, but it became a runaway success, selling around 15 million copies in the U.S. and over 40 million around the world. While the pair would not collaborate for many years due to a legal dispute, they later reconciled and recorded more together, including a Bat Out Of Hell follow-up in 1993. The album featured the power ballad “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” which earned Meat Loaf a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance.
Marvin Lee Aday was born in Dallas, allegedly on September 27, 1947 but he has shown different dates in other interviews. He also cracked that “I just continually lie” when asked about his conflicting birth dates. His father, Orvis Wesley Aday, was a policeman, and his mother Wilma Artie Hukel was an English teacher. He also spent time with his grandmother growing up because of his father’s drinking issues, according to Meat Loaf’s 1999 autobiography.
Meat Loaf graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1965. He was a high school football player who also performed in musicals. Reports vary as to how he got the nickname Meat Loaf, with some saying it was childhood teasing and another saying a football coach, but the man himself said in his autobiography it came from his father. He moved to Los Angeles soon after his mother’s death and formed his first band which was named Meat Loaf Soul.
Known as an energetic and unforgettable live performer, Meat Loaf retired from touring in 2013 and released his final album, Braver Than We Are, another co-production with Jim Steinman, in 2016. He also suffered from health problems in later life, which included several episodes of collapsing onstage.
Meat Loaf was still ready to keep releasing music even in 2022. He wrote a Facebook post in November 2021 that described his intentions to record new music in January, which would have included seven new songs and several live tracks from his decades-long career.
A cause of death and a full list of survivors have not yet been made available.