Meat Loaf, who rose to Rock superstardom in the 1970s, and famous for his Bat Out of Hell series of albums has died. He was 74 years old.
The following statement was issued on Meat Loaf’s social media pages:
Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends.His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including “Fight Club”, “Focus”, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Wayne’s World.”“Bat Out of Hell” remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time. We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man. We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!
Born Marvin Lee Aday, his first band would be the “Meat Loaf Soul” that he would form in Los Angeles. In addition to music, he also very much was active in theater. During the early 1970s, he alternated between the two. He appeared in the Broadway production of Hair. Meat Loaf then got his first big break when he played the lobotomized biker Eddie in the theater and film versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In 1973, he would meet Jim Steinman, where the two would start working on the concept of the first Bat Out of Hell album. Meat Loaf’s theatrical experience and style clicked very well with Steinman’s anthemic songwriting. After getting rejected by several record companies, they met Todd Rundgren, who would produce what would become the finalized Bat Out of Hell album. Ultimately, Cleveland International Records took a chance on the on the album and it was released in October 1977. The album would go on to sell 43 million copies. Featuring anthemic songs like Paradise by the Dashboard Light and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, it is one of the top ten selling albums of all time.
There was a decent follow-up album called Dead Ringer, but things turned sour for Meat Loaf in the 1980s. A rift developed between Meat Loaf and Steinman, with the writer voicing his frustration over his lack of credit for the album’s success. He would break his leg at a show in Ottawa, Canada forcing him to do subsequent shows in a wheelchair. Commercial sales of subsequent work did not come for Meat Loaf. All of these situations led to a drug habit, and with legal challenges from Steinman, Meat Loaf filed for bankruptcy in 1983.
Reaching the bottom and needing cash, Meat Loaf would start touring again in the late 1980s, and slowly but surely he started to gain momentum and mount one of the great music comebacks of the modern era. This would lead to patching things up with Steinman and the 1993 sequel to Bat Out of Hell called Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. The album would become a monster hit and land Meat Loaf his first Grammy for I’d do Anything for Love. While it didn’t sell 43 million albums, it still sold 15 million.
Meat Loaf was able to sustain his popularity, although the third Bat Out of Hell album, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose which was released in 2006 did not do as well as the first two albums. It was plagued by more disputes between Meat Loaf and Steinman.
In recent years Steinman and Meat Loaf had health issues. Steinman died in 2021. Back in November Meat Loaf said on his social media pages he was returning to the studio, but also noted he had suffered through four back surgeries.
No cause of death for Meat Loaf has been given.
Photo Credit: Meat Loaf Facebook page