Meat Loaf Dead At 74

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Meat Loaf Dead At 74

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Meat Loaf, the singer and actor who rose to fame with an ultra-theatrical Broadway-infused take on rock ‘n’ roll, has died at the age of 74. His death was confirmed in a statement from his family in the early hours of this morning:

Our hearts are broken to announce 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!

Meat Loaf was born Michael Lee Aday in Dallas. As a kid, his family life was chaotic, as his father had a serious problem with alcohol. Aday played football and acted in musicals in high school, and his coach gave him the nickname “Meat Loaf.” After his mother’s death, Meat Loaf moved to Los Angeles and started a band called Meat Loaf Soul, which later changed its name to Floating Circus. The group never became anything more than a regional success. Meat Loaf did better as an actor, starring in an LA stage production of Hair. This led to a contract with Motown, which released a 1971 album from Meat Loaf and his Hair co-star Shaun “Stoney” Murphy.

Meat Loaf and Stoney’s single “What You See Is What You Get” made it onto Billboard‘s Hot 100 and onto its soul chart. When he was done touring behind that album, Meat Loaf moved to New York and started acting in the Broadway production of Hair, as well as some other musicals. While auditioning for the musical More Than You Deserve, Meat Loaf met Jim Steinman, the songwriter who would become his greatest collaborator.

Meat Loaf acted in the 1973 stage version of The Rocky Horror Show and then in its 1975 film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of history’s biggest cult hits. He also sang lead vocals on Ted Nugent’s 1976 LP Free-For-All. During that stretch, Meat Loaf and Steinman started working on the album Bat Out Of Hell, a theatrical, maximalist hard-rock concept LP. Todd Rundgren produced the LP, and members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band played on it, but it took years before Meat Loaf and Steinman found a label willing to release the album. Finally, in 1977, Bat Out Of Hell came out on the tiny Cleveland International label. The record became an insane runaway hit, selling tens of millions of copies and establishing a new benchmark for blown-out rock ‘n’ roll drama.

Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman split from one another shortly thereafter, getting into legal disputes. While Steinman thrived in the early ’80s, writing and producing hits for people like Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply, Meat Loaf’s career suffered. His albums, recorded with collaborators like future Milli Vanilli mastermind Frank Farian, stiffed, and drug use wore down his voice. Finally, in 1990, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman reunited, getting to work on their follow-up opus Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. That LP came out in 1993 and became another smash. The single “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” became Meat Loaf’s only #1 hit, and its absurdly over-the-top Michael Bay-directed video ran constantly on MTV.

Meat Loaf kept acting in the ’90s, taking supporting roles in films like Wayne’s World and Fight Club. He also kept recording, working with people like Diane Warren and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but he never reached that level of success again. Meat Loaf and Steinman split apart once again and got into another legal battle while working on the 2006 album Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. Steinman and Meat Loaf still got back together to work on the 2016 album Braver Than We Are, which ended up being Meat Loaf’s last. Jim Steinman died last year.

Meat Loaf competed on The Celebrity Apprentice in 2011, and he went on to endorse that show’s host Donald Trump. This led to uncomfortable bits like the 2020 moment where Meat Loaf claimed that Greta Thunberg had “been brainwashed.” Last year, Meat Loaf was announced as an executive producer of a couples’ reality competition show called I’d Do Anything For Love… But I Won’t Do That. It hasn’t come out yet.

No official cause of death has been released, but TMZ reports that Meat Loaf cancelled a business dinner earlier this week after becoming seriously ill with COVID. He opposed the vaccine mandate, said that “masks are useless,” and once told an interviewer, “If I die, I die, but I”m not going to be controlled.”

Below, check out some of Meat Loaf’s work.

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