Who Was Meat Loaf?
Meat Loaf struck gold and later platinum with his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, which featured the hits "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad." As a character actor Meat Loaf has appeared in such films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wayne's World and Fight Club.
Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947, in Dallas, Texas. The son of Orvis Aday, a police officer, and his wife, Wilma, Meat Loaf (it's never been clear as to how he got the nickname) had a difficult childhood. His father was a well-known drinker, and it wasn't uncommon that his binges left Wilma placing her son in the care of her mother.
These troubled stretches, however, did little to dampen Meat Loaf's ambition. After high school he eventually enrolled at North Texas State University (now called the University of North Texas).
Ignoring his draft notice (he'd intentionally gained 60 pounds in an unsuccessful effort to fail his physical), Meat Loaf left Texas and school in 1967 for a new life in Los Angeles. There, he found work as a bouncer and started his first band, Meat Loaf Soul.
After several lineup changes and name alterations, the band split up. Greater success was found in the theater, where Meat Loaf landed a part in a new stage musical called Hair. His run with the production eventually led him to Broadway and earned the young performer some important name recognition.
From there, Meat Loaf successfully auditioned for the roles of Eddie and Dr. Scott in the stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1975 Meat Loaf followed the show to the big screen and co-starred with Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry and Barry Bostwick. Surprising everyone, the film became a giant success and would go on to gross more than $112 million in ticket sales over the next three-plus decades.
Commercial Success: 'Bat Out of Hell'
Around the time Meat Loaf was filming The Rocky Horror Picture Show, he also returned to the studio and began recording what would become his landmark album, the rock opera Bat Out of Hell (1977). Produced by famed rocker Todd Rundgren, and collaborating with songwriter Jim Steinman, who authored all of the album's songs, Meat Loaf churned out a record that mixed heartache ("Two Out of Three Ain't Bad") and teenage sexuality ("Paradise by the Dashboard Light").
The album has since gone on to sell more than 34 million copies worldwide and made Meat Loaf a multi-platinum star.
But with success came setbacks. A rift developed between Meat Loaf and Steinman, with the writer voicing his frustration over his lack of credit for the album's success. Then at a show in Ottawa, Canada, Meat Loaf broke his leg, doing subsequent shows in a wheelchair. Steinman went his own way and recorded his own album, Bad for Good (1981).
The compounding situations propelled Meat Loaf into a drug habit. Meat Loaf's second album, Dead Ringer (1981), proved to be a disappointment, further adding to his problems. Facing lawsuits, including one filed by Steinman, and poor money management, Meat Loaf filed for bankruptcy in 1983.
For the next several years Meat Loaf continued to churn out music, including albums like Bad Attitude (1985) and Blind Before I Stop (1986) to mixed results. But the hardworking singer continued to tour.
In 1993 Meat Loaf turned things around with Bat Out of Hell II, a monster hit that was the product of a renewed partnership with Steinman. Anchored by the popular single "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," the album went on to sell more than 15 million copies.
More tours and more albums followed, including Bat Out of Hell III (2006). In addition, Meat Loaf again showed his talents as an actor, with appearances in Wayne's World (1992) and Fight Club (1999).
In 2010 he recorded his 11th studio album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, followed in 2011 by Hell in a Handbasket. Collaborating with Steinman once again, the singer plans on releasing his upcoming album Brave and Crazy in September 2016.
In 2003, Meat Loaf suffered a health scare when he collapsed onstage in London. Doctors later diagnosed him with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes an irregular heartbeat.
In June 2016, Meat Loaf experienced another collapse on stage, this time during a concert in Edmonton, Canada. According to his spokesman, the singer is recovering well and had collapsed due to dehydration.
Meat Loaf died on January 20, 2022 at the age of 74.
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