Meat Loaf obituary | Meat Loaf

If all he had ever executed was document the album Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf, who has died aged 74, would nonetheless be assured his personal plinth within the museum of rock’n’roll. Launched in Britain in early 1978, the album might need been conceived because the antidote to punk rock, which had been wreaking havoc on the music business. The unlikely-looking determine of Meat Loaf stood on the centre of a bombastic maelstrom of sound, an operatic mix of heavy rock, fantasy lyrics, a choir of backing vocalists and lengthy, multipart songs. It was rock’n’roll redesigned as gothic film and Broadway spectacle.

Meat Loaf had met the songwriter Jim Steinman, his collaborator on Bat Out of Hell, when he auditioned efficiently for Steinman’s musical Extra Than You Deserve in New York in 1973. The pair labored on the Bat Out of Hell materials for a number of years and had been rejected by quite a few document firms earlier than the album appeared on Cleveland Worldwide label, distributed by Epic Information. The album reminded many listeners of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, and its producer, Todd Rundgren, initially thought that Steinman and Meat Loaf had been intentionally parodying Springsteen.

Gross sales of the document obtained off to a sluggish begin – it took the airing of a three-song video on the BBC’s Previous Gray Whistle Take a look at to kick it off in Britain – however the album become a slow-burning phenomenon, changing into an nearly everlasting fixture on charts world wide on its technique to promoting 43m copies. In Britain, it has spent greater than 500 weeks on the album chart.

Meat Loaf, right, with the songwriter Jim Steinman in 1978, the year they released their multimillion-selling album Bat Out of Hell.
Meat Loaf, proper, with the songwriter Jim Steinman in 1978, the 12 months they launched their multimillion-selling album Bat Out of Hell. {Photograph}: Michael Putland/Getty Photos

Although Meat Loaf loved a follow-up hit in 1981 with the album Useless Ringer (one other collaboration with Steinman and a UK chart-topper), he then suffered declining gross sales till he made lightning strike a second time by reuniting with Steinman for Bat Out of Hell II: Again Into Hell (1993), which topped the charts within the US, the UK and a number of other different international locations, with gross sales of 20m. He accomplished the trilogy with Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Unfastened (2006), though that managed to promote solely a few million copies.


Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas. His father, Orvis Aday, was a police officer, and his mom, Wilma (nee Artie), a schoolteacher and gospel singer with the Vo-di-o-do Women quartet. Orvis was a infamous drunk, and Wilma would generally go away Marvin along with her mom for security when her husband had been ingesting.

After Thomas Jefferson highschool and a stint at Lubbock Christian faculty, Marvin enrolled at North Texas State College. A eager soccer participant, he acquired his nickname after an impatient soccer coach yelled “hey, meatloaf!” at him.

When he was 20, a violent confrontation together with his father prompted him to depart Dallas. “He got here dwelling drunk and tried to kill me with a butcher’s knife,” Meat Loaf instructed a BBC documentary in 2015. He caught a flight to Los Angeles, the place he aimed to make a profession in present enterprise. He put a band collectively, known as Meat Loaf Soul, who performed their first gig in Huntington Seashore as opening act to Van Morrison’s band Them.

The band went by a number of totally different lineups and names – they turned Popcorn Blizzard after which Floating Circus – and within the means of constructing an area following opened reveals for quite a few massive names together with The Who, Iggy and the Stooges, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Useless. When Popcorn Blizzard recorded a single known as As soon as Upon a Time, Meat Loaf’s voice was so loud that the microphone needed to be positioned on the other aspect of the studio from the singer.

Floating Circus cut up up in late 1968 and Meat Loaf returned to LA. He was working as a parking lot attendant when a stranger recommended he audition for the stage musical Hair. That led to him spending six months within the Detroit manufacturing of the present. Because the manufacturing got here to an in depth, Loaf and a fellow solid member, Shaun “Stoney” Murphy, had been requested to document a duet album for Motown, known as Stoney and Meatloaf, and so they toured with Jake Wade and the Soul Searchers in help of it.

Meat Loaf as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975.
Meat Loaf as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Image Present, 1975. {Photograph}: Cine Textual content/Allstar/Sportsphoto

After the tour Meat Loaf joined the Broadway manufacturing of Hair, and in the course of the run he auditioned for Steinman’s Extra Than You Deserve. Their Bat Out of Hell challenge would develop out of songs that Steinman wrote for one more projected musical, Neverland (a model of the Peter Pan story). Within the meantime, Meat Loaf appeared in The Rocky Horror Present and the next film The Rocky Horror Image Present (1975), and was additionally recruited to The Nationwide Lampoon Present on Broadway as understudy to John Belushi. It was after the Lampoon present ended that Meat Loaf and Steinman centered all their energies on Bat Out of Hell.

The document’s huge success was not all plain crusing for Meat Loaf. He and Steinman shaped the Neverland Specific band to play the fabric on tour, however in Canada he broke a leg when he fell off the stage. Depressed and unable to carry out, he suffered a nervous breakdown and began utilizing cocaine.

“I used to be an indignant, violent man who was uncontrolled,” he later admitted to the Los Angeles Occasions. “I didn’t know cope with being in style.” He additionally misplaced his voice, prompting Steinman to show the proposed follow-up album, Dangerous for Good, into his personal solo album. The singer recovered and made Useless Ringer, which comprised eight Steinman songs and delivered a No 5 UK hit with Dead Ringer for Love, a duet with Cher.

Meat Loaf had a falling-out with Steinman, who felt he had not obtained sufficient credit score for the success, and likewise turned embroiled in litigation together with his former supervisor. He later instructed the Guardian he had “45 lawsuits totalling $80m thrown at me”, and was compelled to declare chapter.

In 1983 Meat Loaf launched Midnight on the Misplaced and Discovered, comprising his personal materials and that of quite a lot of songwriters, though not Steinman. The disc was a essential failure and offered poorly. Two follow-ups, Dangerous Angle (1984) and Blind Earlier than I Cease (1986), had been equally disappointing, and he was compelled to rebuild his profession by performing to smaller audiences, enjoying within the US, Europe and the Center East, and progressively working his means again to arenas and stadiums.

Meat Loaf in 1993, after the success of his comeback album Bat Out of Hell II.
Meat Loaf in 1993, after the success of his comeback album Bat Out of Hell II. {Photograph}: Rex Options

By 1990 the seemingly inconceivable occurred, and Meat Loaf and Steinman started collaborating once more on what would develop into Bat Out of Hell II. Bat II offered much more rapidly than its predecessor, shifting 10m copies in three months and delivering a monster worldwide chart-topper with I’d Do Something for Love (However I Gained’t Do That), boosted by a lavish Magnificence-and-the-Beast-themed video. In 1994 the music gained Meat Loaf a Grammy for finest male rock vocal efficiency. He promoted the album with a theatrical Broadway-style tour, and his standing was now sufficiently restored to earn him a visitor spot in Luciano Pavarotti’s all-star profit live performance for Bosnian youngsters in Italy in 1995.

His final studio album of the 90s was Welcome to the Neighbourhood (1995), which went platinum in Britain and the US, and yielded the hit singles I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Reality) and Not a Dry Eye within the Home, each written by Diane Warren.


In his autobiography, To Hell and Again (1999), Meat Loaf recounted tales about dragging his hard-drinking father out of squalid bars, being at Parkland hospital in Dallas in 1963 when the mortally injured President John F Kennedy was introduced in, and as soon as choosing up a hitchhiker named Charles Manson. He commented that “folks in Texas … love tales, and one of the best tales naturally have some weird side to them”. The next 12 months the e book was become the TV film Meat Loaf: To Hell and Again. This starred W Earl Brown because the singer; Meat Loaf’s teenage daughter, Amanda Aday, had a small position as a grocery clerk.

It was not till 2003 that he launched a brand new album, the modestly promoting Couldn’t Have Mentioned It Higher, although by the 90s and into the brand new century Meat Loaf had undertaken a string of appearing roles in motion pictures together with Spiceworld: The Film (1997), Loopy in Alabama (1999), Struggle Membership (1999), The 51st State (2001) and Tenacious D within the Choose of Future (2006). He additionally made appearances on TV collection together with Home, Monk and Glee. The Bat Out of Hell musical opened in 2017 in London and obtained the Night Customary finest musical award.

Meat Loaf and his wife, Deborah Gillespie.
Meat Loaf together with his spouse, Deborah Gillespie. {Photograph}: Ian West/PA

Comply with-up albums to Bat Out of Hell II offered in a downward trajectory. Braver Than We Are (2016) was his final collaboration with Steinman, who wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs, and was extra a rehashing of previous glories than a brand new musical departure. It reached No 4 on the UK chart and 31 within the US.

A collapse on stage in 2003 led to a prognosis of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. He collapsed once more throughout a 2016 efficiency.

In 2001, he modified his actual identify from Marvin to Michael. The identical 12 months his first marriage, to Leslie Edmonds, resulted in divorce.

He’s survived by his second spouse, Deborah Gillespie, whom he married in 2007, and his daughter, Amanda, and stepdaughter, Pearl, each from his first marriage.

Meat Loaf (Michael, beforehand Marvin, Lee Aday), singer and actor, born 27 September 1947; died 20 January 2022

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