Meat Loaf, the larger-than-life singer whose 1977 record Bat Out of Hell is one of the best-selling albums of all time, has died at age 74.
“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,” his family said in a statement. “From his heart to your souls . . . don’t ever stop rocking!”
The singer, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, was born in Dallas in 1947.
His two biggest albums — 1977’s Bat Out of Hell and the 1993 follow-up Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell — produced numerous hit singles including “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “I’ll Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
He also won a Grammy in 1993 for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the song “I’d Do Anything for Love.”
Meat Loaf also appeared in several movies, including the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fight Club and Wayne’s World, and television shows like South Park and Glee.
The singer had spoken in the past of physical problems affecting his ability to perform. But in November 2021, he posted on Facebook that he’d be back in the studio in 2022, while noting that he’d had four back surgeries.
“The back surgeries hurt everything,” he wrote. “Before the back surgeries I was still trying to do shows, that’s when some of you saw or heard of me collapsing on stage and finally stopping the tour in the UK. I couldn’t hit high notes because of back pain. Not a slight back pain. Pain that would bring you to your knees.”
Bat Out of Hell, his mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren, came out in 1977 and made him one of the most recognizable performers in rock. Fans fell hard for the roaring vocals of the long-haired, 250-plus-pound singer and for the comic non-romance of the title track, “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” an operatic cautionary tale about going all the way. “Paradise” was a duet with Ellen Foley that featured play by play from then New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto.
After a slow start and mixed reviews, Bat Out of Hell became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies. Meat Loaf wasn’t a consistent hit maker, especially after falling out for years with Steinman. But he maintained close ties with his fans through his manic live shows, social media and his many TV, radio and film appearances.
Promo photo courtesy Sony.