Meat Loaf, 'Bat Out of Hell' Operatic Rocker, Dies at 74 of COVID-19
Meat Loaf, the larger-than-life rock star whose operatic-rock albums "Bat Out of Hell" and "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell" have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide, died Thursday at 74.
His official Facebook page made the sad announcement early Friday, saying in part, "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... 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."
The statement closed with, "From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!"
TMZ reports the singer, who had a history of poor health, became seriously sick with COVID-19 earlier this week.
In a volatile interview with DailyMail.com in 2019, he talked about his struggles with his weight, with asthma, bouts of dehydration, and "near-constant pain" from spinal surgery.
Born Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947, in Dallas, Meat Loaf legally changed his name to Michael in 1984 because a Levi's radio spot when he was a child featured a character described as "poor fat Marvin" and led to taunts.
In 1968, he founded a rock band called Meat Loaf Soul, so named because of his weight. The band went through lineup changes, but the name stuck and he found great success in the L.A. production of "Hair" and with an album he recorded with a fellow cast member, Shaun "Stoney" Murphy, which gave him his first chart hits.
While appearing in "Hair" on Broadway, he met Jim Steinman (who died in 2021), the composer and lyricist who would become his most important collaborator.
He worked with Steinman on the album "Bat Out of Hell" while starring in the original L.A. production of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and filming the 1975 movie, which went on to become arguably the biggest cult hit in movie history.
Upon its eventual release, in 1977, "Bat Out of Hell" became one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, moving over 40 million records internationally, spurred on by the singles "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," a duet with Ellen Foley, and by his one-of-a-kind live performances.
He crashed following its success, bogged down by substance abuse and a crippling fear of failing to follow it up memorably. He even lost his inimitable voice during this period, a devastating blow that led him, many years later, to send an empathetic message to singer Adele when she was battling issues with her own voice: "I understand."
Though he continued acting and recording, it wasn't until 1993's "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell" that he recaptured the magic. It sold over 15 million copies and spawned his only #1 hit single, "I'd Do Anything for Love (but I Won't Do That)," with Lorraine Crosby.
A third trip to the well, "Bat Out of Hell II: The Monster Is Loose," in 2006 was less successful.
Had So Much Fun With Meatloaf When We Did “Dead Ringer”. Am Very Sorry For His Family,Friends,& Fans. Am I imagining It, or Are Amazing Ppl In The Arts Dying every other Day⁉️ 😢
In all, the rocker released a dozen studio albums, embarked on 30 tours, and appeared in over 60 films, including "Roadie" (1980), "Dead Ringer" (1981), "Wayne's World" (1992), "Spice World" (1997), "The Mighty" (1998), "Crazy in Alabama" (1999) and "Fight Club" (1999).