The musician, born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas in 1947, died on 20 January with his wife, Deborah, by his side. “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,” Meat Loaf’s family said in a statement. “From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”
Written and produced by Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell is among the bestselling albums in history, with an estimated 43 million global sales, of which 14m were in the US alone, per the RIAA. Its singles “Two of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — which peaked at No. 11 and No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively — both were certified platinum in 2018.
The latter song, a duet with Ellen Foley (known for her own albums such as Night Out, and starring roles in such shows as Season 1 of Night Court) famously features longtime New York Yankees announcer “calling the action” as the teenage narrator makes a move on his girlfriend. Watch the video for the song below, with Karla DeVito lip-synching the “Stop right there!” role. She then went on tour with Meat Loaf to support the album, which spent 522 weeks — 10 years — on the UK album chart.
Meat Loaf and Steinman also collaborated on the 1993 album Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which has sold more than five million units in the US alone. Its platinum lead single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” spent five weeks at No.1 in late 1993, by far his biggest hit. It also topped the UK chart and won Meat Loaf the Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Solo. Steinman died last year.
Meat Loaf has sold more 100 million albums worldwide. His 1980s LPs Dead Ringer and Bad Attitude sold moderately stateside, but 1995’s Welcome to the Neighborhood made the Top 20 and went platinum. He taped an episode of VH1’s Storytellers that was released as an album in 1999.
Prior to cutting Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf’s early endeavors included a role in the late 1960s Los Angeles production of Hair. That led to a perhaps incongruous deal with Motown for the singer as a duo act with his female co-actor, Shaun “Stoney” Murphy. Recording as Stoney & Meatloaf (one word) for Motown’s Rare Earth label, they reached No.71 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the early summer of 1971 with “What You See Is What You Get,” following it with the Stoney & Meatloaf album, which also enjoyed success in the Netherlands.
Meat Loaf’s name became more widely known via The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The singer all but stole the 1975 film version of the stage musical as Eddie, a wild and wildly unlucky ex-delivery boy who belts out the hard-rocking “Hot Patootie” before meeting a difficult end. The movie, which also starred Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry, has become an all-time cult classic. Its soundtrack also hit the Top 50 and is certified gold. Meat Loaf also played the Eddie role onstage.
Meat Loaf was the musical guest on a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live, on which he played Bat Out of Hell’s “All Revved Up and Nowhere to Go” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” Later, he often hosted the turn-of-the-century music series The List on VH1. His many other screen credits include the features Roadie, Motorama, Crazy in Alabama, Leap of Faith and Americathon. He also appeared in several episodes of the 2017-18 series Ghost Wars.
In 2021, Meat Loaf sealed a deal to develop a relationship competition series based on “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” He was executive producer on the project and was set to appear as, per the logline, the ethereal figure behind the madness who would pull the strings in the show. Couples were to compete in a variety of comedic physical games designed to reveal how well they can work together and how much they really trust and believe in each other – all to a soundtrack of classic hits, performed live in studio by the original artists as well as new stars.