Meat Loaf death: Bat Out of Hell singer dies, aged 74

Singer and actor Marvin Lee Aday died with his wife Deborah by his side

Ellie Harrison
Friday 21 January 2022 08:00
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Meat Loaf performs ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ live

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Meat Loaf, the legendary singer of hits such as “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Dead Ringer for Love”, has died aged 74.

The Grammy winner, born Marvin Lee Aday, died on Thursday night (20 January). The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

A post on his official Facebook page read: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours...

“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. From his heart to your souls… don’t ever stop rocking!”

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The star – whose stage name Meat Loaf was inspired by a nickname coined by his football coach – was born in Dallas in 1947, the only child of Wilma Artie, a school teacher and member of the Vo-di-o-do Girls gospel quartet, and Orvis Wesley Aday, a former police officer who went into business selling a homemade cough remedy.

His career as a musician first began in the late Sixties when he formed his first band, Meat Loaf Soul. The group’s first show was supporting Van Morrison’s band Them.

Meat Loaf’s debut album, 1977’s Bat Out of Hell, written by Jim Steinman, is among the 35 best-selling albums in US history, having sold 14 million copies. The album continues to sell about 200,000 copies per year and has sold an estimated 43 million copies worldwide.

Its singles “Two Out 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, were both certified platinum in 2018.

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Meat Loaf went on to make two more records in the Bat Out of Hell trilogy: Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993) and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (2006).

In 1994, Meat Loaf won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo for “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, which topped the charts in 28 countries and spent seven weeks at No 1 in the British charts.

Lorraine Crosby, who sang on the single, recalled: “It was terrifying, intimidating and wonderful all at the same time.

“When you are thrust into a recording booth with Meat Loaf when you are a tiny little thing, it is quite a daunting prospect but we had incredible chemistry from the minute we met and the song turned out absolutely amazing.

“It was Meat Loaf‘s only No 1 so I think that will be the highlight of meeting him and recording with him.

“He’s been brilliant for me, Meat Loaf was a great guy. A big guy with a big heart.”

Known for his forceful vocals and theatrical performances, Meat Loaf released 12 albums in total, including 1981’s Dead Ringer, 2003’s Couldn’t Have Said it Better, and his what proved to be his final record, 2016’s Braver Than We Are.

The singer starred in dozens of movies during his six-decade career, most famously appearing in the 1975 film version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Eddie, a motorcycle-riding, eccentric and hapless ex-delivery boy who belts out the hit “Hot Patootie”.

The film, which also starred Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry, has become a cult classic.

Meat Loaf also appeared in the 1997 Spice Girls movie Spice World, as well as popular releases Fight Club and Wayne’s World.

Tributes for Meat Loaf have been pouring in from the world of entertainment, including from Cher, who shared the vocals on their 1981 top five hit “Dead Ringer for Love”.

She tweeted: “Had so much fun with Meat Loaf when we did ‘Dead Ringer.’ Am very sorry for his family, friends, and fans. Am I imagining it, or are amazing people in the arts dying every other day?”

Stephen Fry referenced one of his songs in his tribute. “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf,” he wrote.

“Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century. He had the quality of being simultaneously frightening and cuddly, which is rare and rather wonderful.”

Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, who released a compilation album with Meat Loaf in 1989 titled Heaven & Hell, wrote on Twitter: “I am shocked & saddened by the sudden death of Meat Loaf.

“He was, as you might imagine, a larger than life character with a voice & stage presence to match & is one of those rare people who truly was a one-off talent and personality. Rest In Peace.”

Queen’s Brian May said he is “completely gutted” that the singer “has left us”.

Alongside a picture of himself and Meat Loaf on Instagram, May wrote: “Remembering great times. Completely gutted that Meat Loaf has left us. Always full of madness, with the innocent sense of naughtiness of a 5-year old, Meat was forever young.

“I called him Mr Loaf, and he called me when he wanted some wacky guitar playing. We had so much fun so many times, and, just three months younger than me, he felt like a brother. Dear Meat, the world is mourning and will miss your fine and powerful presence for a very long time. RIP. Bri.”

Singer Boy George shared his own memories of Meat Loaf on Twitter, posting: “R.I.P Meatloaf. Love and prayers to all his family and close friends.

“He once turned me upside down in a Chinese Restaurant in St Johns Wood.”

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who was a close friend of Meat Loaf, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that his death was “crushing”.

He added: “He actually played with us on our Regent’s Park softball club and I did introduce one of his albums at a launch and also he, believe it or not, coached baseball in my hometown of Westport, Connecticut.

“So this is someone who I really was fond of personally and his life story was so extraordinary.

“This was a person who was a normal person, who became this world megastar. It’s not supposed to happen, but it did happen.”

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