Meat Loaf’s hell-raising ride to musical stardom

Rejected by every major label, Bat Out Of Hell was released in 1977 to huge international success and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Helen Pye
Friday 21 January 2022 09:21
Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74 (Steve Parsons/PA)
Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Meat Loaf shot to worldwide fame in 1977 with Bat Out Of Hell, which became an international success that reigns as one of the best-selling albums in history.

The American singer, born Michael Lee Aday in Texas in 1947, has died aged 74 with his wife Deborah at his side.

During a career spanning more than six decades, he sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and starred in more than 65 movies.

Meat Loaf initially made his name in theatre productions, including a Broadway run of Hair, and then found his feet in the stage and film versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, playing Eddie, the ex-delivery man and partial brain donor to Rocky.

At the same time, he began Bat Out Of Hell – which featured the eponymous classic Paradise By The Dashboard Light and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad – with composer Jim Steinman.

Although rejected by every major label, it was released in 1977 to huge international success.

His follow-ups failed to set fans alight until he made a blazing comeback with Bat Out Of Hell’s sequel 16 years later in 1993.

Lead single I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) reached number one in 28 countries and earned him a Grammy award.

He followed up with 1995’s Welcome To The Neighbourhood, which went platinum in the UK and US, and his third Bat Out Of Hell album, The Monster Is Loose, in 2006.

The Bat Out Of Hell trilogy was also adapted in to a stage musical, which was written by Steinman and featured some of the musician’s best-loved hits.

The singer was brought on stage on a stretcher during a concert in Dublin, shortly after he collapsed on stage while performing in London due to heart problems (Haydn West/PA)

Meat Loaf was plagued by health issues, including asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011.

He suffered from a medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White, which causes an irregular heartbeat, and underwent surgery in 2003 in London

Meat Loaf reunited with Steinman for the fourth time for his last studio album Braver Than We Are, which was released in 2016 and reached fourth place in the UK album charts.

Around his music career, he continued to act, most notably as Robert “Bob” Paulson in David Fincher’s Fight Club in 1999 and with a cameo in the Spice Girls’ Spice World film.

Meat Loaf has two daughters – TV actress Amanda Aday and adopted daughter Pearl – from his marriage to ex-wife Leslie.

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