Tribute to Meat Loaf

Published: 20/12/2022

Meat Loaf was a singer, songwriter and actor whose music and performances touched the hearts of millions. With his powerful voice and dynamic stage presence, Meat Loaf left a lasting impression on the music industry and will always be remembered as one of the greatest rock singers of all time.

Meatloaf performing in Perth.
Meatloaf performing in Perth.

Early life

Meat Loaf, whose actual name was Marvin Lee Aday, was born on 27 September 1947 in Dallas, Texas. The son of Orvis Wesley Aday, a police officer and Wilma Artie, a school teacher, Meat Loaf attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he enjoyed being a part of the school's theatre department.

Meat Loaf earned his iconic stage name due to his large size and an incident with his coach during his high school football days. According to Meat Loaf, his coach yelled "Get off my foot, you hunk of meatloaf" after he accidentally stood on his foot. This coupled with his family's ongoing comments about his size, he eventually just embraced the nickname.

After high school, Meat Loaf attended Lubbock Christian College and then North Texas State University, where he continued to enjoy studying theatre. In 1967, when Meat Loaf was 19, his mother died from cancer and his father being an abusive alcoholic, he decided to rent a place of his own in Dallas. It wasn't long before he jumped on a flight and flew to Los Angeles with the vision to start a new life.

Early career

In Los Angeles, Meat Loaf formed his first band, Meat Loaf Soul. The band's first gig was in Huntington Beach, California in 1968 at the Cave, where they opened for Van Morrison's band Them and Question Mark and the Mysterians. The band received several recording contracts and underwent several changes of lead guitarists - changing the name of the band each time, names which included Popcorn Blizzard and Floating Circus. As Floating Circus, they opened for the Who, The Fugs, The Stooges, MC5, Grateful Dead and The Grease Band. Meat Loaf later went on to join the Los Angeles musical production of Hair, which had great success.

1970s

Following the publicity generated from Hair, Meat Loaf was invited by Motown to record a vocal only album with Shaun 'Stoney' Murphy titled Stoney & Meatloaf. The album did well and the pair toured with Jake Wade and the Soul Searchers, opening for Richie Havens, The Who, The Stooges, Rare Earth, Alice Cooper and Bob Seger. Meat Loaf eventually left Motown after the label replaced his and Stoney's voice and moved to Freeland, Michigan.

In 1972, Meat Loaf was in the off-Broadway production of Rainbow in New York, rejoining the cast of Hair afterwards. During an audition for the Public Theater's production of More Than You Deserve, he met Jim Steinman and quickly formed a friendship.

The dream team: Meat Loaf (left) and Steinman in 1978.
The dream team: Meat Loaf (left) and Steinman in 1978.

In 1973, Meat Loaf was in the original cast of The Rocky Horror Show, playing the parts of Eddie and Dr. Everett Scott. The musical's success led to the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which Meat Loaf played the part of Eddie only.

At the same time, Meat Loaf and Steinman started to work together on Bat Out of Hell. Epic Records agreed to shoot four music videos for the songs: "Bat Out of Hell", "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". Meat Loaf also convinced the producer of Rocky Horror, Lou Adler, to run the "Paradise" video as the movie's trailer.

Meat Loaf and Steinman tried hard to seek a record deal for the album; however, because their songs didn't fit into a specific music style, they were continually rejected. Then Todd Rundgren stepped in, who under the notion they had a record deal in place, agreed to not only produce the album, but also play lead guitar.

They had no takers for the record until Steve Popovich's Cleveland International Records took a chance, releasing Bat Out of Hell in October 1977. Meat Loaf's big break, the album gained massive commercial success and has since become one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Who doesn’t love a good road trip anthem?
Who doesn’t love a good road trip anthem?

Meat Loaf and Steinman hit the road to support their hit album, Bat Out of Hell, forming the band Neverland Express. Their first stop was opening for Cheap Trick in Chicago and being musical guests on Saturday Night Live in 1978 meant their talents didn't go unnoticed. Breaking his leg during a performance in Ottawa, Ontario, Meat Loaf didn't let that stop him from finishing off the tour in a wheelchair.

1980s

With success taking a downturn in the US in the 1980s, due to his records receiving little airplay, Meat Loaf continued to see major chart success in Europe and Australia. In 1981, his single "Dead Ringer for Love" - a duet with Cher - was a top 10 hit in many countries outside the US, but unfortunately did not receive the same level of recognition within the US as American radio refused to play it.

Meat Loaf followed up the album to complete a Bat Out of Hell trilogy: Bat Out of Hell (1977), Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993), and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (2006) - all of which has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

 

 

Acting career

Meat Loaf had a successful acting career, with roles in films such as Roadie (1980), Out of Bounds (1986), The Squeeze (1987) with Michael Keaton and Focus (2001) with Laura Dern and William H. Macy, The 51st State (2001) with Samuel L. Jackson and Fight Club (1999) with Brad Pitt.

He also appeared in TV shows such as Lightning Force (1991), Glee (2009), Tales from the Crypt (1989), Dead Man's Gun (1997), Masters of Horror (2005), House M.D. (2004) and Ghost Wars (2017).

Death and legacy

Meat Loaf passed away on the 20th January 2022, aged 74. His sudden passing was a devastating loss for the music industry and tributes from around the world poured in. The Queen's Guard even performed a poignant rendition of one of Meat Loaf's greatest hits - "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)".

Many famous friends and musicians, including Cher and Imelda May, spoke of their grief and shared memories of working with the rock star, remembering him as a wildly talented, charismatic and all round wonderful man.

Meat Loaf plays the Vector Arena, Auckland.
Meat Loaf plays the Vector Arena, Auckland. Michael Craig

Piers Morgan called him one of rock music's all-time great characters and his music will continue to be remembered and celebrated as a testament to his enduring talent and legacy.

Meat Loaf will forever be remembered as one of the true rock stars of our time, a powerhouse performer with a warm gentle heart.

Rest in peace, Meat Loaf.

 

I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)

Some days it don't come easy

Some days it don't come hard

Some days it don't come at all

nd these are the days that never end

 

Some nights you're breathing fire

Some nights you're carved in ice

Some nights you're like nothing I've ever

Seen before or will again

 

Maybe I'm crazy, but it's crazy and it's true

I know you can save me, no-one else can save me now but you

 

As long as the wheels are turning

As long as the bays are burning

As long as your dreams are coming true

You'd better believe it

 

I would do anything for love

I know it's true and that's a fact

I would do anything for love

And there'll never be no turning back

 

By Kirsten Jakubenko

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_Loaf
  • https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001533/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  • https://www.hotpress.com/culture/bat-out-of-hell-singer-meat-loaf-has-died-aged-74- 2288...  
  • https://genius.com/Meat-loaf-id-do-anything-for-love-but-i-wont-do-that-lyrics 

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