Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell Singer And The Rocky Horror Picture Show Actor, Dies At 74

Michael Lee Aday, the singer and actor professionally known as Meat Loaf, has died. He was  74 years old. The award-winning rocker also appeared in the blockbuster Saturday Night Live spinoff film Wayne's World and the 1999 cult classic Fight Club. No cause of death was given, although his family was apparently with him for the day leading up to his passing. His over-the-top style of rock not only lent itself to great stage performances, but gave him a chance to shine on Broadway in the musical Hair. In addition to appearing in the film version, Meat Loaf was part of the original Broadway cast of The Rocky Horror Show

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas, in 1947. His mother was a member of a gospel quartet, and his father was a World War II veteran and police officer whose alcoholism became a staple of Meat Loaf's stories about his childhood. The name "Meat Loaf" apparently came from a football coach who was critical of his weight, but it stuck: his first band, formed shortly after he graduated high school, was called Meat Loaf Soul.

He would go on to become a global popular music icon, selling over 80 million albums worldwide and appearing in more than 60 films and TV shows. 

"Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side," the singer's verified Facebook page said in a statement. "Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours." 

Meat Loaf has undergone a number of back surgeries in recent years, which he said in a recent Facebook post had made it difficult to perform. In November, though, he said that he would be back in the studio soon. 

"The back surgeries hurt everything," Meat Loaf wrote at the time. "Before the back surgeries I was still trying to do shows, that's when some of you saw or heard of me collapsing on stage and finally stopping the tour in the UK. I couldn't hit high notes because of back pain. Not a slight back pain. Pain that would bring you to your knees."

The star's Bat Out of Hell album is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and the numbers for its follow-ups, Bat Out of Hell II: Back To Hell and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose, combine with the original to account for more than 65 million units sold. He won a Grammy for the song "I'd Do Anything For Love," and the track "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" became a pop culture staple.

In 2001, "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" was a key needle drop in Josie and the Pussycats, the comic book adaptation that has gone on to become a cult classic. According to the filmmakers, it was an obvious choice.

"It always had to be 'Paradise By the Dashboard Light' for me," director Deborah Kaplan told me in 2021. "Weirdly, I own two copies of Bat Out of Hell on vinyl."

Our thoughts are with Meat Loaf's family, friends, collaborators, and fans during this difficul time.