He’s been gone a year now. But, since BUDDY wasn’t in production at the time, due the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought the one-year anniversary would be an ideal time to memorialize this Texas-size legend.
For a boy named Marvin coming of age as the husky-size son of a Dallas police officer in the tumultuous 60’s, life offered just enough angst to serve as a catapult to stardom. But the world only knew Marvin Lee Aday as “Meat Loaf – a name his father gave him because he looked like “nine pounds of ground chuck” at birth.
His father, Orvis Aday, was reportedly a hard-nosed alcoholic taskmaster; it was his mother, Wilma, a teacher and gospel singer, who offered a softer side to little Marvin. She nurtured his musical talent and proudly attended his productions at Thomas Jefferson High School.
After graduating in 1965, he attended Lubbock Christian University before transferring to Texas State University (now the University of North Texas). When he was 19, his mother died; he used his inheritance to fly to Los Angeles where he immediately began cooking up the recipe for the Meat Loaf we all came to love.
The year was 1967 and to prevent being drafted, he said he intentionally packed 60 extra pounds onto his six-foot frame. Having saved himself from the Vietnam War, he formed the band Meat Loaf Soul and booked his first gig in Huntington Beach, California at the Cave, opening for Van Morrison’s band Them.
From there, the big guy with the bigger voice just kept growing. After changing the band name to Floating Circus, they opened for The Who and the Grateful Dead. After releasing the single “Once Upon a Time,” Meat Loaf joined the Los Angeles production of the musical Hair.
Riding on the critically acclaimed “Hair-way” led to a Motown record deal with Shaun “Stoney” Murphy. “Stoney & Meatloaf” was released in 1971 and produced the single “What You See is What You Get,” which rose to 36 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart and 71 on the Billboard Hot 100.
His theatrically-trained powerful voice became the centerpiece of composer Jim Steinman’s discography. It was that stellar collaboration that drove the Bat Out of Hell trilogy to the top of the charts. 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) – has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. That first album – produced by Todd Rundgren – still sells an estimated 200,000 copies annually.
Meat Loaf earned the Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “I’d Do Anything for Love,” from the 1993 album. In 1994 he received the Brit Award in the United Kingdom for best-selling album and single. He still ranks 96th on VH1‘s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”
Aside from his theatre work on and off Broadway, Meat Loaf appeared in over fifty films and television shows. His film roles include Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and Robert Paulsen in Fight Club (1999).
A little-known Meat Loaf fact: In 1976, Meat Loaf recorded lead vocals for Ted Nugent‘s album Free-for-All when regular Nugent lead vocalist Derek St. Holmes temporarily quit the band. Meat Loaf sang lead on five of the album’s nine tracks.
In 1999 Meat Loaf published To Hell and Back: An Autobiography, written with coauthor David Dalton. It is available on Amazon.com.
As of his 2022 death, Bat Out of Hell had sold an estimated 43 million copies globally, including 15 million in the United States, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. In the United Kingdom alone, its 2.1 million sales put it in 38th place. Despite peaking at No. 9 and spending only two weeks in the top ten in 1981, it has now spent 485 weeks on the UK Albums Chart (May 2015), a figure bettered only by Rumours by Fleetwood Mac with 487 weeks.
In the years leading up to his death from COVID-19, Meat Loaf was plagued by back pain and had four surgeries to help alleviate it. “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,” he wrote on social media.
The Texas-size rock star was reportedly planning to attend a business dinner just days before his death to discuss a show he was working on, titled after his famous single, “I’d Do Anything For Love.” His wife, Deborah and daughters Pearl and Amanda were by his side as he passed. Perhaps they took comfort in knowing that he never did “do that.”