Meat Loaf, larger than life rock legend, has died at the age of 74

Tributes have been paid to the singer.

The US singer and actor Meat Loaf has died.

Born Marvin Lee Aday, passed away on 20 January 2022, with his wife Deborah by his side. He was 74.

His family have issued this statement:

“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,”

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

Born in Dallas on September 27, 1947, Meat Loaf moved to Los Angeles after his mother’s death in 1965 to make it in showbusiness, forming his first band - Meat Loaf Soul – after a nickname coined by his football coach because of his weight. Despite being offered record contracts immediately, he turned those all down in favour of focusing more on his music, and after several iterations of line-up and band name, supported acts such as The Who, Janis Joplin and the Stooges, before he was asked to join the cast of the musical Hair.

MORE: All of Meat Loaf's hit songs and albums in the UK

As a result of his versatility, he landed a record deal with Motown with castmate Shaun ‘Stoney’ Murphy, resulting in his first hit single, What You See Is What You Get, in the Billboard charts in 1971.

Meat Loaf was concurrently working on both a music and acting career, appearing in off-Broadway productions, and it was his role in the original Los Angeles Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1973, which led to him also appearing in the film version that would significantly raise his profile. Also at this time Meat Loaf began work with his music partner, the late legendary songwriter/ producer Jim Steinman who passed away in 2021, age 73. The songs became Bat Out Of Hell - one of the UK's best-selling albums of all time. 

As Meat Loaf said of Bat Out of Hell in 2017, “Some people don’t like it. They’re afraid of themselves, and that’s the honest truth. If someone listens to Bat Out Of Hell the album and they say ‘I don’t like this’, it’s because they’re afraid of discovering who they really are. When it came out, it was in its own universe. There was nothing else like it. It didn’t fit, but now it kinda fits everywhere, because people allow it to.”

Read more: Our 2016 interview with Meat Loaf: "People who don't like Bat Out Of Hell are afraid of discovering who they really are!"

Released in 1977, Bat Out Of Hell only ever reaching Number 9, but the ultimate slow burner spent 522 weeks (over ten years!) in the Official Albums Chart and has gone on to become one of the Top 20 best-selling albums of all time in the UK, selling just shy of 3.4 million copies. Meat Loaf also scored two Number 1 albums (1981’s Dead Ringer and 1993’s Bat Out Of Hell II – Back Into Hell). Over on the Official Singles Chart, Meat Loaf reached Number 1 with I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), which became the UK's best-selling single of 1993.

The singer's power ballad was a true phenomenon, topping the charts in 28 countries, including the UK's Official Chart, where it spent seven weeks at Number 1 and sold 723,000 copies that year, according to Official Charts Company data. His most recent album, Braver Than We Are, was a Top 5 success in 2016.