Meat Loaf: singer dead at 74, best songs including Bat Out of Hell, what was his real name - who was his wife?

Meat Loaf was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1970s (Photos: Getty)Meat Loaf was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1970s (Photos: Getty)
Meat Loaf was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1970s (Photos: Getty) | Getty

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‘Bat Out of Hell’ singer Meat Loaf has died aged 74, it has been announced

The singer Meat Loaf has died aged 74, a statement on the artist’s official Facebook page said.

The singer has sold millions of albums worldwide, with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

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The statement said: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.

“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.

“We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls… don’t ever stop rocking!”

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

Here is everything you need to know about him.

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Meat Loaf performing on stage in 1978. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Meat Loaf performing on stage in 1978. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Meat Loaf performing on stage in 1978. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Who was Meat Loaf?

Meat Loaf - whose real name was Michael Lee Aday - was born in Dallas in 1947 to a schoolteacher mother and a father who went into business selling a homemade cough remedy.

His father was also an alcoholic who would go on drinking binges for days at a time; Aday often accompanied his mother in driving around all the bars in Dallas to look for him.

Following his mother’s death, he rented an apartment and isolated himself for three and a half months until a friend found him, after which he used his inheritance to catch the next flight to Los Angeles.

Aday formed his first band in LA, and took on the name of Meat Loaf after a nickname coined by his football coach because of his weight.

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His band’s first gig was in Huntington Beach in 1968, opening for Van Morrison’s band Them. He was immediately offered three recording contracts, all of which he turned down.

Meat LoafMeat Loaf
Meat Loaf

The band would undergo several line-up changes, but opened for some major acts, including Janis Joplin, The Who, The Stooges, MC5, and Grateful Dead.

Their regional success led the band to release a single, before Meat Loaf joined the Los Angeles production of the musical Hair.

With the publicity generated from Hair, Meat Loaf and co-star Shaun "Stoney" Murphy were invited to record with Motown.

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The resulting album, released in 1971, saw the pair tour with acts like The Who, The Stooges and Alice Cooper.

Meat Loaf would continue to focus on theatre, and also played the role of Eddie in the 1975 musical film The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

When did he move to music?

Meat Loaf and collaborator Jim Steinman started work on Bat Out of Hell in 1972, but did not get serious about it until the end of 1974, when Meat Loaf decided to leave theatre and concentrate exclusively on music.

He would go on to enjoy a career spanning six decades that saw him sell over 100 million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus and Wayne’s World.

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Bat Out of Hell featured some of the musician’s best-loved hits and remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time - it was also adapted as a stage musical.

Hit 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.

His long music career saw him release more than 10 albums, with his final studio album, Braver Than We Are, released in 2012.

Some of his best performing songs in the UK include ‘Dead Ringer for Love’ with Cher, ‘I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth)’, ‘Not a Dry Eye in the House’, and ‘It's All Coming Back to Me Now’.

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In 2016 Meat Loaf was honoured with the Hero Award at the annual Q Awards music ceremony, which he dedicated to everyday heroes and called on people to “bring love back into this world”.

How did he die?

No cause of death has been released by his family or representatives, but Meat Loaf had spoken openly about health issues that had plagued him.

He notably had asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011, and suffered from a medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White, which causes an irregular heartbeat.

Following an on-stage collapse in Canada in 2016, a statement issued at the time said it had been down to “severe dehydration”.

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In 2003, he also collapsed at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital.

Meat Loaf pictured in 2013 (Photo: Getty)Meat Loaf pictured in 2013 (Photo: Getty)
Meat Loaf pictured in 2013 (Photo: Getty) | Getty Images

Who has paid tribute?

Stephen Fry has written a tribute to singer Meat Loaf, who has died at the age of 74.

The actor said in a tweet: “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf. Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century.”

Singer Cher said she had “so much fun” with Meat Loaf when she worked with him on his 1981 album Dead Ringer, and BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley also paid tribute, describing his voice as “extraordinary”.

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