Meat Loaf Has Died At 74
This is surely not the news anyone wanted to read as they head into the weekend or any day for that matter. It’s also a sobering reminder that this pandemic is still out there happening in a bad way, and continues to be ground zero for sadness. Marvin Lee Aday, but known to everyone forever as Meat Loaf, died yesterday at the age of 74 after becoming seriously ill.
TMZ says that Meat Loaf’s manager confirmed the news, and TMZ added that Meat Loaf was scheduled to attend a business dinner earlier this week for a show he was working on, called I’d Do Anything For Love, but the dinner was canceled once he became sick with COVID-19. Sources say that his condition got worse, very quickly, and he died on Thursday evening. It’s not known for sure if the official cause of death is COVID at this time. TMZ also notes that it was not known if Meat Loaf was vaccinated, but he was an outspoken opponent of vaccine mandates (and climate change), which adds an extra layer of gloom to this news.
The following statement was released by his manager upon the news of Meat Loaf’s death yesterday. via Billboard:
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight. 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!”
His manager told press outlets that Meat Loaf’s wife of fourteen years Deborah Gillespie, and his two daughters Pearl and Amanda, were by his side as he passed.
Meat Loaf was born in Dallas, Texas in the late 40s and the Meat Loaf we came to know was sort of born when he was in high school. He participated in musicals like Where’s Charley? and The Music Man, which likely inspired the operatic and theatrical part of his rock persona. And his nickname, M.L. (for Marvin Lee) evolved into Meat Loaf after he gained some weight while playing high school football. After high school Meat Loaf formed a band and was offered several recording contracts, which he turned down, and continued to do musical theater, like appearing in a Los Angeles production of Hair, then later joining the Broadway production as well. His big, huge break combined both the rock version of Meat Loaf and the musical theater when he was cast in the original Los Angeles cast of The Rocky Horror Show, which was turned into the massive cult movie we all know, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where he played Eddie the ex-delivery boy. From there, Meat Loaf dominated the 70s and early 80s.
He released his album Bat Out of Hell in 1972, an album that is near perfect, but had a cover that scared the absolute shit out of me, and probably many others, as a kid. Bat Out of Hell spent so much time on the Billboard charts, and sold 43 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. The only album that has spent more weeks on the UK Albums chart is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. It spawned the singles “Bat Out of Hell” and “Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” which absolutely kills at karaoke if you can pull it off.
Meat Loaf continued to release albums, but you’re not a kid of the 90s unless you immediately think of Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which was released in 1993 (and again, scared the fuck out of everyone with that album cover). You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” It was huge. Michael Bay directed the Beauty and the Beast-inspired music video, and the song won the 1994 Grammy for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.
But he continued to act, and in the 90s and well into the 2000s we saw Meat Loaf in a whole bunch of acting projects, like Wayne’s World, House M.D., Monk, Glee, and was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live twice. Probably his most famous and high-profile film appearance was in Fight Club. But because I’m a millennial with a chronic case of Girl Power spirit, naturally my favorite appearance by Meat Loaf is his riveting portrayal as Dennis the tour bus driver for the Spice Girls in the critically underappreciated 1997 film Spice World. So I’ll end with that, but also with “Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” because that song rules.
Rest in Power, Meat Loaf and his iconic turn in Spice World. pic.twitter.com/UmSu6z4aht
— Hollis Jane Andrews (@hollis_jane) January 21, 2022