If the true measure of a man’s greatness is the impact made on those left behind, then Meat Loaf made the most of his 74 years on planet Earth. The singer and actor also known as Marvin Lee Aday died yesterday of undisclosed causes at the age of 74.
While fans grabbed a friend, cued up “Paradise on the Dashboard Light” on vinyl, and staged eight-minute mini-operas in their living room, the Texas performers’ peers took to Twitter to express their grief. And gratitude.
Tellingly, they came from all corners of the music world.
Fucked Up singer Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham Tweeted from his Toronto home: “I saw Meatloaf live once and every song was 7 minutes plus. As a fat little kid, he was a hero to me.”
British post-punk no-waver Billy Nomates chimed in, beautifully, eloquently, and dead accurately with: “You wanna write opera rock n roll stories & perform them as pure theatre? youl be rejected by every record company in America and then become a complete orginal badass. I fuxkin love meatloaf. sad day. do exactly what you wanna do. and do it strange.”
Iconic BBC DJ Joanne Whiley added “God I loved Bat Out of Hell. Soundtrack to my youth. Sad news RIP Meatloaf. Extraordinary voice Phenomenonal character.”
And commercial-country shitkicker John Rich wrote. “My friend Meatloaf contributed more to the American music and theatrical scene than almost anyone you can name. He fought through a rough childhood and chased his dreams till the end. He was a miracle talent on many levels and a genius creator. An American original.”
Meat Loaf's death was announced earlier this morning by his family on Facebook.
While no cause of death has been given, TMZ is reporting that the singer fell ill at a business dinner earlier this week after displaying Covid symptoms. In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Meat Loaf railed on about everything from pandemic shutdowns to facemasks to how governments are using COVID-19 to control their citizens. While acknowledging that he was scared of the virus, he then went to say "If I die, I die, but I'm not going to be controlled." It's not known whether he was vaxxed.
Meat Loaf’s career spanned six decades, starting with the kind of debut juggernaut few artists find themselves able to live up to. His 1977 debut Bat Out of Hell didn’t gain traction overnight—that entirely predictable considering Meat Loaf and his chief collaborator Jim Steinman spent two years before its release opening rejection letters from record companies.
Finally catching fire on the back of the Steinman ballad “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”, the album went on to sell over 43 million copies and counting, making it one of the biggest of all time.
It also spawned the essential—and fantastically insane—“Paradise by the Dashboard Light”, which you really need to perform at karaoke with a friend before you die.
Over the course of his career Meat Loaf released 12 albums, the biggest being the Bat of Hell trilogy which included Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell and Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.
His biggest hit came nearly two decades after his breakthrough with 1993’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”.
While music was his main thing, Meat Loaf had a long career as an actor with roles in everything from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Fight Club. Because you want to know, his stage name came from a former football coach who dubbed him Meat Loaf during his younger and overweight years.
Now cue up “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. And don’t forget to go extra hard during “I couldn’t take it any longer Lord I was crazed/And when the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave/I started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave/That I would love you to the end of time”.