by HB Auld, Jr.
Rock and roll legend, Michael Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, died Thursday, January 20, 2022. The actor, singer, and theatrical legend was 74 years old. No cause of death was officially announced, but one news outlet listed complications of COVID as the cause. Meat Loaf’s wife of 15 years, Deborah Gillespie, was at his side when he passed away.
Born Marvin Lee Aday, he changed his first name to Michael, but was always known to his music and movie audience as Meat Loaf, a nickname he acquired as a high school football player when he stepped on the coach’s foot. However, he also said he lied about other sources for the moniker, devising a new “story” every time someone asked him how he received the nickname. Another story was that his father told the nurse in the hospital to put “Meat” on his crib because even at four days old, he was still “…red like a hunk of meat.” One story he never changed was why he changed his name from “Marvin” to Michael. In the first grade, he was overweight and had trouble finding pants that fit. A Levi’s commercial came out that said, “…poor fat Marvin can’t wear Levi’s….” (although it had nothing to do with him). The kids teased him so mercilessly that he legally changed his first name to Michael in 1984 at the age of 37.
The versatile artist starred in the movie Fight Club and reprised his stage role of Eddie in the rock classic movie: Rocky Horror Show. He met his long-time song-writing partner, Jim Steinman, in the mid-1970s. Steinman had started writing a rock opera based on the story of Peter Pan when Meat Loaf joined him. That rock opera eventually became Bat Our of Hell, Meat Loaf’s first international rock hit.
Meat Loaf released such hits as Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, I’d Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That), It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (with Marion Raven) Bat Out of Hell II and III, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and so many, many more.
He and close friend Steinman did have some disagreements over the years because Steinman, the moving creative force behind the duo, felt left out of all the attention Meat Loaf was receiving. His friend, composer Jim Steinman, passed away April 19, 2021. At the time of Steinman’s death, Meat Loaf said he believed that he, too, would soon follow his friend and would not last a year. His prediction was right. Meat Loaf died just nine months later: January 20, 2022.
Meat Loaf: a rock music and theatrical legend — dead at the age of 74.