Meat Loaf is an American hard rock musician and actor. He is noted for the Bat Out of Hell album trilogy consisting of Bat out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell 2: Back Into Hell, and Bat Out of Hell 3: The Monster is Loose. Bat Out of Hell has sold more than 43 million copies worldwide. He is also notable for his album Dead Ringer. After 35 years, it still sells an estimated 200,000 copies annually and stayed on the charts for over nine years, making it one of the best selling albums of all time. Some of his notable singles include "Bat Out of Hell," "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," and "Paradise By the Dashboard Light."
Meat Loaf has also appeared in over 50 movies and television shows, sometimes as himself or as characters resembling his stage persona. His most notable roles include Eddie in the American premiere of The Rocky Horror Show and The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Robert "Bob" Paulson in Fight Club.
Meat Loaf was born as Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947 in Dallas, Texas. He was the only child of Wilma Artie (née Hukel), a school teacher and a member of the Vo-di-o-do Girls gospel quartet, and Orvis Wesley Aday, a police officer. His father was an alcoholic who would go on drinking binges for days at a time. Aday and his mother would drive around to all the bars in Dallas, looking for Orvis to take him home. As a result, Aday often stayed with his grandmother, Charlsee Norrod.
In 1965, Aday graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, having already started his acting career via school productions such as Where's Charley? and The Music Man. After attending college at Lubbock Christian College, he transferred to North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas in Denton).
After Aday received his inheritance from his mother's death, he rented an apartment in Dallas and isolated himself for three and a half months. Eventually a friend found him. Aday bought a car and drove to California.
In Los Angeles, Aday formed his first band, "Meat Loaf Soul". During the recording of their first song, he hit a note so high that he managed to blow a fuse on the recording monitor. He was immediately offered three recording contracts, which he turned down. Meat Loaf Soul's first gig was in Hunington Beach at the Cave, opening for Them, Van Morrison's band. While performing their cover of the Howlin' Wolf song "Smokestack Lightning," the smoke machine they used made too much smoke and the club had to be cleared out. Later, the band was the opening act at Cal State Northridge for Renaissance, Janis Loplin, and Taj Mahal. The band then underwent several changes of lead guitar, changing the name of the band each time. The new names included Popcorn Blizzard and Floating Circus. As Floating Circus, they opened for The Who, The Fugs, The Stooges, MC5, Grateful Dead, and The Grease Band. Their regional success led them to release a single, "Once Upon a Time," backed with "Hello." Meat Loaf joined the Los Angeles production of Hair. During an interview with New Zealand radio station ZM, Meat Loaf stated that the biggest life struggle he had to overcome was not being taken seriously in the music industry. He compared his treatment to that of a "circus clown".
Stoney & MeatloafEdit
With the publicity generated from Hair, Meat Loaf was invited to record with Motown. They suggested he do a duet with Shaun "Stoney" Murphy, who had performed with him in Hair, to which he agreed. The Motown production team in charge of the album wrote and selected the songs while Meat Loaf and Stoney came in only to lay down their vocals. The album, titled Stoney & Meatloaf (Meatloaf being shown as one word), was completed in the summer of 1971 and released in September of that year. A single released in advance of the album, What You See Is What You Get, reached number thirty six on the R&B charts and seventy-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. To support their album, Meat Loaf and Stoney toured with Jake Wade and the Soul Searchers, opening up for Richie Havens, The Who, The Stooges, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, and Rare Earth. Meat Loaf left soon after Motown replaced his and Stoney's vocals from the one song he liked, "Who Is the Leader of the People?" with new vocals by Edwin Starr. The album has been re-released after Meat Loaf's success, with Stoney's vocals removed. Meat Loaf's version of "Who Is the Leader of the People?" was released, but the album failed.
More Than You Deserve Edit
After the tour, Meat Loaf rejoined the cast of Hair, this time on Broadway. After he hired an agent, he auditioned for the Public Theater's production of More Than You Deserve. It was during the audition that Meat Loaf first met his future collaborator Jim Steinman. He sang a former Stoney and Meatloaf favorite of his, "(I'd Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus" (On VH1 Storytellers, Meat Loaf shares his first introduction with Jim Steinman. Meat would revive Steinman's reaction to
his intimate audience, "Well, I think you're heavy as two Jesuses to be a matter of fact!"), and with that, got the part of Rabbit, a maniac that blows up his fellow soldiers so they can "go home". Also in the show were Ron Silver and Fred Gwynne. After it closed, he appeared in As You Like It with Raúl Juliá and Mary Beth Hurt.
He recorded a single of "More Than You Deserve" and had a cover of "In the Presence of the Lord" as its B-side. He was only able to save three copies of it because the record company would not allow its press release. With those three copies he released many rare CDs featuring the two songs. He later recorded it again (1981) in a slightly rougher voice.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Edit
Main articles: The Rocky Horror Show and The Rocky Horror Picture Show
During the winter of 1973, after returning from a short production of Rainbow in New York in Washington, D.C., Meat Loaf received a call asking him to be in The Rocky Horror Show playing the parts of Eddie and Dr. Everett Scott. The success of the play led to the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which Meat Loaf played only Eddie, a decision he said made the movie not as good as the play. About the same time, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman started work on Bat out of Hell. Meat Loaf convinced Epic Records to shoot videos for four songs, "Bat Out of Hell", "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", "You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth" and "Two out of Three Ain't Bad". He then convinced Lou Adler, the producer of Rocky Horror, to run the "Paradise" video as a trailer to the movie. Meat Loaf's final show in New York was Gower Champion's Rockabye Hamlet, a Hamlet musical. It closed two weeks into its initial run. Meat Loaf would later return occasionally to perform Hot Patootie for a special Rocky Horror reunion or convention and rarely at his own live shows (one performance of which was released in the 1996 Live Around the World CD set).
During his recording of the soundtrack for Rocky Horror, Meat Loaf recorded two more songs: "Stand by Me" (a Ben E. King cover), and "Clap Your Hands". They remained unreleased until 1984, when they appeared as B-sides to the "Nowhere Fast" single.
In 1976, Meat Loaf recorded lead vocals for Ted Nugent's Free-for-All album when regular Nugent lead vocalist Derek St. Holmes temporarily quit the band. Meat Loaf sang lead on five of the album's nine tracks.
Bat Out of Hell Edit
Meat Loaf and friend/songwriter Jim Steinman started Bat Out of Hell in 1972, but did not get serious about it until the end of 1974. Meat Loaf decided to leave theatre, and concentrate exclusively on music. Then, the National Lampoon Show opened on Broadway, and it needed an understudy for John Belushi, a close friend of Meat Loaf since 1972. It was at the Lampoon Show that Meat Loaf met Ellen Foley, the co-star who sang "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with him on the album Bat Out of Hell.
After the Lampoon show ended, Meat Loaf and Steinman spent time seeking a record deal. Their approaches were rejected by each record company, because their songs did not fit any specific recognized music industry style. Finally, they performed the songs for Todd Rundgren, who decided to produce the album, as well as play lead guitar on it (other members of Todd's band Utopia also lent their musical talents). They then shopped the record around, but still had no takers until Cleveland International Records decided to take a chance. In October 1977, Bat Out of Hell was finally released.
Meat Loaf and Steinman formed the band The Neverland Express to tour in support of Bat Out of Hell. Their first gig was opening for Cheap Trick in Chicago. He gained national exposure as musical guest on Saturday Night Live on March 25, 1978. Guest host Christopher Lee introduced him by saying, "And now ladies and gentlemen I would like you to meet Loaf. (pauses, looks dumbfounded) I beg your pardon, what? (he listens to the director's aside) Oh! Why...why I'm sorry, yes, of course...ah... Ladies and gentlemen, Meat Loaf!" The huge success of the album caused a rift to open up between Meat Loaf and Steinman: the group, named after Meat Loaf for ease of labeling, seemed to Steinman to sideline his work as creator, and Steinman started to resent the attention that his partner was getting.
During a show in Ottawa, Meat Loaf rolled off the stage and broke his leg. He toured with the broken leg, performing from a wheel chair. During this time, Meat Loaf began heavy use of cocaine, had a nervous breakdown and threatened to commit suicide by jumping off the ledge of a building in New York. In the middle of recording his second album, Bad for Good, Meat Loaf lost the ability to sing; it is unclear as to the exact cause – the tour was a punishing one, and the vocals are energy intensive. However, his doctors said that physically he was fine and that his problem was psychological. Nevertheless, Steinman decided to keep recording Bad for Good without Meat Loaf.
Bat Out of Hell has sold an estimated 43 million copies globally (15 million of those in the United States), making it one of the highest selling albums of all time. In the UK alone, its 2.1 million sales put it in 38th place. Despite peaking at No. 9 and spending only two weeks in the top ten in 1981, it has now clocked up 485 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, a figure bettered only by Rumours by Fleetwood Mac—522 weeks. In Australia, it knocked the Bee Gees off the number No. 1 spot and went on to become the biggest-selling Australian album of all time for several years. It is now second on the list. Bat Out of Hell is also one of only two albums that has never exited the Top 200 in the UK charts; this makes it the longest stay in any music chart in the world, although the published chart contains just 75 positions.
Awards and AccolodatesEdit
Although he enjoyed success with Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell and earned a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the song "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That). on the latter album, Meat Loaf experienced some initial difficulty establishing a steady career within his native US. However, he has retained iconic status and popularity in Europe, especially the UK, where he ranks 23rd for the number of weeks overall spent on the charts as of 2006. He ranked 96th on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock."
Stoney and Meat Loaf Edit
- Stoney & Meatloaf (album) (1971)
- Bat Out of Hell (1977)
- Dead Ringer (1981)
- Midnight at the Lost and Found (1983)
- Bad Attitude (1984)
- Blind Before I Stop (1986)
- Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993)
- Welcome to the Neighborhood (1995)
- Couldn't Have Said It Better (2003)
- Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose (2006)
- Hang Cool Teddy Bear (2011)
- Hell in a Handbasket (2012)
- Braver Than We Are (2015)