Iconic rockstar Meat Loaf dies aged 74

Iconic rockstar Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74.

The Grammy winner died on Thursday night with his wife Deborah by his side, according to a statement on the singer’s official Facebook page.

The singer, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, was born in Dallas, Texas.

Atlanta – April 12: Singer/Songwriter Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday) performs at Symphony Hall in Atlanta Georgia April 12, 1978 (Photo By Rick Diamond/Getty Images) (Getty)

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side,” said a statement on the singer’s official Facebook page.

“Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.

“His amazing career spanned six decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World.

Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

“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’s two biggest albums — 1977’s Bat out of Hell and the 1993 follow-up Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell — produced numerous hit singles including Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad and I’ll Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Meat Loaf has also appeared in several films, including the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and television shows.

Bat Out Of Hell singer Meat Loaf. (Facebook)

No cause or other details were given, but Aday had numerous health scares over the years.

His death comes less than a year after his longtime collaborator Jim Steinman passed away.

Steinman composed Bat Out of Hell in 1977, and the pair went on to release Dead Ringer, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell and Braver Than We Are.

A native of Dallas, Aday was the son of a school teacher who raised him on her own after divorcing his alcoholic father, a police officer.

Aday was singing and acting in high school (Mick Jagger was an early favourite, so was Ethel Merman) and attended Lubbock Christian College and what is now the University of North Texas.

Among his more notable childhood memories: Seeing John F. Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas on November 22, 1963, then learning the president had been assassinated and driving to Parkland Hospital and watching a bloodied Jackie Kennedy step out of a car.

A file photo of Meat Life. (File)

He was still a teenager when his mother died and when he acquired the nickname Meat Loaf, the alleged origins of which range from his weight to a favourite recipe of his mother’s.

He left for Los Angeles after college and was soon fronting the band Meat Loaf Soul.

For years, he alternated between music and the stage, recording briefly for Motown, opening for such acts as the Who and the Grateful Dead and appearing in the Broadway production of Hair.

By the mid-1970s, he was playing the lobotomised biker Eddie in the theatre and film versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, had served as an understudy for his friend John Belushi for the stage production of National Lampoon and had begun working with Steinman on Bat Out of Hell.

The dense, pounding production was openly influenced by Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen, whose bandmates Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg played on the record.

Bat Out of Hell producer Todd Rundgren initially thought of the album as a parody of Springsteen’s grandiose style.

Meat Loaf during a live concert performance as part of the ‘Bat Out of Hell’ tour, at Hammersmith Odeon in Hammersmith, London, in June 1978. (Redferns)

Steinman had known Meat Loaf since the singer appeared in his 1973 musical More Than You Deserve and some of the songs on Bat Out of Hell, including All Revved Up With No Place to Go, were initially written for a planned stage show based on the story of Peter Pan.

Bat Out of Hell took more than two years to find a taker as numerous record executives turned it down, including RCA’s Clive Davis, who disparaged Steinman’s songs and acknowledged that he had misjudged the singer: “The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf, despite a powerful voice, just didn’t look like a star,” Davis wrote in his memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life.

With the help of another Springsteen sideman, Steve Van Zandt, Bat Out of Hell was acquired by Cleveland International, a subsidiary of Epic Records.

Meat Loaf performs at a concert in New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18 in 2007.
Meat Loaf performs at a concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18 in 2007. (AP)

The album made little impact until months after its release, when a concert video of the title track was aired on the British program the Old Grey Whistle Test.

In the US, his connection to Rocky Horror helped when he convinced producer Lou Adler to use a video for Paradise By the Dashboard Light as a trailer for the cult movie.

But Meat Loaf was so little known at first that he began his Bat Out of Hell tour in Chicago as the opening act for Cheap Track, then one of the world’s hottest groups.

“I remember pulling up at the theatre and it says, ‘TONIGHT: CHEAP TRICK, WITH MEAT LOAF.’ And I said to myself, ‘These people think we’re serving dinner’,” Meat Loaf explained in 2013 on the syndicated radio show In the Studio.

“And we walk out on stage and these people were such Cheap Trick fans they booed us from the start.

Meat Loaf performs in 1978, according to his Facebook page. (Facebook)

“They were getting up and giving us the finger. The first six rows stood up and screamed. … When we finished, most of the boos had stopped and we were almost getting applause.”

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