Meat Loaf, the theatrical rock balladeer whose 1977 album “Bat Out of Hell” became one of the bestselling albums of all time, died Thursday at age 74, according to his longtime manager Michael Greene.
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight,” the statement said. “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!”
Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, the long-haired, plus-size rocker gained wide fame in the 1970s for his soaring vocals on power ballads such as “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
His first two albums, 1977’s “Bat Out of Hell” and 1983’s “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell,” sold more than 55 million copies on the strength of Jim Steinman’s songwriting and Meat Loaf’s soaring and operatic vocals — which marked a stark contrast from the disco popular at the time. Steinman, who met Meat Loaf when the latter starred in a 1973 Public Theater stage musical that he co-wrote, died last year at age 73.
Meat Loaf had spent his early years alternating between music and a stage career, appearing in the Broadway production of “Hair” as well as opening for the Who and the Grateful Dead.
He played the lobotomized biker Eddie in the stage version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a role he reprised in the 1975 film that became a cult hit.
He also adapted his onstage energy into other screen roles in films such as “Wayne’s World” (1992), “Fight Club” (1999) and “Crazy in Alabama” (1999). He had memorable cameos on shows like “Glee” and “South Park.”