Celebrities are dying at a rate I am incapable of keeping up with these days. From Sidney Poitier to Peter Bogdanovich to Bob Saget, I have not been able to give these celebrities their due – and it certainly isn’t healthy for any of our mental states. But so long as I’m able, I have to make sure I’m paying these legends their due (including the ones listed above, who have proper editorials coming). So it is with a heavy heart that I write that legendary rocker Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74.
Born Michael Lee Aday, Meat Loaf was known for his impressive vocal range and flamboyant stage persona. After an early career appearing with Motown singer Stoney (Shaun Murphy) and opening for major artists like Richie Havens, The Who, and Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf temporarily left the music industry to focus on an acting career. He appeared on Broadway in the original run of Hair, as well as an adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It before taking over a role in a small L.A. cult show called Rocky Horror.
As the motorcycling ne’er-do-well Eddie, Meat Loaf sang what later became one of his signature pieces, “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul.” Because he was one of the only actors who could keep up with the song’s rapid lyrics, he reprised his role in the film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Rocky Horror would become a cult sensation, and is not only the longest-running film in history (it hasn’t left theaters since 1975), but is one of my favorite films, period, and a major influence on my sense of humor, and therefore this site.
In the wake of Rocky Horror’s release, Meat Loaf began working with his frequent collaborator Jim Steinman on a grand debut album, which would combine comedy and hard rock and pop and opera into one grandiose record. That album was Bat Out Of Hell, a masterpiece of genre-bending rock that ranged from “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth,” and his signature song, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” The album. As of January 2022, it is still one of the Top Ten Greatest Selling Records of All Time (even I own a copy), and spawned a sequel, which included his Grammy Award-winning single “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
When not recording, Meat Loaf enjoyed a steady and iconic career in film and television, ranging from cameos to full-blown supporting roles. These include Wayne’s World, Leap of Faith, the cult classic Spice World, a singing role in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Monk, Glee, South Park, and perhaps most memorably, Fight Club, where he played the meme-inspiring Bob Paulson (“His name is Robert Paulson”).
At the time of his death, Meat Loaf was planning the release of a new album, which he planned on recording next week. He also had begun work on a reality competition show which pitted couples against each other, named, obviously, after his hit song. Meat Loaf is survived by his wife Deborah and their two daughters, all of whom were at his side when he passed.