Grammy Winner and Rocky Horror Icon Meat Loaf Has Died
The iconoclastic musician performed in the original Broadway production of Hair.
Grammy-winning rock-and-roll singer Meat Loaf, whose 1977 debut album Bat Out of Hell remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, died on Thursday, January 20. Various reports state his age as 74 but his true date of birth has been questioned over the years.
The musician's death was announced in a statement on his official Facebook page, which claimed that he was "surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends" at the time of his passing. A cause of death has not yet been released.
Meat Loaf, born Michael Lee Aday, is best known for his musical partnership with the late composer Jim Steinman, who penned the songs for two out of the three albums in the Bat Out of Hell trilogy (Steinman passed away last year). Meat Loaf and Steinman first came together through a theatrical project — a musical co-written by Steinman titled More Than You Deserve, which ran at the Public Theater from 1973-74 and in which Meat Loaf performed alongside actors Ron Silver and Fred Gwynne.
Prior to his run in More Than You Deserve, Meat Loaf performed in the Los Angeles production of Hair where he met Shaun "Stoney" Murphy — his eventual collaborator on the album Stoney & Meatloaf. Meat Loaf went on to join the Broadway cast of Hair, and returned to Broadway in 1975 as Eddie and Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show (he reprised the role of Eddie in the film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and in 1976 in the short-lived rock musical Rockabye Hamlet.
Meat Loaf's additional stage credits include a 1972 off-Broadway production of Rainbow at the Orpheum Theatre, and the 1973 Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It starring Raul Julia and Mary Beth Hurt.
A staged version of Bat Out of Hell debuted at the Manchester Opera House in Manchester, England, in 2017, and went on to make its New York premiere at New York City Center in 2019. Set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan named "Obsidian," the rock opera is a loose retelling of Peter Pan and contains some of Meat Loaf's greatest hits (composed by Steinman) including "I'd Do Anything for Love," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," and the title song "Bat Out of Hell."