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Meat Loaf, singer of I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), dies aged 74

The American singer and actor, otherwise known as Michael Lee Aday, had a career spanning six decades, and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Meat Loaf, singer of I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), dies aged 74

FILE PHOTO: U.S. rock and roll singer Meat Loaf attends a news conference promoting his latest album "Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose" in Hong Kong September 4, 2006. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (HONG KONG)

Meat Loaf, the singer best known for the Bat Out Of Hell album and the hit song I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), has died at the age of 74, a statement on his official Facebook page said on Friday (Jan 21).

No cause of death was revealed.

The American singer and actor, otherwise known as Michael Lee Aday, had a career spanning six decades, and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

His family said in a statement: “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!”

The singer was known for the bestselling album trilogy, Bat Out Of Hell. The second album, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell yielded the hit song, I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Aday died on Thursday (Jan 20) night with his wife by his side, according to Deadline, citing his longtime agent Michael Greene.

Greene also told the publication that the singer’s daughters, Pearl and Amanda, as well as close friends had a chance to spend time with him and say their goodbyes.

BAT OUT OF HELL

His first Bat Out Of Hell album came out in 1977, a mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren that made him one of the most recognisable performers in rock.

Fans fell hard for the roaring vocals of the long-haired, 250-plus pound singer and for the comic non-romance of the title track, You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad and Paradise By The Dashboard Light, an operatic cautionary tale about going all the way.

After a slow start and mixed reviews, Bat Out Of Hell became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies.

Meat Loaf wasn’t a consistent hit maker, especially after falling out for years with Steinman. But he maintained close ties with his fans through his manic live shows, social media and his many television, radio and film appearances, including Fight Club and cameos on Glee and South Park.

His biggest musical success after Bat Out Of Hell was Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, a 1993 reunion with Steinman that sold more than 15 million copies and featured the Grammy-winning single I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

ORIGINS OF ‘MEAT LOAF’

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 favorite, 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 Nov. 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.

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 favorite 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 theater 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 album 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.”

‘THESE PEOPLE THINK WE’RE SERVING DINNER’

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

Source: AGENCIES/mm

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