Michael Lee Aday born Marvin Lee Aday; September 27, 1947, better known by his stage name Meat Loaf, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor.
Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell trilogy of albums (consisting of Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose) has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Almost 40 years after its release, it still sells an estimated 200,000 copies annually, and stayed on the charts for over nine years, making it one of the best selling albums in history. He is also known for his powerful wide-ranging operatic voice and theatrical live performances.
After he enjoyed success with Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell and earned a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the song “I’d Do Anything for Love“, Meat Loaf experienced some initial difficulty establishing a steady career within the United States. However, he has retained iconic status and popularity in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, where he received the 1994 Brit Award for Best selling album and single, appeared in the 1997 film Spice World, and ranks 23rd for the number of weeks spent on the UK charts as of 2006. He ranked 96th on VH1‘s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”.
He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records. He has also appeared in over 50 movies and television shows, sometimes as himself or as characters resembling his stage persona. His most notable roles include Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Robert “Bob” Paulson in Fight Club (1999), and “The Lizard” in The 51st State(2002). He has also appeared as a guest actor in television shows such as Monk, Glee, South Park, House, and Tales from the Crypt.
Marvin Lee Aday was born in Dallas, Texas, the only child of Wilma Artie (née Hukel), a school teacher and a member of the Vo-di-o-do Girls gospel quartet, and Orvis Wesley Aday, a police officer. His father was an alcoholic who would go on drinking binges for days at a time. Aday and his mother would drive around to all the bars in Dallas, looking for Orvis to take him home. As a result, Aday often stayed with his grandmother, Charlsee Norrod.
Meat Loaf relates a story in his autobiography, To Hell and Back, about how he, a friend, and his friend’s father drove out to Love Field to watch John F. Kennedy land. After watching him leave the airport, they went to Market Hall, which was on Kennedy’s parade route. On the way, they heard that Kennedy had been shot, so they headed to Parkland Hospital, where they saw Jackie Kennedy get out of the car and Governor John Connally get pulled out, although they never saw the president taken out.
In 1965, Aday graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, having already started his acting career via school productions such as Where’s Charley? and The Music Man. After attending college at Lubbock Christian College, he transferred to North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas). After he received his inheritance from his mother’s death, he rented an apartment in Dallas and isolated himself for three and a half months. Eventually, a friend found him. A short time later, Aday went to the airport and caught the next flight leaving. The plane took him to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Aday formed his first band, “Meat Loaf Soul”, after a nickname coined by his football coach due to his weight. During the recording of their first song, he hit a note so high that he managed to blow a fuse on the recording monitor. He was immediately offered three recording contracts, which he turned down. Meat Loaf Soul’s first gig was in Huntington Beach at the Cave, opening for Van Morrison‘s band, Them. While performing their cover of the Howlin’ Wolf song “Smokestack Lightning“, the smoke machine they used made too much smoke and the club had to be cleared out. Later, the band was the opening act at Cal State Northridge for Renaissance, Taj Mahal and Janis Joplin. The band then underwent several changes of lead guitar, changing the name of the band each time. The new names included Popcorn Blizzard and Floating Circus.
As Floating Circus, they opened for the Who, the Fugs, the Stooges, MC5, Grateful Dead and the Grease Band. Their regional success led them to release a single, “Once Upon a Time”, backed with “Hello”. Then Meat Loaf joined the Los Angeles production of Hair.
During an interview with New Zealand radio station ZM, Meat Loaf stated that the biggest life struggle he had to overcome was not being taken seriously in the music industry. He compared his treatment to that of a “circus clown”.