Marvin Lee Aday, more famously known as the rock star Meat Loaf, passed away recently at the age of 74.
He was simply one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.
Meat, as he liked to be called, was the musical performer on more than 100 million records that were distributed worldwide.
He made his way to the top rung of rock stardom in the United Kingdom and in Europe.
His nickname was given to him in part by his dad. But the completion of the famed label came from a high school football coach.
He went through a legal name change in 1984, but not one folks might have thought. He changed his first name from Marvin to Michael.
To the surprise of many meat eaters, his carnivorous nickname did not actually reflect his personal eating habits. Many individuals were stunned to find out that Meat was actually a vegetarian for more than a decade.
Commenting on the vegetable eating irony, he told Entertainment Weekly, “There’ve been vegetarians who wouldn’t speak to me because of my name. I was sitting with Jon Bon Jovi at one of those awards things, and I say, ‘Oh, man, I love k.d. lang. I’d really like to meet her.’ They went to find out if it was okay, and she goes, ‘No. His name is Meat Loaf.’ I stopped being a k.d. lang fan after that.”
Meat’s vocal specialty was an ultra-dramatic performance amid an orchestral blanket backdrop. His recordings combined European opera tradition with American hard rock. The result was a unique brand that he shared with longtime composer-songwriter Jim Steinman.
Steinman wrote and produced many of Meat’s best known works, including his 1977 debut album “Bat Out of Hell.” The album was based on a futuristic rock opera version of Peter Pan, titled “Neverland,” which was produced by another rock legend, Todd Rundgren,
The recording came about from an unusual collaboration of musicians that included the pianist and drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s “E Street Band,” members of Rundgren’s group “Utopia,” and a well-placed Edgar Winter sax solo.
The album was actually rejected by four record labels. However, two breakthrough television performances by Meat, the UK’s “Old Grey Whistle Test” and the U.S.’s “Saturday Night Live,” propelled the album’s ultimate release.
It would go on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, with more than 43 million copies sold globally, and two sequel albums to follow.
Meat had an acting stint in addition to his mega-successful musical career. He was a scene stealer in the cult films “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club.”
He also starred in numerous other films that include “Roadie,” “Motorama,” “Crazy in Alabama,” “Stage Fright,” “Spice World,” “Leap of Faith,” and “Americathon.”
Meat played dual roles in the original Broadway cast of “The Rocky Horror Show” and also appeared in the musical “Hair.”
High-profile associates in the music business paid tribute to the rock singer at his passing.
Queen guitarist Brian May wrote on Instagram that Meat was “Always full of madness, with the innocent sense of naughtiness of a five-year old, Meat was forever young.”
Bonnie Tyler, who recorded an album with Meat, described him as “a larger than life character with a voice & stage presence to match & is one of those rare people who truly was a one-off talent and personality.”
Alice Cooper, rock legend in his own right, said, “Meat Loaf was one of the greatest voices in rock ‘n’ roll, and he was certainly one of my closest friends in the business.”
Cooper said there is no one like Meat, and that “his shoes can never be filled.”
Unlike many of his colleagues, Meat was an independent thinker and soon projected a right-of-center persona. In 2012, he was one of the few well known entertainment figures to campaign for then-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
When Meat was a contestant on the 2011 season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” then-host Donald Trump asked the rocker if he thought he should run for president.
Meat answered, “Absolutely. I would vote for you. In fact, I’ll help you with your campaign.”
Meat and President Trump became fast friends on the show, so much so that the 45th president issued a statement about Meat’s passing, describing the singer as a “great guy.”
“He was smart, talented, open, and warm. His success was enormous — we all loved him. Meat Loaf will be greatly missed!” President Trump said.
Meat also held traditional religious views that placed him at odds with many current entertainment industry figures.
He grew up singing in the church choir, studied the Bible, and attended a Christian college. His faith influenced his work, with many of his songs containing Christian concepts.
At one point he collaborated with a female vocalist named Shaun Murphy, aka Stoney, whom he met during the Detroit performances of the musical “Hair.”
The album that the two released in 1971, titled “Stoney and Meatloaf,” contained a Christian-themed song “(I’d Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus.”
Some of the lyrics are as follows:
“I just want to rise above, above that devil’s glove
And see God in every single man, I just want to spread joy like that little boy
Who once walked, walked this promised land,
And I’d love to be as heavy as Jesus.”
Meat shared his very active and consistent prayer life via an interview.
“I’ll be honest with you. I pray every night and if I skip a night, I apologize for skipping it,” he stated. “I thank [God] for my blessings because I’ve been very blessed and I pray for my family and I pray for people who are ill…”
Rock opera pioneer Andrew Lloyd Webber described Meat’s afterlife in this way:
“The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock.”
Clearly the world was blessed by his talent.