How a fellow got from being Marvin Lee Aday to Meat Loaf is totally up for debate and discussion. The Dallas, Texas, native hails from a gospel family, but made his way to Los Angeles, California, and rock music in the late 1960s.
His first band – known first as Meat Loaf Soul, then Popcorn Blizzard and Floating Circus – did well enough, landing solid gigs opening for Ted Nugent, Grateful Dead, MC5, the Who, and others. Then, Meat Loaf got himself cast in a touring production of Hair.
That role led him to join an off-Broadway staging of Rainbow (In New York) then the More Than You Deserve musical which was composed by Jim Steinman. A role in As You Like It alongside Mary Beth Hurt and Raul Julia also made its way onto Meat Loaf's resume.
Hopping into the film genre, Meat Loaf found himself smack dab in the middle of the would-be cult phenomenonThe Rocky Horror Picture Show – in both the stage and film versions – before joining a musical rendition of National Lampoon as John Belushi's understudy as well as a part in Rockabye Hamlet.
Finally, come 1977, Meat Loaf hunkered down to record an album, the Todd Rundgren-produced Bat Out of Hell which found Steinman as a creative partner. The rock opera boasted three pretty huge hits in "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth.”
Because Meat Loaf garnered the bulk of the attention, tensions formed with Steinman. The album has sold more than 43 million copies to validate the work as a bonafide masterpiece.
Going it on his own – sans Steinman – Meat Loaf followed up with Dead Ringer in 1981; Midnight at the Lost and Found in 1983; Bad Attitude in 1984; and Blind Before I Stop in 1986. Some did okay, some totally flopped. None touched the success of Bat Out of Hell, but the touring thrashed Meat Loaf's voice, demanding a stint of rehab for both his voice and reputation.
It wouldn't be until 1993 that Meat Loaf (and Steinman) would return with Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, a true sequel album that picked up where the original left off, lyrically and musically. Fans came flocking back, snatching up more than five million copies and making a hit single out of "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."
Meat Loaf's Welcome to the Neighborhood dropped in 1995 just prior to the career retrospective Live Around the World. That would be it for about eight years, though, until 2003's Couldn't Have Said It Better.
Trying to catch lightning in a bottle for a third time, Meat Loaf issued Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose in 2006 with partial cooperation from Steinman. He also put his songs to work in a Bat Out of Hell stage play, along with the 2007 Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise documentary.
Then, in 2010, it was Hang Cool Teddy Bear with Hell in a Hand Basket coming in early 2012.