NEW YORK – Meat Loaf, the heavyweight rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain't Bad,” and “I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That),” has died. He was 74.
The singer born Marvin Lee Aday died Thursday, according to a family statement provided by his longtime agent Michael Greene.
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight,” the statement said. “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!”
No cause or other details were given, but Aday had numerous health scares over the years.
“Bat Out of Hell,” his mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren, came out in 1977 and made him one of the most recognizable 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.
“Paradise” was a duet with Ellen Foley about two kids “barely 17” and “barely dressed,” featuring play-by-play from New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto, who alleged – to much skepticism – that he was unaware of any alternate meanings to reaching third base and heading for home.
Speaking to The Associated Press on Friday, Foley remembered him as “larger than life” and noted the role “Paradise” had in the lives of fans and how they told of losing their virginity to it or singing it at special occasions: “I did it at karaoke, at my wedding, at my high school reunion, at my Bar Mitzvah.”
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, whoe died in April. 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.”
Friends and fans mourned his death on social media. Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock.” And Adam Lambert called Meat Loaf: “A gentle hearted powerhouse rock star forever and ever. You were so kind. Your music will always be iconic.”
Meat Loaf's 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).”