Powerhouse rocker Meat Loaf was ‘a big man with a big heart’

Meat Loaf performing on stage at the Capital Radio Party in the Park, in Hyde Park, London. The concert is being held in aid of The Prince’s Trust. 18/11/03: Meat Loaf performing on stage in Hyde Park, London. It has been announced chart star Meat Loaf has been shelved tonight after the singer was admitted to hospital. The Bat Out Of Hell singer collapsed on stage at a sell-out concert last night at London’s Wembley Arena, forcing a second show at the venue to be postponed. (PA Archive)

Lorraine Crosby, who sang on Meat Loaf’s hit number one single I’d Do Anything For Love, has said it was “terrifying, intimidating and wonderful” to work with him.

A post on Meat Loaf’s official Facebook page said the US rocker died, aged 74, with his wife Deborah at his side and added that his daughters, Pearl and Amanda, “and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours”.

Meat Loaf who was born Marvin Lee Aday but was also known as Michael, sold millions of albums worldwide, with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

The hit single I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) reached number one in 28 countries and earned him a Grammy award.

Crosby, 61, told the PA news agency about her first meeting with the hit singer and recalled how she ended up singing on what would become a hit song as she “just happened to be there” at the studio.

She explained: “It wasn’t supposed to be kept, it was just a demo tape I did.

“But the chemistry was so good that when we sang together, I think they found it hard to recreate it once it had been done and he called me six months after I sung the vocal and said to me, you know it ain’t broke let’s not fix it, do you mind if we put it on the record.

“At which point I fell through the floor because I was a huge Meat Loaf fan, I used to sing his songs into a hairbrush when I was 10 years old.

Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74 (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)
Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74 (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

“I never dreamed that one day I’d actually sing with him.

“That was incredible.”

She added: “When you are thrust into a recording booth with Meat Loaf when you are a tiny little thing, it is quite a daunting prospect but we had incredible chemistry from the minute we met and the song turned out absolutely amazing.

“It was terrifying, intimidating and wonderful all at the same time.”

Crosby performed live with Meat Loaf twice after their song went to number one, and he later introduced her to Bonnie Tyler who she still stays with every year, she said.

“Anything For Love is like his Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s the same kind of thing, a bombastic, very long rock opera,” she said adding that he had been a “big character, larger than life man and great to work with.

“He had a heart of gold, he was a big man with a big heart, he really was.”

Besides music, his long career also included roles in a string of films such as Eddie in the 1975 musical film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1992’s Wayne’s World, and Fight Club in 1999.

Meat Loaf was also a successful actor, appearing in movies such as Fight Club (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
Meat Loaf was also a successful actor, appearing in movies such as Fight Club (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

On Twitter, Fight Club star Edward Norton posted an image of himself hugging Meat Loaf on the set, writing “those were some wonderful months of laughter & irreverence”.

He added: “I don’t keep pictures from films around home.

“But I have this one in my office in a frame bc it makes me smile every time.

“It’s engraved ‘Love and Hugs, Meat’ it sums him up well. He was so funny. And gentle. And warm to everyone. A sweet soul.”

The actor, 52, added that the hardest part about working with Meat Loaf was “getting through any of these ridiculous moments without cracking up”.

The album Bat Out Of Hell was released in 1977 and was later adapted as a stage musical, which was written by long-time collaborator Jim Steinman and featured some of the musician’s best-loved hits.

Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical announced that Friday night’s show at the New Wimbledon Theatre will be performed in his memory.

Meat Loaf had spoken openly about health issues that had plagued him, notably asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011, and in 2003 he was taken ill at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital.

Following an on-stage collapse in Canada in 2016, a statement issued at the time said it had been down to “severe dehydration”.

Meat Loaf performs at Newbury Racecourse (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Meat Loaf performs at Newbury Racecourse (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

His long music career saw him release more than 10 albums, with his final studio album, Braver Than We Are, released in 2012.

The singer regularly updated fans with messages on his Facebook page, saying in a post in November last year that he was planning to be back in the studio to record in January this year.

He wrote: “Yes, only 7 new songs but and a big but. Live tracks from (oh goodness I’m not that old) the 70’s great ones a great band and Jimmy on piano, the 80′ so many great live tracks in the 80’s great bands, the 90 and again a great band and so many great shows, 2000’s (how do you write that) great shows great band. Then Tracks up till I hurt my back(I have now had 4 back surgeries) The back surgeries hurt everything.”

He went on to detail operations he had undergone on his back, saying the “4th surgery Feb 2018 has left me in a lot of pain” and adding: “I now have 13 screws holding on a metal plate or plates in half my back.”

According to reports, he was also planning to launch a reality TV show based I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), with American outlet Deadline saying in March last year that it was to be “a relationship competition series”.