Actor and singer Meat Loaf, best known for his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell and his longtime collaboration with composer Jim Steinman, passed away at his home with his family surrounding him. Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, he earned the nickname Meat Loaf before he ever started his musical career. After playing in a local band, he went to the musical stage, appearing in the Los Angeles cast of Hair and other productions, eventually moving to the Broadway production of Hair. His turn in the stage production of The Rocky Horror Show led to Meat Loaf reprising the role of Eddie in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He and Steinman devoted five years to the album Bat Out of Hell, which turned Meat Loaf into an arena musician. He still appeared in an occasional film afterward, such as Fight Club. Read his life story at The Guardian. Meat Loaf was 74.
The announcement of Meat Loaf's death brings up stories from his long career. In 1989, as his career was seen to be flagging, Meat Loaf was booked on a tour of dive bars in Ireland, promoted as "intimate" shows. The venues were always overcrowded and rowdy. One night at the Community Centre in the town of Moate, things got out of hand immediately. The drunk crowd began to throw beer cans, which eventually hit the stage, then shoes, then lit cigarettes. Meat Loaf warned the crowd, then stormed off the stage. But the band, not realizing what was happening, kept playing, and the singer returned to try again. Until...
Flying through the air was… a wheelchair.
The chair flew directly over Marty’s head. He turned just in time to see Meat Loaf’s eyes swell with an unusual mixture of both fear and wonder. The burly singer put out an arm and attempted to step back. The stage was so small he stumbled into the drum riser just as the wheelchair crashed onto the boards in front of him. In slow motion the big man appeared to fall, the empty wheelchair bouncing to his left, one wheel comically spinning.
Marty remembers the crowd cheering. He was sure he could make out someone screaming, but by the time he could react Meat had gotten to his feet, grabbed the mic, roared at the audience and hurled it at them as he stormed off.
The show was over, less than half an hour in. Meat Loaf was outraged, and not only because he and his crew were put in danger. He wasn't going back on. “Not after what they did to that poor kid in the wheelchair.”
We never found out whose wheelchair was used, but the tour continued, just not in Moate. -via Metafilter