Meat Loaf, singer whose album Bat Out of Hell was one of the best-selling records in pop music history – obituary

In 1966, Meat Loaf traveled to Los Angeles, where he established a reputation as a singer with the psychedelic rock band Popcorn Blizzard. Although they never recorded an album, the group supported many top bands, including The Who and Iggy Pop.

After the band broke up in 1969, poor Meat Loaf lived in a township in Echo Park, Los Angeles, and worked as a parking lot attendant at the Aquarius Theater. A chance meeting with an actor appearing in the musical Hair encouraged him to apply for a role, which he won, being cast as Ulysses S Grant in the Los Angeles production. While touring with the show, Meat Loaf met singer Shaun Murphy, known as Stoney, with whom in 1971 he recorded an album, Stoney & Meatloaf, which they promoted as a support act for AliceCooper.

In the early 1970s, Meat Loaf was based in New York and performed in Broadway musicals. He played Buddha in Rainbow and Eddie in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, a role he recreated in 1975 for the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Importantly, in 1973 he appeared as both Perrine and Rabbit in the off-Broadway musical More Than You Deserve, co-written by Jim Steinman, who would become a major creative collaborator.

After touring the United States with Steinman on The National Lampoon Road Show in 1975, the duo began rehearsing songs Steinman had written at the Ansonia Hotel in New York. After long rehearsals and multiple unsuccessful attempts to sign a recording contract, they were taken over by producer Todd Rundgren, who interested the young record company Cleveland International in the project. They in turn persuaded Epic Records to release and promote the album.

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