What Was Meat Loaf's Real Name? The Story Behind 'Bat Out of Hell' Singer's Stage Moniker

Meat Loaf, the Grammy Award-winning American singer known for his album Bat Out of Hell and song of the same name, has died at the age of 74.

The artist—who was also an actor known from various television series and films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and musicals—passed away on the evening of January 20, 2022, surrounded by his wife Deborah, his daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends.

His agent Michael Greene told Deadline that his daughters "also had a chance to spend time with him and say their goodbyes during the last 24 hours."

A cause of death has not been released. In a statement, the singer's family 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," the statement read.

What Was Meat Loaf's Real Name?

The late singer/actor was born as Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas on September 27 back in 1947.

He changed his legal name to Michael Lee Aday in 1984, he said in a CNN interview in August 2011.

Why Was He Called Meat Loaf?

In an interview with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) back in December 2016, Aday said he was first given the name "Meat" when he was four days old because "I was born bright red."

Noting the doctor at the time suggested he should be kept in the hospital for a few days after his birth, Aday said his father told the hospital to put "Meat" on the name tag for his crib, according to the OWN interview.

Switching to a deep Southern accent, noting "My dad actually spoke like this," Aday explained his father said 'So, uh, I want you to name my son there―because he looks like nine-and-a-half pounds of ground chuck―I want you to put a name tag on the front of that plastic crib and it say 'Meat' on it.'

"They stuck that printed card [that] said 'Meat' and that was it," the singer said.

The "Loaf" portion of his name came about when he was in the eighth grade. "I stepped on a coach's foot and he screamed, 'Get off my foot, you hunk of meat loaf!'," Aday told OWN at the time.

Why Did Meat Loaf Change His Legal Name?

Meat Loaf told CNN in August 2011 that his legal name has been Michael Lee Aday since 1984, when he had it changed following the release of a Levi's commercial featuring a tagline that said "Poor fat Marvin can't wear Levi's."

He said: "When I was a kid, I was so big...I literally could not wear blue jeans...so I wore pleated pants in the first grade. And a commercial came on the air when I was around five or six years old for Levi's [the jeans brand]. And the commercial [tagline] was 'Poor fat Marvin can't wear Levi's'."

The artist said he went before a judge in 1984 and told him the story about the jeans commercial. He said the judge told him at the time: "If this was today, you'd own the company [Levi's]" before giving his stamp approval for the legal name change.

The singer also recalled having issues at immigration control in Germany due to his "Meat Loaf" name.

"I had Meat Loaf on my passport when we were first touring Bat Out of Hell. I went to Germany and showed them my passport and they kept me in immigration for six hours. So at that point I thought probably the best thing to do was to get 'Meat Loaf' off my passport immediately, if not sooner," he told CNN.

Meat Loaf in Las Vegas in 2013.
The late singer Meat Loaf arrives at an event at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in October 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Meat Loaf died on January 20, 2022 at the age of 74. Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

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