Meat Loaf's iconic role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show explained

6 December 2023, 15:16

Meat Loaf in Rocky Horror
Meat Loaf in Rocky Horror. Picture: Alamy/20th Century Fox

By Tom Eames

Meat Loaf, the larger-than-life rock musician and actor, left an unforgettable mark on both the stage and screen.

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However, it was his iconic role in the cult classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show that truly solidified his place in pop culture history.

Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas, Meat Loaf's journey from high school productions in Texas to the Roxy Cast of The Rocky Horror Show in Los Angeles is a tale of perseverance, musical exploration, and a touch of serendipity.

The Early Years: A Texas Trailblazer

Meat Loaf's journey into the world of entertainment began in his hometown of Dallas, where he engaged in acting during high school.

Rock Singer Meat Loaf
Rock Singer Meat Loaf. Picture: Getty

His nickname, a result of his robust physique, became synonymous with his charismatic stage presence.

The move to California in the late '60s marked the beginning of his musical ventures, with bands like Meat Loaf Soul, Popcorn Blizzard, and Floating Circus.

Musical Odyssey and the Birth of a Partnership

Floating Circus, one of Meat Loaf's musical projects, achieved regional success, opening for renowned acts like The Who and Janis Joplin.

Photo of Meatloaf
Photo of Meatloaf. Picture: Getty

The band's journey eventually led Meat Loaf to a stint in the musical Hair, which propelled him into a recording contract with Motown. This marked the beginning of a partnership with cast-mate Sean "Stoney" Murphy and the creation of the album Stoney and Meatloaf.

Meat Loaf's collaboration with Jim Steinman, initiated during the off-Broadway production More Than You Deserve, laid the foundation for one of the most successful partnerships in rock history. The duo went on to create the epic Bat Out of Hell trilogy, which became a global phenomenon.

Rocky Horror and the Rise of Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf's dual role as Eddie and Dr Scott in the Roxy Cast of The Rocky Horror Show was a turning point in his career. The success of the stage production translated into the cult classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where Meat Loaf reprised his role as the rebellious Eddie.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Picture: Getty

Meat Loaf was initially cast in The Rocky Horror Picture Show based on his prior working relationship with the film's creator, Richard O'Brien. O'Brien had seen Meat Loaf in the musical Hair and was impressed by his performance.

As a result, Meat Loaf was invited to join the cast of the stage production of The Rocky Horror Show in London, where he played the character Eddie.

When the stage production was adapted into a film, Meat Loaf reprised his role as Eddie. His memorable performance of the song 'Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul' became one of the highlights of the movie.

Meat Loaf was hired for the role in 1973. He got the part of Eddie because he was the only actor who could perform the character’s signature song properly. “The first two weeks when we were doing the play all we did was the music, they had not given us a script,” Meat Loaf later said.

Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul by Meat Loaf 1947 – 2022 HD The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

“They come to me on the part of ‘Hot Patootie,’ and Richard O’Brien is here at these rehearsals… he said ‘on this song you’ll never be able to get all the words in. … I wrote it and I can’t sing all the words.’”

“I looked at him and said ‘I can sing all the words,’” Meat Loaf said. “Nobody could ever get in and just make those words fly through it. I just love telling people ‘I can do that’ and then being able to do it.”

This period also saw the collaboration between Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman reaching new heights, as they worked on the groundbreaking Bat Out of Hell album.

Bat Out of Hell: A Meteoric Rise

Released in 1977, Bat Out of Hell coincided with the growing popularity of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The album's theatrical, melodramatic rock resonated with audiences, propelling it to over 45 million copies sold worldwide.

Meat Loaf became a rock superstar, with hits like 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' further solidifying his status in the music industry.

Legacy Beyond Rocky Horror

Meat Loaf's career extended far beyond his Rocky Horror days. He continued to record hit albums, appeared in numerous films, and made memorable television appearances.

Cast of Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical Pay Tribute to Meat Loaf

His participation in projects like 'The Rocky Horror Glee Show' and Saturday Night Live showcased his enduring connection to the cultural phenomenon that kickstarted his fame.

A Lasting Impression

Meat Loaf's impact on the entertainment industry was immeasurable. His autobiography, To Hell And Back, offered fans a glimpse into the highs and lows of his remarkable journey.

In 2001, he made a symbolic change, legally adopting the name Michael. His passing in 2022 marked the end of an era, but the Roxy Theatre's poignant tribute illuminated the everlasting influence of a man who truly loved rock and roll.

Meat Loaf's journey from a Texas teenager with dreams of the stage to a global rock sensation remains a testament to the transformative power of music and the enduring legacy of a charismatic performer.