Although there have been various explanations for his stage name, according to his official website, his name started when his father called him "Meat" as a two-year-old. His schoolmates would later turn it into Meat Loaf.
His first LP was Meat Loaf & Stoney (1969). He started his career as an actor in musicals such as Hair, and came to national attention with a featured role in Rocky Horror. Capitalizing on this notoriety, he performed with the National Lampoon road show (where he first worked with future collaborator Jim Steinman), and sang on Ted Nugent's album Free For All.
In 1977, Meat Loaf released his breakthrough album Bat out of Hell. Featuring melodramatic songs and arrangements by Steinman and bombastic production by Todd Rundgren, it was a huge commercial and critical success, ultimately selling over 30 million copies worldwide, and spawning several hit singles including "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" and "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth".
Subsequent albums were far less successful, with the exception of the 1993 sequel album Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell which reunited Meat Loaf and Steinman and sold over 10 million copies.
Meat Loaf is known for his size (at times over 300 pounds) and manic stage presence and has suffered from a number of health problems and injuries. Reportedly he has had at least seventeen concussions. His most recent problem was during a November 17, 2003 performance at London's Wembly Arena. He collapsed of what was later diagnosed as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The following week he underwent a surgical procedure intended to correct the problem.