Meat Loaf: The Many Origin Stories Behind the Late Singer's Name

Was it a gruesome car incident or an adorable newborn anecdote? The rocker (born Marvin Lee Aday) spun several yarns about how he adopted his iconic stage moniker

Meat Loaf, the singer and actor famous for Bat Out of Hell, has died at age 74.

The performer — who was born Marvin Lee Aday and later known as Michael Lee Aday — was known by his singular stage name. Over the years, Meat Loaf offered various explanations for his moniker and even told The Guardian in 2003 that "names and ages piss me off. So I just continually lie."

Despite the ever-changing origin story of his name, Meat Loaf appears to have begun using the nickname years before his music and acting career began.

Meat Loaf claimed he got the first half of his name from his father shortly after he was born. The musician said on Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now series in 2016 that he was "born bright red," explaining that his father told the hospital to put a "Meat" tag in front of his crib because he "looked like nine-and-a-half pounds of ground chuck" as a newborn.

Meat Loaf told Winfrey he received the "Loaf" half of his nickname in eighth grade, when he "stepped on a coach's foot and he screamed, 'Get off my foot, you hunk of meatloaf!' "

Meat Loaf offered a different version of the story to PEOPLE decades earlier in 1978. He said at the time that his name was inspired by his size while growing up in Dallas. The rocker said he couldn't remember ever weighing less than 185 pounds.

Meat Loaf
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

"[Meat Loaf] adopted his stage name and closely guarded his real one — Marvin Lee Aday — to save his devout Church of Christ kin from embarrassment," PEOPLE reported at the time. "The nom de guerre itself originated with seventh-grade classmates in commemoration of his initials and size — 5 foot, 2 inches, 240 lbs."

The Rocky Horror Picture Show star shared yet another story while appearing on Piers Morgan Live in 2011, during which he claimed his nickname was partially born out of a Levi's commercial that said, "Poor fat Marvin can't wear Levi's."

Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf in 1977. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The musician said he changed his first name from Marvin to Michael because of the Levi's ad. Meat Loaf explained the connection between the commercial and his nickname, telling Morgan, "When I was a kid I was so big, I mean I was really big, I literally could not wear blue jeans."

When the commercial came out, Meat Loaf was around 6 years old. He told Morgan at the time, "I was called Meat, but people would call me Marvin, and after that, nobody called me Marvin."

Meat Loaf spun another tale about his name's origins, according to The New York Times, which reports that the artist also claimed an incident with a Volkswagen was responsible for his nickname.

"Meat Loaf … told numerous stories about how he got his stage name, including one about a high school stunt in which he let a Volkswagen run over his head," the Times reports. "Afterward, a child shouted, 'You're as dumb as a hunk of meat loaf.'"

Meat Loaf, who was known for his albums and appearances in films like Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne's World, died Thursday, his agent Michael Green said in a statement shared with PEOPLE.

He is survived by wife Deborah and daughters Pearl and Amanda.

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