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Meat Loaf, who recently died on Jan. 20, 2022, is among a long list of artists who dropped their real names for a stage name. However, no other stage name in music history, Sting, Bono, or Slash, truly encapsulates who the artist is in the way Meat Loaf did. No one else’s stage name perfectly describes who they were. He was Meat Loaf from the minute he was born.

Meat Loaf wearing a tuxedo while performing on stage in Atlanta, Georgia, 1978.
Meat Loaf | Rick Diamond/Getty Images

What is Meat Loaf’s real name?

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday on Sept. 27, 1947, in Dallas, Texas. However, Meat Loaf has always spun stories about himself. In 2003, the Guardian wrote that Meat Loaf had “a bit of a reputation as a fabulist” and the year of his birth “has been variously reported as either 1947, 1948, 1951 or 1952.”

During that interview with the Guardian, Meat Loaf pulled his passport out of his back pocket. It said 1951. “By this gesture I am given to understand that he wishes to put an end to the matter, but it doesn’t quite erase the sentence ‘I was born on September 27 1947,’ which comes from his own 1999 autobiography. I suppose the legal document takes precedent,” the Guardian wrote.

Meat Loaf also created many different stories about getting the name “Meat Loaf.” He told a new story every time someone asked him about it.

Meat Loaf told many different stories about how he got his stage name

According to the Guardian, Meat Loaf’s dad “gave him the nickname when he was still a baby, long before his size would come to make it seem like a taunt.”

In 2016, Meat Loaf told Oprah Winfrey, “I got it when I was four days old. Not the Loaf part, just the Meat, because I was born bright red.

“The doctor suggested they should keep me in the hospital for a few days and my dad said, ‘He looks like nine-and-a-half pounds of ground chuck [meat]. I want you to put a name tag on the front of that plastic crib with Meat on it.'”

The “Loaf” part of the name came when he was in eighth grade. “I stepped on a [football] coach’s foot, and he screamed, ‘Get off my foot you hunk of meat loaf!'”


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He changed his name to Michael before he became Meat Loaf

Before becoming famous, the singer changed his name to Michael because of a hurtful commercial. Meat Loaf explained to CNN that he was “so big” that he “couldn’t fit into blue jeans” when he was young.

When a Levi’s commercial came on the air that said, “Poor fat Marvin can’t wear Levi’s,” Meat Loaf was mortified. He was only about seven years old. So, after that, no one called him Marvin.

However, Meat Loaf later made it permanent. Around the early 1980s, he went before a Connecticut judge and told him the story. He wanted to change his name from Marvin to Michael. The judge took pity on him and completely understood. While it takes weeks to change your name, the judge stamped his seal of approval then and there.

According to the Independent, Meat Loaf once said, “Names and ages p*** me off. So I just continually lie.” Meat Loaf might have always fudged the story about his age and name, but we understand why. Names were clearly a sore subject.

While his passport briefly said “Meat Loaf” in the late 1970s, the singer kept “Michael Aday” as his legal name. Although, everyone called him “Meat” until the day he died.