How did the rock star born Marvin Aday get his stage moniker? It depends on the day. Aday so hates being asked the question constantly over the years that he likes to, as he says, “just continually lie.” Here are just a few of the multiple stories he’s told about how he got the name “Meat Loaf.”
When he was a child, Aday was messing around with some friends, and he bragged that his head was so thick and strong that a Volkswagen could run over it and he’d be fine. Another kid said no way, that his head would “turn into meatloaf.” The terrible wager was accepted, and Aday lay down on the ground, and one of the kids put the VW into gear, and it ran over Aday’s head. He was a little dazed, but otherwise no worse for the wear. Despite the fact that his head didn’t turn into meatloaf, the kids still nicknamed him “Meat Loaf.”When he was a teenager, Aday was a passenger on a plane…that crashed. He survived, of course, and only sustained minor injuries and some brain damage. For the weeks after the accident in which he was hospitalized, the only word that he could say was “meat.”
In 2016, Meat Loaf appeared in an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? Winfrey asked him about his colorful name, and he offered up a new story, contrary to other ones that have floated around over the decades, which he claims is the real one. Four days after he was born in 1947, he was still bright red, and doctors advised his parents to keep the baby at the hospital until his condition improved. He slept in a plastic crib, and for the nametag, Aday’s father asked a nurse to write “Meat,” because he looked like “nine-and-a-half pounds of ground chuck.” The nametag indeed read “Meat,” and that became his childhood nickname. The “loaf” part came when he was a heavyset teenage football player. Aday accidentally stepped on his coach’s foot, and the man yelled, “Get off my foot, you hunk of meat loaf!” Another kid overheard, and the meat with the loaf and put a piece of tape on Aday’s locker that read “Meat Loaf.”
No matter what the true story is, the ironic twist is that Aday has never been offended by the “Meat Loaf” nickname—it was his real name that wound up hurting his feelings. As he related on an episode of CNN’s Piers Morgan Live, he was overweight in the first grade and couldn’t find jeans that fit, and he had to resort to pleated pants. Around the same time, Levi’s started an ad campaign that included the slogan, “poor fat Marvin can’t wear Levi’s.” Aday said that being called Marvin suddenly hurt so much that everybody started using his “Meat Loaf” nickname. Aday was so traumatized by the commercial that in 1984 he legally changed his first name from Marvin to Michael.