For a generation, Meat Loaf’s passionate voice was the soundtrack to so many carefree nights and happy memories.
The singer, whose real name is Michael Lee Aday, stood out from other rock performers thanks to his impressive vocal range, which was more like an opera star’s than a rock star’s.
Meat Loaf’s impressive command of his talent made him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. But that only makes the news that he might never sing again even more tragic.
Aday, now 71, told Rolling Stone earlier this year that lingering back problems and surgeries have left him to depend on a walker, unable to get in and out of bed by himself.
A bizarre incident from Meat Loaf's childhood when his father tried to stab him with a butcher’s knife is at least partly to blame for his injuries.
"I woke up one morning and bam! It felt like a knife right into my spine," he revealed to the Telegraph. "I couldn’t stand, it hurt like hell."
The singer also suffered a pinched nerve in 2015, and attempts to repair his back with surgery have not helped much.
Now that Meat Loaf can hardly walk around his home unassisted, he says that performing on stage is out of the question.
"You use everything to sing," he told Rolling Stone, "and I just cannot do it."
"My back is driving me crazy. But then I’m probably a little crazy anyway, because of all the concussions."
As the singer admits, he’s suffered 18 concussions throughout his life, and believes they may have had a lasting effect on his heath.
"I've fallen three stories, been in car wrecks, near misses, emergency landings so many times I should have died," he revealed, calling himself "a cat with 48 lives."
But the slurred speech fans sometimes notice in his interviews is not because of addiction or his health problems, according to Meat Loaf. He blames it on a naturally swollen tongue.
"I don't drink, don't do drugs, don't go to clubs, I don't do any of that rock and roll stuff," he insisted. "I'm the most boring human being on the face of the earth."
Despite the pain, Aday is not ready to give up on returning to the stage just yet.
"From how I grew up, that's where I learned to be tough and to never stop," he said.
"I mean, I'm tough as nails. Once I was hit in the head with a pool cue and just turned to the guy and said, 'You just made a big mistake.' Got hit in the head with a whiskey bottle. Had my head slammed into a locker. I've had 18 concussions. And nothing, nothing has ever put me down. Yeah, man – I never go down."
True to his word, Meat Loaf has embarked another world tour since his interview with Rolling Stone, but has not been singing on stage. Instead, American Idol winner Caleb Johnson was recruited to perform in Meat Loaf’s place.
The singer is still tagging along for the tour, but only to tell stories about himself and Bat Out Of Hell songwriter Jim Steinman.