Meat Loaf was born in Dallas, Texas. The product of a family of gospel singers, he moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and formed a group known as both Meat Loaf Soul and Popcorn Blizzard. The band earned some renown through opening gigs in support of the Who, the Stooges, and Ted Nugent before Meat Loaf won a role in a West Coast production of the musical Hair. During a tour stop in Detroit, he and a fellow castmate named Stoney teamed to record the 1971 LP Stoney & Meat Loaf for Motown's Rare Earth imprint.
After a tenure in the off-Broadway production Rainbow (In New York), Meat Loaf earned a slot in More Than You Deserve, a musical written by classically trained pianist Jim Steinman. An appearance in the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show followed, and in 1976 Meat Loaf also handled vocal duties on one side of Nugent's LP Free-for-All. Soon, Meat Loaf re-teamed with Steinman for a tour with the National Lampoon Road Show, after which Steinman began composing a musical update of the Peter Pan story titled Never Land.