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Meat Loaf, “Bat Out of Hell” rock superstar, dies at 74

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Meat Loaf, “Bat Out of Hell” rock superstar, dies at 74

NEW YORK — Meat Loaf, the heavyweight rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” has died. He was 74.

The singer born Marvin Lee Aday died Thursday, according to a family statement provided by his longtime agent Michael Greene.

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight,” the statement said. “We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man… From his heart to your souls… don’t ever stop rocking!”

No cause or other details were given, but Aday had numerous health scares over the years.

“Bat Out of Hell,” his mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren, came out in 1977 and made him one of the most recognizable performers in rock.

Fans fell hard for the roaring vocals of the long-haired, 250-plus pound singer and for the comic non-romance of the title track, “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” an operatic cautionary tale about going all the way.

“Paradise” was a duet with Ellen Foley that featured play-by-play from New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto, who alleged — to much skepticism — that he was unaware of any alternate meanings to reaching third base and heading for home.

After a slow start and mixed reviews, “Bat Out of Hell” became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies. Meat Loaf wasn’t a consistent hit maker, especially after falling out for years with Steinman. But he maintained close ties with his fans through his manic live shows, social media and his many television, radio and film appearances, including “Fight Club” and cameos on “Glee” and “South Park.”

Friends and fans mourned his death on social media. “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf,” actor Stephen Fry said on Twitter. Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock.” And Adam Lambert called Meat Loaf: “A gentle hearted powerhouse rock star forever and ever. You were so kind. Your music will always be iconic.”

Meat Loaf’s biggest musical success after “Bat Out of Hell” was “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell,” a 1993 reunion with Steinman that sold more than 15 million copies and featured the Grammy-winning single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”

Steinman died in April.

Aday’s other albums included “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose,” “Hell in a Handbasket” and “Braver Than We Are.” His songs included “Dead Ringer for Love” with Cher and she shared on Twitter that she “had so much fun” on the duet. “Am very sorry for his family, friends and fans.”

A native of Dallas, Aday was the son of a school teacher who raised him on her own after divorcing his alcoholic father, a police officer. Aday was singing and acting in high school (Mick Jagger was an early favorite, so was Ethel Merman) and attended Lubbock Christian College and what is now the University of North Texas. Among his more notable childhood memories: Seeing John F. Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, then learning the president had been assassinated and driving to Parkland Hospital and watching a bloodied Jackie Kennedy step out of a car.

He was still a teenager when his mother died and when he acquired the nickname Meat Loaf, the alleged origins of which range from his weight to a favorite recipe of his mother’s. He left for Los Angeles after college and was soon fronting the band Meat Loaf Soul. For years, he alternated between music and the stage, recording briefly for Motown, opening for such acts as the Who and the Grateful Dead and appearing in the Broadway production of “Hair.”

By the mid-1970s, he was playing the lobotomized biker Eddie in the theater and film versions of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” had served as an understudy for his friend John Belushi for the stage production of National Lampoon and had begun working with Steinman on “Bat Out of Hell.” The dense, pounding production was openly influenced by Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen, whose bandmates Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg played on the record. Rundgren initially thought of the album as a parody of Springsteen’s grandiose style.

Steinman had known Meat Loaf since the singer appeared in his 1973 musical “More Than You Deserve” and some of the songs on “Bat Out of Hell,” including “All Revved Up With No Place to Go,” were initially written for a planned stage show based on the story of Peter Pan. “Bat Out of Hell” took more than two years to find a taker as numerous record executives turned it down, including RCA’s Clive Davis, who disparaged Steinman’s songs and acknowledged that he had misjudged the singer: “The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf, despite a powerful voice, just didn’t look like a star,” Davis wrote in his memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life.”

With the help of another Springsteen sideman, Steve Van Zandt, “Bat Out of Hell” was acquired by Cleveland International, a subsidiary of Epic Records. The album made little impact until months after its release, when a concert video of the title track was aired on the British program the Old Grey Whistle Test. In the U.S., his connection to “Rocky Horror” helped when he convinced producer Lou Adler to use a video for “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” as a trailer for the cult movie. But Meat Loaf was so little known at first that he began his “Bat Out of Hell” tour in Chicago as the opening act for Cheap Trick, then one of the world’s hottest groups.

“I remember pulling up at the theater and it says, ‘TONIGHT: CHEAP TRICK, WITH MEAT LOAF.’ And I said to myself, ‘These people think we’re serving dinner,’” Meat Loaf explained in 2013 on the syndicated radio show “In the Studio.”

“And we walk out on stage and these people were such Cheap Trick fans they booed us from the start. They were getting up and giving us the finger. The first six rows stood up and screamed… When we finished, most of the boos had stopped and we were almost getting applause.”

He is survived by Deborah Gillespie, his wife since 2007, and by daughters Pearl and Amanda Aday.

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AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed from Los Angeles.

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Ex-Minneapolis officer pleads guilty in George Floyd killing

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Ex-Minneapolis officer pleads guilty in George Floyd killing

By AMY FORLITI, STEVE KARNOWSKI and MOHAMED IBRAHIM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, admitting that he intentionally helped restrain the Black man in a way that created an unreasonable risk and caused his death.

As part of Thomas Lane’s plea agreement, a more serious count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed. Lane and former Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have already been convicted on federal counts of willfully violating Floyd’s rights. While they have yet to be sentenced on the federal charges, Lane’s change of plea means he will avoid what could have been a lengthy state sentence if he was convicted of murder.

The guilty plea comes a week before the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, killing. Floyd, 46, died after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned him to the ground with a knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The killing, captured on widely viewed bystander video, sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the globe as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.

Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, who was handcuffed. Lane held down Floyd’s legs and Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back. Thao kept bystanders from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

All three are free on bond; the state trial scheduled for June is expected to proceed for Kueng, who is Black, and Thao, who is Hmong American.

Lane is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21.

In his plea agreement, Lane admitted that he knew from his training that restraining Floyd in that way created a serious risk of death, and that he heard Floyd say he couldn’t breathe, knew Floyd fell silent, had no pulse and appeared to have lost consciousness.

The plea agreement says Lane knew Floyd should have been rolled onto his side — and evidence shows he asked twice if that should be done — but he continued to assist in the restraint despite the risk. Lane agreed the restraint was “unreasonable under the circumstances and constituted an unlawful use of force.”

The state and Lane’s attorneys agreed to a recommended sentence of three years — which is below state sentencing guidelines — and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that penalty at the same time as any federal sentence, and in a federal prison. One legal expert said this would appeal to Lane because he would have less chance of being incarcerated with people he had arrested.

Lane, who is white, told Judge Peter Cahill that he understood the agreement. When asked how he would plead, he said: “Guilty, your honor.”

Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case, issued a statement saying he was pleased that Lane accepted responsibility.

“His acknowledgment he did something wrong is an important step toward healing the wounds of the Floyd family, our community, and the nation,” Ellison said. “While accountability is not justice, this is a significant moment in this case and a necessary resolution on our continued journey to justice.”

Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said in a statement that Lane did not want to risk a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of murder, so he agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter.

“He has a newborn baby and did not want to risk not being part of the child’s life,” Gray said.

Wednesday’s hearing was streamed over Zoom for Floyd’s family members. Their attorneys issued a statement afterward, saying Lane’s plea “reflects a certain level of accountability,” but that it came only after his federal conviction.

“Hopefully, this plea helps usher in a new era where officers understand that juries will hold them accountable, just as they would any other citizen,” family attorneys Ben Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci said. “Perhaps soon, officers will not require families to endure the pain of lengthy court proceedings where their criminal acts are obvious and apparent.”

Chauvin pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights and faces a federal sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years. The former officer earlier was convicted of state charges of murder and manslaughter is currently serving 22 1/2 years in the state case.

Lane’s plea comes during a week when the country is focused on the deaths of 10 Black people in Buffalo, New York, at the hands of an 18-year-old white man, who carried out the racist, livestreamed shooting Saturday in a supermarket.

Lane, Kueng and Thao were convicted of federal charges in February, after a monthlong trial that focused on the officers’ training and the culture of the police department. All three were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the killing.

After their federal conviction, there was a question as to whether the state trial would proceed. At an April hearing in state court, prosecutors revealed that they had offered plea deals to all three men, but they were rejected. At the time, Gray said it was hard for the defense to negotiate when the three still don’t know what their federal sentences would be.

Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, said it’s possible Lane received a better offer, though the public doesn’t know what happened behind the scenes. As for the other officers, she said Lane’s guilty plea has “got to make them think.”

“Particularly when I think most people would conceive of Thomas Lane as the least culpable of the three — and he’s the one pleading guilty,” Moran said. “Now if you are one of the other two left standing, it might change your position. … They may have less appealing offers to work with, but it still puts pressure on them.”

Under state sentencing guidelines, a person with no criminal record could face a sentence ranging from just under 3 1/2 years to four years and nine months in prison for second-degree unintentional manslaughter, with the presumptive sentence being four years. Lane’s recommended sentence of three years, which still must be approved by the judge, would be five months less than the low range.

If Lane had been convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, he would have faced a presumptive 12 1/2 years in prison. And prosecutors served notice in 2020 that they intended to seek longer sentences for Lane, Kueng and Thao — as they did for Chauvin.

“That’s a very sweet deal,” John Baker, a former defense attorney who teaches aspiring police officers at St. Cloud State University, said of Lane’s agreement.

Baker said a guilty plea makes sense and he would not be surprised if at least one of the other former officers also took a deal.

An attorney for Thao, Robert Paule, was in the courtroom for Lane’s plea hearing. When asked if his client would also plead guilty, he replied “No comment.”

Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, also declined to comment.

Storms, one of the Floyd family attorneys, said the deal with Lane happened “very quickly.” When asked if he knew of any other possible negotiations with Thao or Kueng, he declined to comment on that, but said: “I think the family is hopeful, now that a state and federal jury have spoken, that the other officers will voluntarily be held accountable.”

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at:

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Amar’e Stoudemire clarifies comments on Kyrie Irving and leaving the Nets

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Amar’e Stoudemire clarifies comments on Kyrie Irving and leaving the Nets

Former Nets assistant Amar’e Stoudemire suggested there’s no bad blood between him, the Nets or Kyrie Irving, and that the media took his words in an appearance on ESPN’s First Take out of context.

Stoudemire, who broke the news of his departure from Steve Nash’s coaching staff in a May 12 nationally-televised conversation with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, posted a video with a caption that categorized the media as “misinformed” on Wednesday for the widespread reporting that he quit on the Nets after two failed seasons in Brooklyn without an NBA title – or a trip beyond the second round of the playoffs.

“I want to clarify something: I’m seeing articles right now popping up saying ‘Amar’e quits the Nets and criticized Kyrie on his way out,’” the former Phoenix Suns All-Star forward said in the video. “That’s not the case.”

In his discussion on ESPN, Stoudemire also admitted Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 played a role in the Nets’ early season struggles that eventually led to them not being prepared or cohesive enough to secure a win against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

New York City’s vaccine mandate rendered the All-Star guard ineligible for home games until late March, and the Nets moved in lockstep with the city mandate, ruling Irving ineligible for road games and home practices until making him eligible in mid-December with his debut coming in early January.

“Yeah, I think (not having Kyrie) hurt us,” Stoudemire said on May 12. “It definitely hurt us because we didn’t have the consistency with Kyrie enough to build chemistry for the group with the team. He plays only on away games depending on which city it is, can’t play in New York, therefore you have different lineups and different matchups depending on the game schedule.

“So it made it difficult for us coaches to figure out who’s going to play in spite of Kyrie. The chemistry is not where we would like it to be, so it was difficult for us to manage that.”

Stoudemire clarified those comments on Instagram on Wednesday after multiple local and national news outlets posted stories suggesting his comments were a dig at Irving on his way out the Nets’ doors.

“Why would I criticize someone who’s as similar as I am? I also fast during the NBA season for Yom Kippur,” he said. “I’m also a guy who has religious intake. I’m also a guy who’s an activist, who speaks about African-American communities. So why would I criticize someone who’s as similar as I am?

“The media will try to turn your words against your fellow friend or organization to provide more viewers or clicks to their article,” he continued. “I’m not gonna allow that to happen. You’re not gonna turn me against Kyrie, you’re not gonna turn me against the Nets, you’re not gonna turn me against anyone. So you can forget about it.”

The short-lived Nets player development coach also said he spoke to Steve Nash prior to going onto First Take and left his job because he didn’t feel it was a good fit from a scheduling standpoint.

Stoudemire converted to Judaism in August of 2020 and said his inability to work during Shabbat – from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday – made him feel he couldn’t grow in the coaching space.

“Not working on Friday night and Saturdays is difficult for anyone to grow in the coaching space because coaching is such a grind. It requires you to be there full-time,” he said. “And for me, I was unable to grow in that space, so I did not want to continue coaching, and on the flip side, the Nets organization wants people who can be there full-time, and I totally understand that. Therefore, it was a mutual organization between them and I.

“(The Nets are a) beautiful organization, Sean Marks and I are great friends, Steve Nash and I are good friends,” he continued. “I had a beautiful time, an amazing experience with the organization. There’s no hard feelings no way, no how. There’s no quitting on my side. I was there for 2 years sacrificing my time away from my family for those 2 year but still was able to hold down the fort and fulfill my obligation. So there’s no quitting from that standpoint.”

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Dolphins waive quarterback as Melvin Ingram signing made official

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Dolphins waive quarterback as Melvin Ingram signing made official

The Miami Dolphins officially announced the signing of edge rusher Melvin Ingram while waiving quarterback Chris Streveler on Wednesday.

Streveler spent the early phases of the Dolphins’ offseason workout program in Miami and was waived amid the team’s first week of organized team activities after originally being signed on Feb. 22.

Streveler has appeared in seven career games over the past two NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, completing 17-of25 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. He was waived by the Cardinals last November and finished out the 2021 season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad.

Streveler has appeared in seven career games over the past two NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, completing 17-of-25 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. He was waived by the Cardinals last November and finished out the 2021 season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad.

The Dolphins agreed to terms with Ingram, a three-time Pro Bowl edge defender who is 33, on Sunday.

Coach Mike McDaniel declined to comment on the acquisition at Tuesday’s first media availability of organized team activities because Ingram had not yet signed, but linebacker Jerome Baker said: “He’s a playmaker. He goes hard every play. He has a high motor. I’m excited. He’s a veteran. He’s going to bring that to the young guys and we’re all going to learn from him.”

Ingram has 373 tackles, 51 sacks, three interceptions, 29 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in his 10 NFL seasons, nine with the Chargers. He split last season between the Steelers and Chiefs after being dealt at last season’s trade deadline.

In the second half of the 2021 season in Kansas City, Ingram started six games, making 15 tackles and a sack. He then started all three of the Chiefs’ playoff games, adding five tackles and two postseason sacks. He was touted for the number of quarterback pressures he provided during the stretch, in addition to the three total sacks.

With experience playing outside linebacker and defensive end, Ingram, at 6-foot-2, 247 pounds, figures to mostly play outside linebacker with Miami. The Dolphins, however, can switch between 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, allowing him to exhibit his versatility, similar to Jaelan Phillips in his rookie year.

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