Executive Producer Steve Popovich (best known for making Meat Loaf famous) died June 8 in his apartment in
Murfreesboro,TN. According to Billboard, his cause of death has yet to be determined. He was 68.
Popovich was born in Nemacolin, PA, in 1942. After his father passed away, his family moved to Cleveland where he landed a job at the Columbia Records warehouse unloading trucks. He was also playing bass in a band called the Twilighters. He continually worked his way up the ranks at the label's promotion department.
By the age of 26, he was the Vice President for CBS Records in New York City, working with a roster that included artists like Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He also signed the Jackson 5 to Epic Records after they left Motown, but in 1976 he left CBS to form Cleveland International Records.
After multiple record companies passed on Meat Loaf, Popovich released Bat Out of Hell in 1977 on the Cleveland label. His determination clearly paid off--the album sold more than 14 million copies in the United States alone. In 1995, Popovich and his former partners sued Sony (which had bought Columbia/Epic Records) for unpaid Bat Out of Hell royalties. He won his case for $7 million. Sony was required to place the Cleveland International logo on the reissues; however, the company failed to do so. Popovich sued a second time and was awarded another $5 million in 2005.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that his funeral will be held at the Monreal Funeral Home in Eastlake, Ohio, and the burial will be held at Western Reserve Memorial Gardens in Chesterland, Ohio.