Youth, hormones, baseball, sex in a car and a promise of a lifetime come together in a unique and wonderfully entertaining way in Paradise By The Dashboard Light, the third single released from Meat Loaf’s first album Bat Out Of Hell.
Jim Steinman Penned Paradise By The Dashboard Light
All the songs on the album were composed by Jim Steinman, who collaborated repeatedly with Meat Loaf and achieved a very personal sound that Steinman carried on to the rest of his work as a soloist and in conjunction with other artists.
An 8 Minutes And 28 Seconds Long Track
It is a relatively long song and lasts 8 minutes and 28 seconds in its original version, which is the only one that deserves to be listened to because its duration is due to the fact that it tells a complete story and cutting it inevitably eliminates important sections. In general terms, it tells us about a night of passion between two teenagers and is divided into 3 different parts. The first is titled Paradise, the second is Let Me Sleep On It, and finally Praying For The End Of Time, and each one tells us about a part of that night.
Paradise (Part One)
He parks the car in front of a lake and there is no other vehicle in sight. Here begins the story of that night and everything is narrated by the two young people as a story and also as a dialogue. A confident and self-assured boy is in his car with the girl everyone likes at his school and feels he couldn’t be more fortunate, they are both on the same page and at this moment it seems that the outcome is already written . In this verse we also see the origin of the title, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, which refers to the light emitted by the dashboard or dashboard of a car that at that moment illuminates them both.
But now comes the first change in style and baseball appears on the scene and through a narration by Phil Rizzuto, a commentator for the New York Times, we hear with a direct analogy to this sport the advances of the boy to finally conquer it. He tells us how he is progressing at each base and just when he is about to get home the girl jumps singing as he asks if he really loves her and will do it forever.
Let Me Sleep On It (Part Two)
When the boy was sure of achieving his mission, she stops him and bombards him with questions about what he will do after he has sex with her. This flurry of questions completely stops him and leaves him stupefied, in his voice there is stagger and for a moment he doubts. And now comes the part that gives its name to the second segment, Let Me Sleep On It.
Praying For The End Of Time (Last Part)
He made his promise and vowed he wouldn’t break it and now they can’t even see each other, but they must stay together forever. As often happens in relationships that start exclusively with passion, the charm soon fades and gives way to the true personality of each one, which will hardly be compatible with the other. In other words, the boy condemned the rest of his life for a night of passion with the woman who was the object of his desire. The song ends with the two singing the opening lines as a reminder of why they are now as they are.
Ellen Foley O The Album And Karla DeVito On The Video And Live Performances
Musically it is lively and complex, energy rises and falls according to the lines that the two protagonists sing and despite the length of the song, it is so entertaining that it ends before you know it. As in Jim Steinman’s productions, the piano is present as the main instrument. The style is rock’n’roll and has a funk segment when listening to the baseball narration. Meat Loaf provides the lead vocals, and the girl is played by Ellen Foley on the album and Karla DeVito on the video and live performances.
Featuring Todd Rundgren And Edgar Winter
Several prominent musicians played on this song including Todd Rundgren on guitar, Edgar Winter on saxophone, and Steinman himself on keyboards.
Meatloaf’s Timeless Song
Paradise By The Dashboard Light is one of the most representative songs in Meat Loaf’s discography and despite the years that have passed since its release, it retains the same energy as when it was new because it deals with themes that will simply never go out of style since rooted in the behavior of two people who want each other.
I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) Considered As The Part II Of Paradise By The Dashboard Light
In 1993, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell was released, containing the single I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), which deals with a very similar theme, but from the point of view of two people. with more maturity and gives us a different vision from 1977.