“Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” is the sixth song from the iconic late American musician Meat Loaf (Michael Lee Aday, who sadly passed away on the 20th January 2022 from COVID-19) and his debut album “Bat Out of Hell”.
The over 8-minute-long track is considered to be a staple of the classic rock genre, and is one of the seven songs that was developed for the “Bat Out of Hell” album, with the first three tracks stemming from Jim Steinman’s Pete Pan inspired rock musical “Neverland“. It has been said that both Steinman and Rundgren were inspired by Phil Spector and his music production formula titled “The Wall of Sound”. Using this formula, “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” was born, with Steinman stating that he wanted to write a track that was the “ultimate car/sex song in which everything goes horribly wrong in the end.”
The epic song is split into four parts, each part telling a story of two seventeen year olds in a parked car, about to be intimate for the very first time: Part One: “Paradise”, “Part Two: A Radio Broadcast. Part Three: “Let Me Sleep On It” and Part Four: “Praying For the End of Time”. Each part of the song tells a different story, going through the emotions and feelings of both teenagers before they have sex, with the young woman’s part being sung by Ellen Foley. The first part describes the couple parking near a lake, with Meat Loaf telling the young woman how they will “go all the way tonight”.
The second part takes the form of a radio broadcast, with a baseball game being broadcasted, using the game as a metaphor for the couple’s first sexual experience. As one team is about to win the game, the female teenager interjects Meat Loaf’s advances, stating she will only be intimate with him if he promises to marry her and be with her forever.
The third part of the song sees Meat Loaf asking his girlfriend to be patient and to let him sleep on the decision, asking her to consent and promising to give her an answer in the morning. However, Meat Loaf ultimately agrees to the young woman’s promise.
The fourth and final part of the song takes the audience to the present, where Meat Loaf can no longer stand his girlfriend, but still remaining true and honest to her and his promise that listeners find out was made years and years ago. The song sees the two characters in a juxtaposition about the relationship, with Meat Loaf stating “it was long ago, it was far away, it was so much better than it is today”, while Foley states: “it never felt so good, it never felt so right, we re glowing like metal on the edge of a knife.”
The music video was uploaded to Meat Loaf’s YouTube channel in February 2013, and was given a budget of $30,000 dollars due to Meat Loaf being able to convince his label for a high budget to create films of live-on-soundstage performances of three songs from the “Bat Out of Hell” album. Ellen Foley declined to be on the tour, so Karla DeVito replaced her. However, the “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” video was made by syncing DeVito’s performance with Foley’s vocals. As of late January 2022, the video had a total of 62.2 million views and 260 thousand likes.
“Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” is certified Silver in the UK and Platinum in Australia, Canada and the US.
Read the lyrics to “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.