July 24, 2024


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Song of the day for March 11, 2024

2 min read

Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf is the featured song for today.

On this day in 1978, Meat Loaf‘s debut album Bat Out Of Hell began its record-breaking 416-week run on the UK chart. Despite spending almost nine years on the best-sellers list, it never reached the top spot, peaking at No. 9. In America, the album (which began Meatloaf’s long association with noted songwriter and producer Jim Steinman) plateaued at No.13 during an 83-week chart reign. To date, it has sold in excess of 43 million copies worldwide and has been certified 14x Platinum by the RIAA.

The album was not an immediate hit in the United States. Reviews were initially mixed but have since become much more positive. On release, Dave Marsh’s review in Rolling Stone called the songs “swell, but… entirely mannered and derivative” and noted that the arrangements “aren’t bad” and commended the musicians. He concluded by noting that the “principals have some growing to do.”

The song is divided into four parts:

Part 1: Paradise

The song opens with a male and female character reminiscing about days as a young high school couple on a date. They are parking by a lake and having fun, experiencing “paradise by the dashboard light”, until the young male character insists, they’re “gonna go all the way tonight”.

Part 2: Baseball broadcast

The male character’s advances are mirrored by New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto broadcasting a portion of a baseball game that serves as a metaphor for the male character’s attempts to achieve his goal, accompanied by funk instrumentation and back-and-forth dialog between the male and female characters.

Part 3: “Stop Right There!”

Just as the couple is about to consummate, the female character suddenly sings “Stop right there!” She refuses to go any further unless the male character first promises to love her forever and marry her. Reluctant to make such a long-term commitment, the male character repeatedly asks her to consent and promises to give his answer in the morning. The female character remains steadfast, and the male character finally offers his promise: “I started swearing to my God and on my mother’s grave/That I would love you to the end of time”.

Part 4: Praying for the end of time.

Back in the present, both characters express how each can no longer stand the other. Remaining true to the vow he made on that night in the past, he is now “praying for the end of time” to arrive and relieve him from his obligation. The song gradually fades out, juxtaposing his gloomy “it was long ago, it was far away, it was so much better than it is today!” with her nostalgic “it never felt so good, it never felt so right, we were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife”.

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