A lengthy classic rock staple, divided in three parts, and carrying as much nostalgic value as it expresses in its lyrics. If that didn’t stir your memory, the iconic opening guitar riff and unforgettable lyrics certainly will. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is one of those songs that I’ve found people either love or hate, but no one can deny its success. I can say with certainty, that I’m on the side of those who love it.
Released on October 21st 1977, the song was first released on Meat Loaf’s bestselling album Bat Out of Hell, and was a whopping 8 minutes 30 seconds long. It was written by Jim Steinman, and sung by Meat Loaf alongside Ellen Foley. The entertaining variety of styles and emotions expressed through the song are what make it stand out.
“I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday…”
The first time I heard Meat Loaf’s and Ellen Folly’s expressive vocals I was 15 years old and hiding in the corner of a dance at a summer camp, when the generic dance-pop was interrupted by the sounds of guitar and piano, and people scrambled to find partners. Caught up in the chaos, I found myself following a wild choreography everyone seemed to know by heart as “Do you love me!? / Will you love me forever!?” belted from the speakers.
“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is a song about the ”good old days”, of teenage shenanigans, but also of life not turning out as bright as you thought it would. It can make you kick up your heels with an upbeat rhythm, or sway to the slower tune of “Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night”. The vocals are gleefully theatrical, and the music is classic rock-opera. While it might not suit some people’s tastes, to me this song is an experience, one I won’t forget anytime soon.
“It was long ago and it was far away / And It was so much better that it is today…”