Meat Loaf

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Song Review by

Meatloaf's reminiscence about a back-seat love affair is a 14-minute tour de force penned by Jim Steinman. The song was a part of a longer, epic teen drama which formed the basis for the album Bat out of Hell (1978), which ultimately achieved platinum status seven times over. In one of rock's strangest twists, singer Karla DeVito appeared in the famous video version of the song, though on the record the female part was played by Ellen Foley; neither woman became famous in her own right, though one might've predicted it would've been a lucky break for any background vocalist. Perhaps they were lucky; as it is, they are saddled with the identity of the women who repeatedly sang the lines, "'Cause we were barely 17 and we were barely dressed." As the loving couple in the song covers the bases, the game is called by announcer and former Yankee Phil Rizzuto. But it is Meatloaf's vocal performance that provides the meat here; sweaty, impulsive, full of bravado, and with no shame, the Loaf plows through the verses and changes in the song's tempo and range with operatic dexterity. There are no known existing rock band covers of the song -- it would be akin to a mere mortal band attempting something as over the top as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- it simply can't be done. However, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays the Music of Meatloaf contains an orchestrated, instrumental version of the rock opus.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bat Out of Hell 1977 Epic / Legacy 8:30
Max Weinberg Presents: Let There Be Drums, Vol. 3 197?
Various Artists
Rhino 8:31
Hits Out of Hell 1984 Epic 8:29
Hits out of Hell 1991 EPC
Leap of Faith 1992
Original Soundtrack
MCA 8:24
Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell 1993 Geffen 0:00
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:29
The Definitive Collection 1995 Sony Music Distribution 9:57
Cleveland International Records, 1977-1983 1995
Various Artists
Cleveland International 8:28
Ultimate Rock 'N' Roll Collection [EMI] 1996
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution
Whole Lotta Rock: 1978-1979 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 8:28
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1970-1978 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 8:28
The Very Best of Meatloaf 1998 Epic 8:25
Dead Ringer/Midnight at the Lost and Found/Bat Out of Hell 1999 Sony Music Distribution 8:28
Masters 1999 Sony Music Distribution 9:59
Rock: Train Kept a Rollin' 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:57
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:57
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '70s, Vol. 4-5 1999
Various Artists
Collectables 5:32
Classic Rock 70's 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 8:29
Then: 1978-1979 2002
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution 8:28
Jukebox Hits of the '70s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 5:32
Rock This 2002
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 8:29
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 5:32
Fallen Angel 2003 Epic 8:29
World's Best Ever Beer Songs 2005 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 8:24
V8 Supercars: A Full Tank of Rock 2005
Various Artists
Festival Records 8:30
The Ultimate Rock Ballads Collection [Time Life] 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 8:30
The Ultimate Rock Ballads Collection: The Flame 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 8:30
No Image 2008 Epic 8:30
Pure... 70s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 5:31
The Essential Meat Loaf 2011 Epic 8:25
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock Hits 2012
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 8:30
Playlist: The Very Best of Meat Loaf 2012 Cleveland International / Epic / Legacy 8:29
The Heart of Classic Rock [Box Set]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 8:29
The Long Versions
Various Artists
Double Power 8:27