Paradise by the Dashboard Light is a rock song written by Jim Stienman. It the sixth track of the album Bat Out of Hell by American rock singer Meat Loaf.
- Part I. Paradise
The song opens with the characters 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", and the boy insists they're "gonna go all the way tonight. We're gonna go all the way, and tonight's the night!"
- Baseball broadcast
His pushing the matter is mirrored by New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto broadcasting a portion of a baseball game that serves as a metaphor for his attempts to "go all the way."
Rizzuto's baseball play-by-play call was recorded in 1976 at The Hit Factory in New York City by Todd Rundgren, Meat Loaf and Steinman. Rizzuto publicly maintained he was unaware that his contribution would be equated with sex in the finished song, but Meat Loaf asserts that Rizzuto only feigned ignorance to stifle some criticism from a priest and was fully aware of the context of what he was recording.
- Part II. Let Me Sleep on It
Just as the boy is about to "go all the way," the girl bursts out, telling him to "Stop right there!" She refuses to go any further unless the boy first promises to love her forever and marry her. Reluctant to make such a long-term commitment, the boy repeatedly asks her to continue on for the time being and promises to give his answer in the morning. However, as she is not giving in that easily, so that he finally cracks and gives his promise in the third part of the song.
Part III. Praying for the End of Time
"I started swearing to my God and on my mother's grave/That I would love you to the end of time". - Meat Loaf
Back in the present, the man can't stand to see his wife any longer. However, the male character cannot possibly break his vow and hence is now praying for the end of time to relieve him from his obligation. The song fades out on the situation, juxtaposing his gloomy "It was long ago, it was far away, it was so much better than it is today!" with her joyous "It never felt so good, it never felt so right, we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife."
The single peaked at #39 on the U.S. Billboard. nevertheless, the song has become a magnum opus for Meat Loaf. It rached number 1 in the Netherlands, but didn't make the charts in the U.K. "Paradise" became a hit again in 1988. In various all time charts, such as the Radio 2 Top 2000 or Radio Veronica's All Time Top 1000, it consistently charts inside the top ten.
This song is featured as downloadable content for the Rock Band video games.