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Monday, October 31, 2011

Paradise by the dashboard light




 A song like Paradise By The Dashboard Light appears to come out of nowhere and take the world by storm. Appears to. But the reality is, like most songs of its kind, it was a long road to even get that album,  Bat Out Of Hell, produced and even harder to get it noticed.
The history of the performers and contributors to the song, the album and the tour that ended up being the video for the song shows that a very unique mix of performers came together to produce the magic and the memories of that song. The basics of that song and their performance on stage were really a theatrical performance, for which all the major players had vast experience.


A song that truly came together because of so many elements that had been brewing for years and all came together in one magical moment.

 The key players in the song.

 Meat Loaf

Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf is an American hard rock musician and actor. He is noted for the Bat Out of Hell album trilogy.
Meat Loaf has also appeared in over 50 movies or television shows, sometimes as himself or as characters resembling his stage persona. His most notable roles include Eddie in the American premiere of The Rocky Horror Show and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

 


 In Los Angeles, Marvin formed his first band, "Meat Loaf Soul".During the recording of their first song, he hit a note so high that he managed to blow a fuse on the recording monitor. He was immediately offered three recording contracts, which he turned down.
 The band then underwent several changes of lead guitar, changing the name of the band each time. The new names included Popcorn Blizzard and Floating Circus. As Floating Circus, they opened for The Who, The Fugs, The Stooges, MC5, Grateful Dead, and The Grease Band.


Meat Loaf joined the Los Angeles production of Hair. During an interview with New Zealand radio station ZM, Meat Loaf stated that the biggest life struggle he had to overcome was not being taken seriously in the music industry. He compared his treatment to that of a "circus clown."










During the winter of 1973, after returning from a short production of Rainbow in New York in Washington, D.C., Meat Loaf received a call asking him to be in The Rocky Horror Show asking him to play the parts of Eddie and Dr. Everett Scott. The success of the play led to the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show where Meat Loaf played only Eddie, a decision he has said he felt was "a huge mistake."
 Meat Loaf and friend/songwriter Jim Steinman started Bat Out of Hell in 1972, but did not get serious about it until the end of 1974. Meat Loaf decided to leave theater and concentrate exclusively on music. Then, the National Lampoon Show opened on Broadway, and it needed an understudy for John Belushi, a close friend of Meat Loaf since 1972. It was at the Lampoon Show that Meat Loaf met Ellen Foley, the co-star who sang "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with him on the album Bat Out of Hell.


 Ellen Foley on Night Court. This is how most of us Forty something know her.





 Jim Steinman


Jim Steinman is a name that most of you have never heard of.  He was never a big star. He didn't have a big singing or acting career.

Above is a video for Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth, with Jim Steinman doing the intro with Karla Devito.



 Jim Steinman  is an American composer, lyricist, and Grammy Award-winning record producer responsible for several hit songs. He has also worked as an arranger, pianist, and singer. His work has included songs in the adult contemporary, rock and roll, dance, pop, musical theater, and film score genres.
Beginning his career in musical theater, Steinman's most notable work in the area includes lyrics for Whistle Down the Wind and music for Tanz der Vampire.





In 1974, Steinman worked with college friend Barry Keating on a musical called Rhinegold, based on Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold, writing the music and co-writing the script. Steinman wrote music and lyrics for a musical called More Than You Deserve (1973). One of the actors cast in this show was Marvin Lee Aday, who went by the name Meat Loaf, with whom Steinman later collaborated.


 In 1977, a brief workshop was held for a work-in-progress musical called Neverland. It was based loosely on Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. While preparing the show, Steinman and Meat Loaf, who were touring with the National Lampoon show, felt that three songs were "exceptional" and Steinman began to develop them as part of a seven-song set they wanted to record as an album. The three songs were "Bat out of Hell", "Heaven Can Wait" and "The Formation of the Pack", which was retitled "All Revved Up With No Place to Go."


 Todd Rundgren


Todd Rundgren is a name most of you have heard of.  With hits like "Hello Its Me" and "Can We still be friends" and many others, most know of his work.




Meat Loaf and Steinman spent time seeking a record deal. Their approaches were rejected by each record company, because their songs did not fit any specific recognized music industry style. Finally, they performed the songs for Todd Rundgren, who decided to produce the album, as well as play lead guitar on it (other members of Todd's band Utopia also lent their musical talents). They then shopped the record around, but still had no takers until Cleveland International Records decided to take a chance. On October 21, 1977, Bat Out of Hell was released.


 Karla Devito


Karla Devito is a name that almost nobody has heard before. To the world, she is just a nobody like the rest of us.

 Karla DeVito  is an American singer, actress and voice artist.



At Loyola University Chicago, she majored in theatre. During her freshman year she joined the Chicago cast of "Godspell." In 1973, she was in the cast of the popular play Hair.

The Chicago cast of Godspell.
From left to right, back row first:
Jim Parks, Carol McGill, Sammy Chester, Richard Gilliland, James Zubiena.
Jo Ann Brown-El, Tricia Smith, Howard Sponseller, Gigi Williams, Mark Ganzel
Joe Mantegna, Karla DeVito, Dan Stone
Fran Uditsky, Nancy McCall

 She was one of three girls who were approved and got to sing with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at a final audition at Asbury Park. But the idea of a female backup singer for the Born To Run album was later dropped by Bruce.

 She subsequently became a backup singer for Meat Loaf, supporting the Bat out of Hell tour (and also performed lip sync to Ellen Foley's vocals in the music videos). 


It was Ellen Foley who did the background singing as well as the duet in Paradise By the Dashboard Light.
Karla joined Meat Loaf when it was time to start touring in
late 1977.
The reason for that was, according to Meat Loaf, that
"Karla was better on stage then Ellen"

 http://karladevito.homestead.com/Biography.html


Phil Rizzuto

Unless you are a baseball fan, you don't know who Phil Rizzuto is. You probably have heard him because you have heard the song Paradise By The Dashboard light.
Philip Francis Rizzuto (September 25, 1917 – August 13, 2007), nicknamed "The Scooter", was an American Major League Baseball shortstop. He spent his entire 13-year baseball career for the New York Yankees (1941–1956).



After his playing career, Rizzuto enjoyed a 40-year career as a radio and television sports announcer for the Yankees. His idiosyncratic style and unpredictable digressions charmed listeners, while his lively play-by-play brought a distinct energy to his broadcasts. He was well known for his trademark expression, "Holy Cow!".






The song




I remember every little thing
As if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake
And there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl
Looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school
They were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!
Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Girl:
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Ain't no doubt about it
Baby got to go and shout it
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Boy:
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Baby doncha hear my heart
You got it drowning out the radio
I've been waiting so long
For you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let ya know
No you're never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes I got a big surprise
It'll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!
Though it's cold and lonley in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Paradise by the dashboard light
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely--
We're gonna go all the way tonight
We're gonna go allt he way
An tonight's the night...
Radio Broadcast:
Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker
going here, two down, nobody on, no score,
bottom of the ninth, there's the wind-up and
there it is, a line shot up the middle, look
at him go. This boy can really fly!
He's rounding first and really turning it on
now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna
try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out!
No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really
makes things happen out there.
Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch--
he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying
for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--
safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost
daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
glance over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted
down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on!
Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
here's the throw, there's the play at the plate,
holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!








II. Let Me Sleep On It
Girl:
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further--!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!!!?
Will you love me forever!!!?
Boy:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning
Girl:
I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
And will you love me forever?
Boy:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it!!!
Girl:
Will you love me forever?
Boy:
Let me sleep on it!!!
Girl:
Will you love me forever!!!
III. Praying for the End of Time
Boy:
I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!!!
Boy:
It was long ago and it was far away
and it was so much better than it is today
Girl:
It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 When I first heard this song I was 12 years old. I vaguely knew what third base meant. I liked girls and on some level wanted to have sex, but had never done so and had very little idea what it was all about. To me, third base is where you slid into if you hit a triple into the gap.  Having Phil Rizzuto as part of the song really got my attention. There was really no video in those days, as MTV was still a few years away. As a kid who babysat a lot, I saw it performed on The Midnight Special or one of the other late night rock shows that was popular back in the mid to late 1970's. That was really an eye opener.


Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed



Those lyrics have always stuck with me. All of us can remember that time all too well. We were very young, our hormones raging. Getting naked with someone of the opposite sex was now not just a fantasy or hope,  it was in many cases becoming a reality.

 The video, which was actually a stage performance on a sound stage made to look like a concert video was what actually made the song and has allowed it to endure.
Stage performers like Karla Devito and Meat Loaf could pull off the drama of the video and make it seem real. It still does to this day. All of their theater training and experience, as noted earlier, made that possible.



The song touches on many themes but the most striking is the metaphor of how a marriage goes, starts out with so much promise and hope and then in some cases as great as the love was at the start was the hate and desire to get away is even greater at the end.


 And I never had a girl
Looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school
They were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C'mon! Hold on tight!
C'mon! Hold on tight!

and then later...

 
 I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!!!
Boy:
It was long ago and it was far away
and it was so much better than it is today


To most the song is an anthem for our generation and a pre cursor for the MTV generation to follow.




In those days there were hints of sexual tension on stage, as David Bowie and Donna Summer, among others had hinted at it. But this was the first video to overtly show it.
 The video...virtual sex on stage..totally unique for its time.




The build up and then the stop right before penetration is a brilliant plot device in the song..and the added touch of Phil Rizzuto made the song. There is some dispute about what Phil Rizzuto knew. Meat Loaf claims that Rizzuto knew all along the song was about a sexual encounter in the back seat of a car. Jim Steinman claims they tricked Rizzuto, and he did his track without ever hearing the song, and had no idea. Either way, the metaphor of baseball and bases as the basis of the encounter was brilliant. Pure theater, just like baseball can be at times. Both Meat Loaf and Steinman were huge Yankees fans and insisted they had to have Rizzuto to do the baseball commentary.


 Love me forever..not a concept that a teenage boy ever really thinks about..but one that most girls think about from the time they are very young..the final part of the song plays that out in rock opera style.

Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!!!?
Will you love me forever!!!?
Boy:
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning



And finally as the song reaches the climax ending, the technique of how they both say their parts at the same time..like the passion has turned into arguing and then into something that has lost the passion of the moment but developed into a different sort of passion. Once again, another great element to the song and shows the creative style of a producer like Todd Rundgren.







Wanting something so bad..then realizing you want the exact opposite. (a life lesson for the future)







Paradise by the Dashboard Light is one of the longest songs to be put uncut on one side of a 45 RPM record. The only difference is the song fades out almost immediately after the final line is sung.
According to Meat Loaf on VH1 Storytellers, the original length of the track was to be 27 minutes.






The  Album


Bat Out of Hell has sold over 43 million copies worldwide, making it one of the highest selling albums of all time.

 At first, Bat, with its highly theatrical, bombastically orchestrated teen drama, sold well only in New York and Cleveland. Then Meat Loaf hit the road with a seven-piece band that included singer Karla DeVito in the role Ellen Foley had played on the LP's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (which also included a cameo by New York Yankees former shortstop and announcer Phil Rizzuto). The LP was platinum by the end of the year, with the hit singles "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (#39), "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" (#11), and "You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth" (#39).


In addition to Paradise

it included such great songs as:






































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