How Meat Loaf Made a Cult Favorite: ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’

Todd Rundgren was one of these supporters, and he agreed to produce “Bat Out of Hell” under the incorrect belief that Meat Loaf and Steinman had a record deal. (After learning the truth, he also agreed to foot the bill for the recording.) Among the participants were members of Rundgren’s band Utopia as well as members of Weinberg and Roy Bittan,

the keyboard player for the E Street Band, who joined the musicians at Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, NY, in the fall of 1975.

“We all had a hand” in the song arrangement, Sulton remarked. While listening to “Paradise,” he noted that “it’s evident what the song is,” recalling his first impression of the tune. In between the Phil Spector and “Thunder Road” parts, it’s more of a boogie-woogie shuffle. When Jim played piano and Meat Loaf sang live, the song laid itself out for us.

A few days after their first set of rehearsals ended, the band recorded “Paradise” in portions, all without the singers. “Like an out-of-control teenager,” Weinberg recalled Steinman having urged him to play. Because it’s not something you want to do all the time, he continued, “teenage drumming is overplayed and quite histrionic.”

He’d order me to strike those things so hard they’d topple over, and you can hear that in ‘Paradise.'” “I’m just hammering away at the cymbals at the end of it.”

One take was used to record Foley’s singing. “I completed my part on my own, but I had Meat come into the room so that I could act and sing at him,” she stated, as quoted by the New York Daily News. When we met, “he was that poor, frightened, and really horny guy.” We were both in character.”

During the recording of Meat Loaf’s own vocals, Dodd, who was one of the few individuals in the room, noted that Meat Loaf also acted in character. Dodd said that the song’s outro had around three minutes of background voices deleted from the original 11-minute version.

They couldn’t get a record deal even though Meat Loaf and Steinman had finished their album. “He had to learn how to write rock ‘n’ roll,” Dodd recalls Clive Davis telling Steinman. A few years after its creation in 1977, it was finally accepted and issued by the executive Steve Popovich of Cleveland International Records.

Promo videos for “Paradise” featuring Meat Loaf and Karla DeVito lip-syncing over Foley’s vocals helped it gain fame.

Meat Loaf claimed in his 2011 book “I Want My MTV” that he acquired the video placements for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” before midnight showings. According to him, “That is still the number one-selling album in the history of Holland, yet I have never played there…. “The ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ video is to blame.”