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

One of these admirers was the artist Todd Rundgren, who under the mistaken impression that Meat Loaf and Steinman had a record contract, agreed to produce “Bat Out of Hell”. (When the truth came out, he also agreed to finance the recording himself.) In the fall of 1975, the musicians met at Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, NY, where they were joined by members of Rundgren’s band Utopia, as well as Weinberg and Roy Bittan, piano player for E Street. Band.

Sulton said the group “everyone had a hand” in how the songs were arranged. “My first time I heard ‘Paradise,’ I remember thinking ‘it’s obvious what the song is,'” he said. “It’s a kind of boogie-woogie shuffle, and then there’s the Phil Spector part, and then there’s a little ‘Thunder Road.’ it live. “

After rehearsals, the band recorded “Paradise” in sections without vocals. Weinberg said Steinman pressured him to play “as an out-of-control teenager.” “Teenage drumming is overplaying and very histrionic; it’s like a spice, because it’s not something you want to do all the time, ”he said. “But he would tell me I should hit those things so hard that they fall over and you can hear it in ‘Paradise’. At the end of it, I just slam away on the pelvis.”

Foley’s songs were recorded in one recording. “I did my part individually, but I got Meat to come into the room so I could perform and sing on him,” she said. “We were both in character; he was that poor, scared, horny guy. “Dodd, who was one of the few people in the room when Meat Loaf recorded his own vocals, said that Meat Loaf also appeared in character while singing. The introductory recording was originally longer and clocked in at about 11 minutes; Dodd said about three minutes of background vocals at the song’s outro were cut out.

Even with a completed album, Meat Loaf and Steinman had a hard time finding a record deal. Dodd recalled that record manager Clive Davis told Steinman, “that he had to learn to write rock’n’roll.” But the album was eventually accepted and released by executive Steve Popovich’s Cleveland International Records, and it slowly gained traction after its release in 1977. Its popularity was enhanced by a promotional video clip for “Paradise,” featuring Meat Loaf and singer Karla DeVito – lip-syncing of Foley’s vocals. – appeared on stage.

In the 2011 book “I Want My MTV”, Meat Loaf said he secured the video placements before the midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. “It’s still the number one selling album in Holland’s history and I’ve never played there,” he said. “It’s all because of the ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ video.”

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