September 27, 2018

1,001 LaserDiscs 7: Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell

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photos by






Today is the birthday of  Marvin Lee Aday (aka Meat Loaf) who was born on September 27, 1947. He is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor who is also noted for his powerful, wide-ranging operatic voice and theatrical live shows.  

This blog entry on the 1991 reissue of his 1984 compilation album on LaserDisc is my tribute to the day of his birth and the song, Paradise by the Dashboard Light.    
         
       
Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
compilation video on LaserDisc
cover design by Jim Steinman
illustrated by Richard Corben
photo of album cover by Styrous®


My first apreciation of Meat Loaf was his 1975 portrayal of Eddie, the Frankenstein-style monster Dr. Frank N. Furter created in the Classic-of-all-Time, Rocky Horror Picture Show (link below). I will never forget his dramatic emergence from the deep-freeze locker on his motorcycle as he blasts forth with, Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul (link below).   

Whoa!


Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
compilation video on LaserDisc
cover design by Jim Steinman
illustrated by Richard Corben
detail photo of album cover by Styrous®


I like all the songs from the album but I especially love, Paradise by the Dashboard Light. This song is about a teenage boy trying to convince a girl to have sex with him in a car. Sex would be the "Paradise" for him, but she holds out until he says he loves her and will stay with her forever. Overcome by sexual passion, he promises, and honors his word to spend the rest of his life with her even though, years later, he can't stand her anymore. "So now I'm praying for the end of time."      

The song is actually a pretty funny duet running 8:28. Many listeners heard the beauty in the song, but industry people were skeptical, as it veered so far from convention. It made the US Top 40, but did so on the Billboard charts tagged as a "Novelty" record, the same label given to Cheech & Chong and The Chipmunks.     

Even musicians working on the album had their doubts. Kasim Sulton, who played bass on the sessions (he was in the Todd Rundgren band, Utopia), said, "Through the whole process I remember distinctly saying to myself, 'This is just the biggest joke that I've ever been involved in. I cannot believe that these people got a record deal! This is just crazy. I'll never hear this record. It's just a joke. It's a comedy record.'"  

Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
compilation video on LaserDisc
back cover
photo by Styrous®


In the original video for Paradise, as released to television and in 35mm prints, the male/female Hot Summer Night prologue from You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth was spoken live by Jim Steinman and Karla DeVito before the song performance. On this compilation, the prologue was removed and spliced in front of the video for You Took the Words, ostensibly to properly replicate the album Bat Out of Hell, and the video for Paradise goes right into the performance. The song was originally produced by Todd Rundgren. Steinman wrote a lot of the songs performed by Meat Loaf.  They made a great team.     
             

Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
compilation video on LaserDisc
back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®
 
Paradise by the Dashboard Light is divided into three parts:
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", until the male character insists they're "gonna go all the way tonight". This is followed by a radio broadcast of a baseball game.
Part II. Let Me Sleep on It
Just as the boy is about to score (via the suicide squeeze), 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, she is not giving in that easily, so he finally cracks and gives his promise: "I started swearing to my God and on my mother's grave/That I would love you to the end of time".     
Part III. Praying for the End of Time
Back in the present, the male character can no longer stand the woman's presence. As the man 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!" in the left channel with her nostalgic "It never felt so good, it never felt so right, we were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife" in the right channel.

Ah! True Love!
     

Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
compilation video on LaserDisc
back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®


In early live performances of the song, this part (and thus the conclusion of the song itself) was followed by a spoken-word epilogue by Meat Loaf and Karla DeVito, where they, still in character as the two protagonists, argued about what to keep after the couple's divorce (having been presumably married for a number of years). The argument was cut short by DeVito shouting "...And I'll keep the baby!", which left Meat Loaf's character speechless as he apparently ignored the existence of a baby; immediately after, he ended the argument by screaming incoherently at her.         


Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
LaserDisc w/ sleeve, side 1
photo by Styrous®


35mm prints of a live-on-soundstage performance of Paradise were struck and initially sent to many theaters holding midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as a short subject to play before the feature. Very few of these prints are still extant and/or in playable condition. The video also received healthy airplay in the first years of MTV, despite its relative age to the new artists the channel was showcasing.       


Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
LaserDisc label, side 1
photo by Styrous®

The single had modest success in the United States, peaking at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song is very well known and is a classic rock staple. In the United Kingdom, it did not chart at all. However, in the Netherlands, the single became Meat Loaf's biggest all-time hit, reaching number one at the end of 1978. Paradise became a hit there 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 30. In Belgium, the single stalled at number 2 where it stayed for 5 weeks, the whole time being held back from the Number 1 by Y.M.C.A. by the Village People.           



Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
LaserDisc w/ sleeve, side 2 (blank)
photo by Styrous®


Meat Loaf has expressed that he has social anxiety, being quoted saying "I never meet anybody much in a social situation because when I go into a social situation, I have no idea what to do." He revealed that he does not "even go anywhere", and also feels he leads a "boring life", saying that he "completely freaked" when having to attend a party, and that he was "so nervous, so scared". I can completely relate to this. In 1984, he legally changed his first name from Marvin to Michael        


Meat Loaf ~ Hits Out of Hell
LaserDisc, side 2 (blank)
photo by Styrous®



Tracklist:

Side 1:

1 - Bat Out Of Hell - 9:49    
2 - Read 'Em And Weep - 5:25    
3 - Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - 5:23    
4 - Razor's Edge - 4:07   
5 - More Than You Deserve -     
6 - I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us - 7:09    
7 - If You Really Want To    
8 - You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer's Night) – 5:04   
9 - Paradise By The Dashboard Light – 8:28    
9i - Paradise    
9ii - Let Me Sleep On It    
9iii - Praying For The End Of Time    

Side 2: BLANK

Companies, etc.

    Manufactured By – Epic Music Video
    Copyright (c) – Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Notes:

Running time: 58 minutes.
Digitally remastered,
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Barcode (Text): 0 7464-49079-6 4
    Matrix / Runout: LDVS-001885-A-A4

Meat Loaf ‎– Hits Out Of Hell
Label: Epic Music Video ‎– MLV 49079
Format: Laserdisc, 12", Single Sided, Stereo, NTSC, CLV
Country: US
Released: 1991
Genre: Rock
Style: Hard Rock

Personnel:




Viewfinder links:
    
Meat Loaf articles/mentions
Paradise by the Dashboard Light lyrics      
Rocky Horror articles     
Village People articles    
      
Net links:
    
ESPN ~ Phil and Meat Loaf will always have "Paradise"
NY Times ~ Meat Loaf In Search of Paradise    
Songfacts ~ Paradise by the Dashboard Light
stonybrook.edu ~ Sex song Reflection - Paradise by the Dashboard Light   
Section 309 ~ Paradise by the Dashboard Light: A Baseball Analysis
The Austin Chronicle ~ Meat Loaf loads into the Texas Film Hall of Fame   
       
YouTube links:
    
Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul
Paradise By The Dashboard Light (8 min, 29 sec.)
      
         
The Meat Loaf ~  
      Hits Out of Hell LaserDisc is for sale on eBay  
       
       
      
         
Happy birthday, Michael!
      
      
        
       
Styrous® ~ Thursday, September 27, 2018       




   










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