Our Bodies Are Oh So Close

‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ was written by Jim Steinman and it was released in 1977 on the Bat Out of Hell album, which became one of the best-selling albums of all time.  Jim Steinman said that this song was his attempt to write “the ultimate car/sex song in which everything goes horribly wrong in the end.”  This song is about a teenage boy who is trying to convince a girl to have sex with him in a car.  The girl is concerned with romance, intimacy and a long term relationship, but this guy only seems to be interested in having sex.  Guys have this thing about sex where they compare how far they get with a girl in terms of a runner being on base in the sport of baseball.  There’s no “official” definition of what the bases represent, but there seems to be a general understanding of the certain steps being involved with the runner being able to advance to the next base.  In other cultures that don’t follow baseball, the 4 bases are represented with the four ‘F’s, which are French, Feel, Finger, Fuck.

Reaching First base with a girl is more than holding hands, it means that you were kissing, maybe French kissing.  Getting to touch a girl’s breasts is a very important step for a man and this is considered getting to Second base.  Touching, feeling, and fondling a woman’ breasts, and her nipples is thrilling for a man, as every young man has dreams of doing this, getting their hand under her bra for the first time and finally being able to feel those forbidden mounds of flesh.  This is a very rewarding experience, but it always makes them crave more.  Third base is touching or oral stimulation that is below the waist, fingering or fondling a girl’s vagina, or her clitoris, or it could be her giving you a hand job by stroking your penis, or massaging your testicles.  It is pretty clear that Home base is reached when you have sexual intercourse and this is also called going all the way.

So, if this guy was permitted to go all the way and have penetration sex with this girl, that would be his way of getting to “paradise”, but she holds out until he says he loves her and that he will stay with her forever.   This part always cracks me up as it shows the power that women have over men, as he is overcome by passion, he is forced to give in to whatever she wants, and he honors his word to spend the rest of his life with her, even though he can’t stand her.  A desirable woman can effortlessly obtain what she wants from any man, getting the love, respect, and relationship she wants by holding out on sex, leaving the man in a trance like state till she has them firmly under her control.

It charted #39 in the US and it features vocals by Meat Loaf along with Ellen Foley.  This was an uncommonly long song for a single, it has become a staple of classic rock radio.  Two members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band played on this track, as Roy Bittan played keyboards and piano and Max Weinberg played drums.  The song’s composer Jim Steinman also contributed keyboards and is credited with “Lascivious Effects”, which is assumed to be some of the lovemaking sounds during the baseball narration.  The song opens with the High School couple parking by a lake.  The guy is reminiscing about how lucky he is to be on a date with this beautiful girl, and because they are young and alone with each other and they are barely dressed, he feels doubly blessed.  They are having fun, experiencing “paradise by the dashboard  light”, but he is getting all excited and starts “glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife’ and then he insists that she will not regret this big surprise that he has in store for her.  He tells her that they’re “gonna go all the way tonight” (then the music that they were listening to on the radio suddenly switches over to a Baseball broadcast).

Phil Rizzuto the announcer for the New York Yankees is broadcasting a play-by-play portion of a baseball game that serves as a metaphor for the guy’s attempts to achieve his goal of going all the way with the girl, and this is accompanied by funk instrumentation while the two characters are talking in the individual left and right channels.  Holy cow was a popular catch phrase often used by Rizzuto that he used to express surprise and excitement in a non-vulgar way.  For those of you that don’t understand baseball, a suicide squeeze is a play where the runner who has reached third base takes off as soon as the pitcher begins the windup to throw the pitch, and before he releases the ball, this runner is heading home.  If properly executed, and the batter bunts the ball nearly anywhere in fair territory on the ground, a play at home plate is extremely unlikely.  Rizzuto’s broadcast cuts out, just when it looks like the runner is going to score.

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 if she lets him sleep on this decision, that he would be able to give his answer in the morning.  However, she is not giving in that easily, and she keeps on insisting that she has to know right now.  The guy is in between third base and heading for home base, so he caves because he is so close to reaching what he considers to be paradise.  He gives her his promise, swearing to his God and on his mother’s grave, that he will love her to the end of time.

It is assumed that they did go all the way and the guy is an honorable man, who would never break his promise, but now he feels like he is stuck with this girl in his life, who he has presumably been married to for a number of years.  She is getting on his nerves, so he starts “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.

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
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
C’mon! Hold on tight!

Thought it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

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
‘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 you 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
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
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 all the way
And tonight’s the night…
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way
And tonight’s the night…

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 windup, 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
Glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted, bunted down the third
Base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze
Play, it’s gonna be close, holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!

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 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!?

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I’ll give you an 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 an 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 an answer in the morning

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?

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it

Will you love me forever?

Let me sleep on it

Will you love me forever!

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!

It was long ago and it was far away
And it was so much better that it is today

It never felt so good
It never felt so right
And we were glowing like
A metal on the edge of a knife

Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Paradise.

15 thoughts on “Our Bodies Are Oh So Close

  1. Excellent writing, Jim! Raging hormones during our adolescent years were some confusing times, and I’m not so sure becoming an adult makes it any better. A few minutes of bliss can create years of agony! lol. That said, while I appreciate your well-written post, it doesn’t fit in with my
    “family friendly” guideline. I have a few young followers, which they may know more than we did at their age, but one never knows. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No apologies needed! Yours was a well written post and I don’t consider it crude at all. Many don’t realize there are some very young bloggers on WP. In fact, I know of one 10 year old and an 11 year old that blog on WP. So, no problem, and have you ever thought of writing a novel or have you already? You are an excellent writer. 😉

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  2. One of my favorites of Meatloaf. There’s something that I heard floating around, which may or may not be true. The fellow providing the baseball commentary got in trouble for doing that in conjunction with a ‘sexually themed song”. Like it sullied baseball or something. I don’t know many people (of my generation anyway) who hadn’t heard that whole ‘first base’ schtick in regard to sex. Odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Phil Rizzuto was aware of his voice being used in this song and I bet he got paid for it because he is a cheap bastard, but he denied being aware of it when people thought it was crass. He used to come to a country club where I worked as a caddie and this rich member always paid for everything and he would leave before the round was done when the helicopter landed on the golf course to pick him up never paying his gambling debts or giving the cadies a tip.

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  3. I respect what he and Meatloaf did but the songs were a little too much showtune like for me…although I will admit that I will listen to it when it’s on but their songs are not on the top of my list.
    I can’t believe Meatloaf didn’t do the Bonnie Tyler song…that was his style completely. Weren’t they arguing at the time?

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