I recently heard Meat Loaf's Paradise By the Dashboard Light while driving. It's a song I have heard many times in my life, but this time I was struck by the baseball portion of the song. Without basketball to distract me, I dove into a Meat Loaf wormhole. Not a minute could be considered wasted.
Legendary New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto was the voice of the play-by-play call in Paradise, something that I may have known, but I guess I always assumed it was just stock audio pieced together to describe getting lucky. Turns out Rizzuto actually participated in the recording. Your move, Joe Buck.
In 2007, shortly after the death of Phil Rizzuto, Jeff Pearlman, then of ESPN, interviewed Meat Loaf about Rizzuto's role in Paradise. Meat Loaf revealed that Rizzuto did, in fact, know what the song was about, despite what he might have told his priest. Via Page 2:
"Meat Loaf -- along with legendary song writer Jim Steinman -- pieced together what is, without question, the most famous baseball play-by-play call in the history of sexually themed rock 'n' roll songs performed by a man nicknamed for diced cattle parts placed in a pan and baked for 45 minutes at 375 degrees (350 if your oven tends to run hot)"
Dammit if Pearlman didn't eloquently write exactly what I wanted to say about it being the greatest use of baseball in a piece of music ever. That Pearlman guy might have a future. Same for that Page 2 thing. Don't see any reason for that to ever go away.
So back to Meat Loaf. What a career, huh? Twelve albums over 40 years. Lengthy IMDB page. And he turned up earlier this week when I wrote about another very untimely topic - Celine Dion's It's All Coming Back to Me Now. That song was originally written by the same guy who wrote Paradise, Jim Steinman. Meat Loaf wanted to record it and they ended up going to court over it. In 1989 a short-lived group called Pandora's Box became the first to record it. Celine turned it into a smash in 1996 and Meat Loaf finally got his crack at it in 2006.
Twenty oh-six! That was both incredibly long ago and very recent considering Meat Loaf's musical heyday. This was so long ago The Apprentice was still popular. A show which Meat Loaf would appear on in 2011 alongside Jose Canseco, college football theme song-singer John Rich and Jason Kidd's ex, Hope Dworaczyk. Here's Meat Loaf yelling.
And that is why Phil Rizzuto's play-by-play verse in Paradise By the Dashboard Light is the greatest baseball moment in music history.