The Short List: 6 Songs About Heaven From The 1980s

The Short List: 6 Songs About Heaven From The 1980s

Heaven has been written and sung about for centuries.  In the 1980s, the subject and its use as a metaphor were covered countless times.  What are some of the most memorable?  Let's mix some Bryan Adams, a little Joan Armatrading, a wee bit o' Deon Estes (who?), an ex-Go-Go (who's now a current Go-Go), and a surprise or two to come up with a short list of songs about the ultimate vacation destination, heaven.

The Short List: 6 Songs About Heaven From The 1980s

1.  "Heaven" by Joan Armatrading

Chances are pretty good that you've never heard this song.  Your author only knows it because it was a requirement to perform back in '84 when his cover band, 24 West, played a wedding (we were in high school and our band came so cheap that some lucky couple got us to play for them for, I seem to recall, $300).  The song hasn't been heard by human ears for the past 29 years.  Until now.  Whatdya think?

2.  "Heaven" by Bryan Adams

Please, please, please get the horrendous dance version (from '02 by DJ Sammy) out of your head and out of your life.  Instead, throw all of your eggs into the Bryan Adams basket (trivia: did you know he's an accomplished photographer now and he even photographed a posthumous album cover for the late-Amy Winehouse [see pic below]).  

More trivia for ya: Bryan's song "Heaven" was originally part of a movie soundtrack for a 1983 film you never saw called A Night In Heaven.  The song was subsequently placed on Reckless, his awesome '84 album that also included "Summer of '69" and "Run To You" (his best song).  Anypoop, here's Adams and his monster smash, "Heaven."

3.  "Heaven Help Me" by Deon Estes

There was a time when George Michael had the magic touch.  There was his Faith album, his video work, his collaborations with Elton John, and this song with one-time Wham! (exclamation mark theirs) bassist Deon Estes.  Now, before you write off Estes as a one-trick pony, get this: He played bass for Marvin Gaye.  And Tina Turner.  And George Clinton.  And Frank Zappa, Aaron Neville, Annie Lennox and others.  If I were the kind of guy looking to compliment Estes, I would call him a bass player who had a fun side project in 1989 that, just by chance, gave him a Top 5 hit, "Heaven Help Me," that had the year's most successful solo dude singing backup.  Here's the song and then there's a video that's kind of cool about Mr. Estes (he mentions his time playing with Elton John too).

4.  "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" by Belinda Carlisle

Trivia (we're into trivia today): Who directed this video?  The answer after you watch it.

Belinda Carlisle - Heaven Is A Place On by jpdc11

Your trivia answer: Diane Keaton

More trivia for the song?  We just learned this.  The keyboard player was Thomas Dolby.  Backup singers?  They included Diane Warren (who's a billionaire-songwriter) and Michelle Phillips, formerly of The Mamas & The Papas.  Glad you're reading this?  We are too.

5.  "Heaven Tonight" by Yngwie Malmsteen

Hair band music.  Awesome guitar.  Guess the singer?  Watch/Listen and then we'll answer.

Your lead singer?  Probably Hair Metal/Hard Rock's Paul Carrack equivalent, Joe Lynn Turner (who also sang with both Deep Purple and Rainbow).  Remember the song?  We should also note that Mr. Turner (or it is Mr. Lynn Turner with no hyphen?) is from Jersey.  New Jersey.  You may now carry on with your reading.

6.  "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure

This goes back to 1987 and is probably The Cure's best-known song, or at least it's up there with "Lovesong" and "Friday, I'm In Love."  The song really sounds like the '80s.  In fact, all of the songs on this 6 Songs About Heaven From The 1980s song list sound pretty dated.  That said, I wonder if somebody listening to these songs for the first time would agree.  

Do you have a favorite song from the 1980s dealing with the theme of Heaven?  What is it?  Share with us, won't you?

Dave Philp is Assistant Professor of Music Management at William Paterson University and Chief Organizer Guy of YouChoose, a live events music fundraising and social media company that has raised many, many thousands of dollars for non-profit causes. Join the good fight and help change your corner of the world by visiting YouChoose now: To sign up for our email newsletter, click HERE. Mmkay?