HEAVEN & HELL
It’s Monday so that must mean this is a Monday’s Music Moves Me post. It is and what makes today’s 4M even more special (to me anyway) is because for this month of May I am the honorary co-host of the blog hop which means I get to come up with the month’s themes.
My earlier theme kicked off my Body Parts Songs Series (if you missed any of it you can check out the initial post introducing the ROCK & ROLL HEAD TO TOE Series with my post featuring Songs with the word HEAD in the Title or the second installment featuring Songs with the word HAIR in the Title. The series will continue with upcoming Freebie weeks).
But today is a brand new theme and I thought it might be fun to explore songs about Heaven or Hell (or songs with Heaven or Hell in the titles).
I bet you could come up with a bunch of songs that fit that bill. I certainly have my favorites that came to mind right away because they are part of the soundtrack of my life. But in compiling my list I stumbled across a bunch of unknown-to-me songs with Heaven or Hell (or both) in the titles. So I’ve put together a cool playlist combining my favorites with some new-to-me songs discovered along the way that I really like. Hope you all will like them too.
Let’s kick this party off with a group of MY FAVORITE HEAVEN AND HELL SONGS! The new-to-me songs are integrated in a way that hopefully provides a pleasing flow of the music. And, if you’re interested, you can read some info that I dug up: just basic information and a few fun facts that I learned about the songs and their artists. No need to read it all but it’s there for you if you want it. Now LET’S ROCK!
The Heaven & Hell Playlist songs and info:
If You Wanna Get to Heaven (You’ve Got to Raise a Little Hell) by Ozark Mountain Daredevils – The Ozark Mountain Daredevils are an American Southern rock/country rock band formed in 1972 in Springfield, Missouri. They are most widely known for their singles “If You Wanna Get To Heaven” in 1974 and “Jackie Blue” in 1975.
The “If You Wanna Get To Heaven” single is from their 1973 album The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. This is their debut single and it reached #25 on the U.S. Billboard chart. It was the band’s first hit and was typical of their sound. These Missouri boys sported long hair and a hell-raising attitude, which is the theme of this song: “If you want to get to heaven, you’ve got to raise a little hell.”
The music video in my playlist is a performance from an Old Grey Whistle Test appearance (OGWT was a British television music show). Recorded live at Shepherd’s Bush, London, March 26, 1976.
Hell’s Bells by AC/DC – “Hell’s Bells”, released in the Fall of 1980, is the second single from AC/DC’s seventh studio album Back in Black. “Hells Bells” is the first track of AC/DC’s first album without lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott, who died on February 19, 1980 after a night of heavy drinking. Brian Johnson is the lead singer who replaced Bon Scott.
The song begins with a bell slowly tolling four times, after which Angus Young starts playing the song’s main riff. Malcolm Young then joins in, followed by Phil Rudd on drums and Cliff Williams on bass. The bell tolls a total of 13 times during the song’s introduction.
A 2,000-pound cast bronze bell, made by John Taylor Bellfounders in Loughborough, Leicestershire, was used on the track. It is a replica of the Denison Bell in the Carillon Tower at the Loughborough War Museum. The band first attempted to record the actual Denison Bell, but that proved problematic due to disruptions by pigeons nesting in the tower. The AC/DC logo and the words “Hell’s Bell” are engraved on the replica.
In addition to the Back in Black album, the song also appears on Who Made Who, AC/DC’s 1986 soundtrack to the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive and on both versions of 1992’s AC/DC Live.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan – “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a song written and sung by Bob Dylan, for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Released as a single two months after the film’s release, it became a worldwide hit, reaching the Top 10 in several countries. In the US, it reached No.12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The song became one of Dylan’s most popular and most covered post-1960s compositions, spawning covers from Guns N’ Roses, Eric Clapton, Randy Crawford and more.
Described by Dylan biographer, Clinton Heylin, as “an exercise in splendid simplicity”, the song features two verses, each of which represent the film’s title characters and American frontier legends Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
NOTE: The video in my playlist is not Bob Dylan singing, but has some great photo shots of the great BD. You can find a Dylan rendition of this song at the end of the playlist.
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers by ZZ Top – ZZ Top is a rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band currently consists of bassist and lead vocalist Dusty Hill, guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), and drummer Frank Beard.
“Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”, one of my favorite ZZ Top songs, is on their Tres Hombres album. Tres Hombres (Spanish for “three men”) is ZZ Top’s third album released in 1973 and was the band’s commercial breakthrough. In the US, the album entered the top ten.
In a Songfacts interview with Billy Gibbons, he talked about the down-and-dirty honky tonk that inspired this song.
“On to a gig in Phoenix, we were driving through a West Texas windstorm. We, the band, were waiting to discover a place with some safe ground cover when the late-night lights of a roadside joint appeared. It was just across the line outside El Paso into New Mexico.
We ducked in quick and came face to face with our kind of folks… those soulful souls seeking solace, not only out of the dust and sand, but out of mind. What chance does one get better than that! We joined the gathering and started scribbling.”
Rock and Roll Heaven by the Righteous Brothers – I love this song! “Rock and Roll Heaven” is song written by Alan O’Day and Johnny Stevenson and popularized by The Righteous Brothers. It is a paean to several deceased singers such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, and has been rewritten a number of times to include other singers. The song was first recorded by the band Climax in 1973, but it failed to chart. It was then covered by The Righteous Brothers in 1974 and reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Musicians and songs mentioned in Righteous Brothers version:
“Jimi gave us rainbows” refers to Rainbow Bridge by Jimi Hendrix.
“Janis took a piece of our hearts” refers to the recording of “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin.
“Otis brought us all to the dock of a bay” refers to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding.
“Sing a song to light my fire, remember Jim that way” refers to “Light My Fire” by The Doors which featured Jim Morrison.
“Remember bad bad Leroy Brown, Hey Jimmy touched us with that song” refers to “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce.
“Bobby gave us Mack the Knife” refers to Bobby Darin’s recording of “Mack the Knife”.
The lyrics involving Jim Croce and Bobby Darin replaced Climax’s lyrics for Buddy Holly (“Peggy Sue”) and Ritchie Valens (“Donna”), both of whom died in a plane crash that had already been commemorated by another hit song, Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
Also, in 1981, when the Righteous Brothers appeared for a one song reunion on American Bandstand, they performed “Rock and Roll Heaven”, and made it longer including new lyrics as tributes to Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Keith Moon.
It was rewritten with new lyrics in 1991 to mourn the passing of Elvis Presley (Love Me Tender), John Lennon (Give Peace a Chance), Roy Orbison (Oh, Pretty Woman), Jackie Wilson (Higher and Higher), Ricky Nelson (Lonesome Town), Dennis Wilson (Good Vibrations), Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On), Sam Cooke (Wonderful World), Cass Elliot (Monday, Monday) who died a few months after the original version of the song was released, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The rewritten song is included in compilation albums such as Reunion.
Fun Fact: A line from the lyrics of the song is used as the title for Stephen King’s short story “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band”, set in a town called Rock and Roll Heaven.
Highway to Hell by AC/DC – AC/DC is an Australian rock band, formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. A hard rock/blues rock band, they have also been considered a heavy metal band, although they have always dubbed their music simply “rock and roll.”
“Highway to Hell” is the opening track of AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell. It was initially released as a single in 1979. The song was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, with Angus Young credited for writing the guitar riff which became an instant classic. AC/DC had made several studio albums before and were constantly promoting them via a grueling tour schedule. This schedule was referred to by Angus Young as being on a ‘highway to hell.’ The song’s title reflects the incredibly arduous nature of touring constantly and life on the road.
Bon Scott, whose talent as a singer and AC/DC’s frontman was at a peak, was found dead in the back of a friend’s car just over six months after the song was released.
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band’s untitled fourth studio album (often called Led Zeppelin IV). It is often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume. The song begins in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an uptempo hard rock arrangement highlighted by Page’s intricate guitar solo accompanying Plant’s vocals that end with the plaintive a cappella line: “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
“Stairway to Heaven” was voted number three in 2000 by VH1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Rock Songs and was placed at number 31 on “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, , despite never having been commercially released as a single there. In November 2007, through download sales promoting Led Zeppelin’s Mothership release, “Stairway to Heaven” hit number 37 on the UK Singles Chart.
HEART PERFORMS STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN AS TRIBUTE TO LED ZEPPELIN AT KENNEDY CENTER HONORS:
In 2012, Heart performed the song in tribute to Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors, during which Plant was visibly moved to tears. This performance was so well-received and popular that a limited edition single was released on the iTunes Music Store. When I saw Heart perform this classic to perfection, it absolutely gave me chills. If you have time, it’s really worth watching.
Note: I’m hearing that the video isn’t playing here in my post so here is a link direct to YouTube where you can watch this amazing tribute performance. If you’ve never seen it before, please take this opportunity to sit for just a few minutes. You will be in absolute awe. I swear, I can watch this performance over and over again and still get chills every single time! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFxOaDeJmXk
Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd – “Run Like Hell” is a song by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters. It appears on the album The Wall. It was released as a single in 1980, reaching #15 in the Canadian singles chart as well as #18 in Sweden.
The song is written from the narrative point of view of antihero Pink, an alienated and bitter rock star, during a hallucination in which he becomes a fascist dictator and turns a concert audience into an angry mob. The lyrics are explicitly threatening, directed at the listener, one with an “empty smile” and “hungry heart”, “dirty feelings” and a “guilty past”, “nerves in tatters” as “hammers batter down your door.” Even the act of sexual intercourse is doomed, for “if they catch you in the back seat trying to pick her locks”, the results will be fatal. Although the lyric “You better run like hell” appears twice in the liner notes, the title is never actually sung; each verse simply concludes with “You better run”.
Heaven by Bryan Adams – “Heaven” is a song by Canadian singer and songwriter Bryan Adams recorded in 1983, co-written by Adams and Jim Vallance. It first appeared on the A Night in Heaven soundtrack album the same year and was later included on Adams’ album Reckless in 1984. It was released as the third single from Reckless and reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in June 1985, over a year and a half after the song first appeared on record. The single was certified Gold in Canada in 1985.
Heavily influenced by Journey’s 1983 hit “Faithfully”, the song was written while Adams served as the opening act on that band’s Frontiers Tour, and features their drummer, Steve Smith. The song provided Adams with his first number one single and third top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was number 24 on Billboard magazine’s Top Pop Singles of 1985.
Hell or High Water by Passenger – I discovered Passenger last year sometime, either while working on a 4M post or a Battle of the Bands post, and was intrigued by his sound. When I saw that he had a song title that would fit in with this theme, I checked it out and now have another Passenger song that I really like. So who is the Passenger anyway?
Michael David Rosenberg (born May 17, 1984), better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Previously the main vocalist and songwriter of Passenger, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work after the band dissolved in 2009.
“Hell or High Water” is the first track on Passenger’s ninth studio album, Runaway. Released in August 2018, the album peaked at number 6 on the UK Albums Chart. This song has some amazing violin.
Heaven Only Knows by Richard Marx – “Heaven Only Knows” is from Richard Marx’ self-titled debut studio album, released in June 1987.
FUN FACT:: Richard became the first male solo artist (and second solo artist overall – the first being Whitney Houston) in recording history to reach the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 with four singles from a debut album”
Hell is for Children by Pat Benatar – “Hell Is For Children” is a song by American rock singer Pat Benatar. It was written by guitarist Neil Giraldo, bass player Roger Capps and Benatar. The song is about child abuse and was recorded by Benatar in 1980 for her second studio album Crimes of Passion.
Pat Benatar started writing the song after reading a series of articles on child abuse in the New York Times. She was shocked to learn such things happen and wanted to write about it.
Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel by Tavares – “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” is a disco song written by Freddie Perren and Keni St. Lewis. It was recorded by the American band Tavares (also known as The Tavares Brothers), an American R&B, funk, and soul music group in 1976. It was released as a single from the album Sky High!
“Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976. It peaked at number 3 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”, with the track “Don’t Take Away the Music”, spent two weeks at number 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. It became the group’s only Gold record.
The song would also afford the group an international chart hit, reaching number 1 in the Netherlands, and charting in Australia, Canada, the UK, and South Africa.
Gonna Raise Hell by Cheap Trick – “Gonna Raise Hell” is a song written by Rick Nielsen and originally released on Cheap Trick’s 1979 album Dream Police. The subject of “Gonna Raise Hell” has been disputed but composer Rick Nielsen claims that the song is about “religious, political and nuclear fanatics.”
FUN FACT: Controversy: It has been said that “Gonna Raise Hell” contains a hidden satanic message. Using back-masking, it was claimed you can hear, “You know Satan holds the key to the lock” when played backwards.
Heaven & Hell by Black Sabbath – “Heaven and Hell” is the title track to Black Sabbath’s ninth studio album of the same name, released in April 1980. The music was written mainly by Tony Iommi, but as with almost all Black Sabbath albums, credit is given to the entire band. The lyrics were written entirely by then newcomer Ronnie James Dio.
In an interview for VH1’s “Heavy: The Story of Metal”, Dio stated that the song is about the ability of each human being to choose between doing good and doing evil, essentially that each person has “heaven and hell” inside themselves.
Heaven on Earth by Boston – In case you aren’t already familiar with this band, Boston is an American rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, who had their most notable successes during the 1970s and 1980s. Centered on multi-instrumentalist founder and leader Tom Scholz, who played the majority of instruments on the debut album, the band is a staple of classic rock radio playlists.
“Heaven on Earth” is the opening track of Life, Love & Hope, Boston’s sixth studio album and their first studio set in eleven years. Released in December 2013, the songs on Life, Love & Hope were all meticulously recorded to analog tape on the same machines and equipment that have been used since Boston’s early tunes.
Tom Scholz, the founder and only remaining original member of the band Boston, is credited with all the instruments, harmony and backing vocals on the song.
Of the album’s style, Matt Wardlaw of Ultimate Classic Rock says “‘Life, Love & Hope’ carries remnants of those early days in its sound — which is unmistakable from the moment the soaring harmonies kick in on ‘Heaven on Earth,’ the album’s opening track and lead single. It provides a vintage moment on an album that otherwise contains quite a bit of exploration, both musically and sonically — something that we’ve come to expect from Tom Scholz when he’s working in the backroom on new Boston music.
Holding on to Hell by Gin Wigmore – Gin Wigmore is a singer and songwriter from New Zealand. She is known for her high-pitched and raspy voice. “Holding on to Hell” is a track from her 2015 Blood to Bone album.
Wigmore said regarding the song’s meaning: “It’s about holding onto the past and not wanting to let go.” Trust me, I know all about that one!
Heaven by Depeche Mode – “Heaven” is a song by English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released as the lead single from their thirteenth studio album, Delta Machine (2013). Written by Martin L. Gore and produced by Ben Hillier, the song was world-premiered on KROQ’s morning show Kevin and Bean on January 30, 2013.
In June 2013, the single was certified gold by the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI), denoting downloads exceeding 15,000 units in Italy. In the UK, by contrast, the single reached #60, the first initial single from a Depeche Mode album to fail to reach the UK Top 40.
The music video for “Heaven” was directed by Timothy Saccenti and filmed in November 2012 at The Marigny Opera House, a former Catholic church in New Orleans’s Faubourg Marigny. The video’s look was inspired by Terence Malick’s 2011 film The Tree of Life, with its beautiful yet twisted, dark imagery. “Mainly it’s a performance video, which we haven’t done in a long time”, said Dave Gahan, co-songwriter for Heaven’s B-side “All That’s Mine.”
Heaven and Hell by The Who – “Heaven and Hell” is a song by English rock band The Who written by group bassist John Entwistle. The studio version (originally recorded for an April 1970 BBC session), which appeared on the B-side of the live “Summertime Blues” single, is currently available only on the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B boxed set and Who’s Missing, though several live versions of the song exist on official releases. The song was one of many Entwistle B-side singles and one of his live staples.
The song’s lyrics talk of the places known as heaven and hell. The song describes heaven as “a place where you go if you’ve done nothing wrong.” And hell as “a place where you go if you’ve been a bad boy”
John Entwistle stated his stance on heaven and hell in an interview:
The last lyric ballot of the song: ‘Why can’t we have eternal life, And never die, Never die?’
“I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of Heaven and Hell. Not obsessed that it’s true, but just obsessed that it’s sort of legend, there’s such a person as the devil.
Heaven’s Wall by Bruce Springsteen – This out-and-out gospel rocker couched in Biblical language is most likely an outtake from Springsteen’s proposed gospel album, which he eventually scrapped for the more political Wrecking Ball. However, Springsteen felt it deserved a proper studio recording and gave the demo to producer Ron Aniello to play around. Aniello told Rolling Stone: “On ‘Heaven’s Wall’ we took the basic track and jumped on there with overdubs. That’s pretty much the original, vocal, drum and bass.”
High Hopes is the eighteenth studio album by American recording artist Bruce Springsteen, released January 14, 2014, on Columbia Records. The album was Springsteen’s 11th #1 album in the United States, placing him third all-time for most No. 1 albums only behind The Beatles and Jay-Z. It was his tenth No. 1 in the UK, putting him joint fifth all-time and level with The Rolling Stones and U2. Rolling Stone named it the second-best album of 2014 on their year-end list.
Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf – “Bat Out of Hell” is a song written by Jim Steinman, an American composer, lyricist, record producer and playwright, for the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell and performed by Meat Loaf. It was released as a single in 1979, and again in 1993.
Like all of Meat Loaf’s hits, this was written by pianist Jim Steinman. He said he wrote this to be the ultimate “Motorcycle crash song.” The lyrics refer to a rider being thrown off his bike in a wreck and his organs exposed:
And the last thing I see is my heart still beating
Breaking out of my body and flying away
Like a bat out of hell
Of course, the expression “bat out of hell” means real fast. The song was inspired by teenage tragedy songs such as “Leader of the Pack”, “Terry” and “Tell Laura I Love Her”, the latter being the first single Jim Steinman had ever bought. Steinman wanted to write the “most extreme crash song of all time”:
“There is something so thrilling to me about that operatic narrative that involves a cataclysmic event, especially one so perfectly in tune with a teenager’s world, and rock and roll, as a car or motorcycle crash.”
On a musical and thematic level, “Bat Out of Hell”, both single and album, are often compared to the work of Bruce Springsteen, particularly the Born to Run album, and especially the song “Thunder Road”. Steinman says that he finds that “puzzling, musically,” although they share influences. “Springsteen was more an inspiration than an influence.” A BBC article suggested, “…the fact that Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan from Springsteen’s E Street Band played on the album only helped reinforce the comparison.”
According to Meat Loaf, the song is “constructed from” a shot near the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in which the viewer looks down a valley and sees the lights of a city. He says all the clients in the Bates Motel “wish they would have left like a bat out of hell… It had nothing to do, believe it or not, with Bruce Springsteen. It had to do with Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho.”
FUN FACT: The motorcycle sound in the middle of the song is producer Todd Rundgren on electric guitar. Todd hated the idea at first, but Steinman begged him until he did that and the subsequent solo in one take.
Heaven Is In Your Mind by Traffic – “Heaven Is In Your Mind” was written by Jim Capaldi (drummer), Steve Winwood (vocal frontman), and Chris Wood (saxophonist and flutist) of Traffic. It was released on their debut album Mr. Fantasy in 1967.
This song, with its trippy stereo channel shifts, wandering melody, and eccentric mixing, is a good example of early Traffic. Mr. Fantasy is widely regarded as their least mainstream effort; by their second eponymous album, they’d ironed out their rough edges and aimed more for mainstream psychedelic rock. Although the “psychedelic” part limited their success in the UK, they enjoyed better success in the US.
Music fans today don’t seem to recognize Traffic for the influential group that they were. For starters, Rolling Stone ranks Steve Winwood #33 in its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Winwood has also been a member of the bands the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, and Go, winning multiple Grammy awards in the process. Chris Wood, growing up in Birmingham, England, jammed with the likes of Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer; he also played with Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland. Jim Capaldi played and collaborated with such famous names as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Carlos Santana. And singer/guitarist Dave Mason has played alongside Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac and Cass Elliot. That’s Winwood, Wood, Capaldi, and Mason of Traffic. If it happened in music in the ’60s-to-’80s, they were there.
What the Hell is Goin’ On by Elvin Bishop – I haven’t heard much about Elvin Bishop since his 1976 hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” which was one of my favorites back then and it still is. I came across this particular Elvin Bishop song researching the theme and liked it. So who is Elvin Richard Bishop? He was born October 21, 1942 and is an American blues and rock music singer, guitarist, bandleader, and songwriter. An original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of that group in 2015 and the Blues Hall of Fame in his own right in 2016.
In 1968, Elvin Bishop left Butterfield’s band following the release of In My Own Dream. He launched a solo career and relocated to the San Francisco area, where he made frequent appearances at the Filmore with artists like Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and the Allman Brothers Band. He has released several records over the years, including the one that this song is on, Gettin’ My Groove Back, released in 2005 via Blind Pig Records (that’s a new one to me).
The Edge of Heaven by Wham! – “The Edge of Heaven” is a song by British pop duo Wham!, released on Epic Records in 1986. It was written by George Michael, one half of the duo, and was promoted in advance as Wham!’s farewell single, during their 1985 “Whamamerica” tour. With the known desire of George Michael to move into a more adult market, Wham! had announced in the spring of 1986 that Michael and his musical partner Andrew Ridgeley would go their separate ways after a farewell single, album and concert. The album was called The Final and the concert was held in front of 72,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday 28 June 1986.
The single, a five-minute tale of emotional and physical frustration within a relationship, was a slick and upbeat — albeit harder-edged than earlier works — pop tune which became the fourth and final No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart and the final US Top Ten hit, reaching #10 for the duo. Elton John, a friend of Michael and Ridgeley, played piano on the track.
FUN FACT: Michael has said the lyrics to the song were “deliberately and overtly sexual, especially the first verse”. The reason for this, he says, was he thought no one would care “because no one listens to a Wham! lyric. It had got to that stage.” Yikes.
What the Hell Did I Say by Dierks Bentley – “What the Hell Did I Say” is a song co-written and recorded by country music artist Dierks Bentley. It was released in June 2017 as the fourth single from his 2016 album Black. This is the second collaboration by Bentley, Kear and Tompkins, following the highly successful No. 1 single “Drunk on a Plane”. However, unlike “Drunk”, this song underperformed and became the lowest charting single of Bentley’s career. Underperformed or not, I still really like it.
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven by Phil Collins – “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” is a song performed by Phil Collins and released in 1990, from the album …But Seriously. The song reached the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts that same year. A live performance of the song also appears on the Serious Hits… Live! album. The song was written by Phil Collins and Daryl Stuermer and was produced by Phil Collins and Hugh Padgham. The song was originally written for the movie War of the Roses.
The only time the title of the song is used is the second line of the third verse. The song is often identified by the recurring hook of “How many times can I say ‘I’m sorry’?”
Music Video: A dog is napping in a meadow, dreaming of being in a silent movie in which it saves a woman tied to a set of railroad tracks from being run over by a train. The opening of the song is heard faintly in the distance, coming from the open back door of a concert hall, and the dog wakes up and ventures inside. Here, Collins and his band do a sound check and then perform the song as the dog explores the facility, eating from the band’s buffet table, climbing among the catwalks, and sitting briefly at an unused keyboard and drum kit. These sequences are intercut with shots from the dog’s black-and-white perspective, including a brief dream in which it sits at a formal table loaded with food.
At two different times, the dog relieves itself onstage, first by defecating near one of the backing singers – only discovered when he steps in the resulting mess – then later by urinating on the bassist’s leg. The latter occurs near the end of the song, and the video ends after Collins smiles and wipes the bassist’s shoe with a towel.
You Gotta Go Through Hell by George Strait – This is one of two new songs that George Strait recorded for his Strait Out of the Box: Part 2 box set. The singer also penned the song with frequent collaborator Dean Dillon and his son, Bubba.
The song features the legendary session guitarist Brent Mason. After listening to the recording, Strait said it brought to mind “Bad Things” by Jace Everett, which is the theme song from the HBO show, True Blood. Said George about Brent: “…he’s an amazing guitar player and the guitar part – well, all of his guitar parts are amazing. He plays on a lot of my sessions and most everything that I do.”
Redneck Heaven by Billy Ray Cyrus – from Billy Ray Cyrus’ 1994 album Storm in the Heartland. Although the album produced a few hits, two of which entered the Hot Country charts, there was critical reception of the rest of it. I got a kick out of this critic’s comment: Giving it a “C”, Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Cyrus “sticks to the tried-and-true” but added that “the yahoo factor figures heavily on ‘Redneck Heaven’…’ Cyrus misses his notes by a mile. An achy-breaky embarrassment.” Gotta love that last line, “an achy-breaky embarrassment.” haha
Heaven On Earth by Melissa Etheridge – “Heaven On Earth” is a track from Fearless Love, the eleventh studio album by American rock/pop musician Melissa Etheridge, released in April 2010. Etheridge said in an interview the album is “about being fearless. It’s about choosing love over fear. It’s a way, a philosophy of living life that suits me well.”
Fearless Love was widely viewed as Etheridge’s “return to rock” after a more introspective and blues-influenced album in The Awakening. I really like this song. What do you think of it? Are you a fan of Melissa Etheridge’s work? I definitely like her rock style best (surprise, right?).
Heaven Knows by Donna Summer – “Heaven Knows” is a song by American singer and songwriter Donna Summer, with guest vocals from Brooklyn Dreams released at the height of her fame during the 1970s disco era. It is adapted from the Live and More album where it is a part of the MacArthur Park Suite. It became a number 4 hit for Summer in the US the week of March 17, 1979, and held there for 3 weeks.
FUN FACT: A 1984 episode of Gimme a Break (remember that show??) features Nell Carter and guest star Ray Parker, Jr. performing a duet of the song.
FUN FACT: In 2013, following Donna Summer’s death, Nadia Ali (with Dave Audé) released a downtempo acoustic cover as a tribute:
Heaven by 3 Doors Down – By the American rock band 3 Doors Down, “Heaven” appears on the fifth studio album Time of My Life which was released in the summer of 2011. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold 59,800 copies in its first week of its release. The singles from the album included “When You’re Young”, “Every Time You Go”, “What’s Left”, “Back to Me”, and the title track “Time of My Life”. It is the last album to feature Matt Roberts before his departure from the band in 2012 and his death in 2016, as well as the last for Todd Harrell before he was arrested for vehicular homicide and fired from the band in 2013.
Wear Your Love Like Heaven by Peggy Lipton – We lost an iconic angel earlier this month when it was announced that Peggy Lipton died on Saturday May 11th. Diagnosed with colon cancer and treated in 2004, she ultimately succumbed to the disease. She was well known through her role as undercover hippie cop Julie Barnes in the counterculture television series The Mod Squad (1968–1973), for which she earned four Emmy nominations and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 1970. Her five-decade television, film, and stage career included many roles, including Norma Jennings in David Lynch’s surreal cult favorite, Twin Peaks.
I’m a huge Mod Squad fan and in fact have several seasons saved on a DVR. I had no idea she was a singer until I came across this song by her. She has a pretty voice. Very fitting for that flower child image that she has always carried.
FUN FACT: Peggy Lipton was married to music producer Quincy Jones from 1974 to 1990. The couple had two daughters, Kidada Jones and Parks and Recreation actress Rashida Jones. After the Mod Squad series ended, Lipton went on to enjoy a singing career, with three of her singles hitting the Billboard charts, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven” is a song by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings. Its lyrics were inspired by the death of Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, who fell from a New York apartment building on March 20, 1991. It appeared on the soundtrack of the 1991 film Rush.
The song was Clapton’s best-selling single in the United States and reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It won three Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.
In August 1990, Clapton’s manager, two of his roadies and his friend and fellow musician Stevie Ray Vaughan were killed in a helicopter accident. On March 20, 1991, Clapton’s 4-year-old son Conor died after falling from the 53rd-floor window of a New York City apartment belonging to Conor’s mother’s friend.
After isolating himself for a period, Clapton began working again, writing music for the film Rush (1991). He dealt with the grief of his son’s death by cowriting “Tears in Heaven” for the soundtrack with Will Jennings. In an interview with Sue Lawley in 1992, Clapton said of the song, “There is a song that I’ve written for a movie, but in actual fact it was in the back of my head but it didn’t really have a reason for being until I was scoring this movie which I did a little while ago and then it sort of had a reason to be. And it is a little ambiguous because it could be taken to be about Conor but it also is meant to be part of the film.”
In an interview with Daphne Barak, Clapton stated “I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and lo and behold, it worked… I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music.”
Fast-forward a few years: Clapton made numerous public service announcements to raise awareness for childproofing windows and staircases. Clapton stopped performing “Tears in Heaven” in 2004, (as well as the song “My Father’s Eyes”), stating: “I didn’t feel the loss any more, which is so much a part of performing those songs. I really have to connect with the feelings that were there when I wrote them. They’re kind of gone and I really don’t want them to come back, particularly. My life is different now. They probably just need a rest and maybe I’ll introduce them for a much more detached point of view.”
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan – And finally, the real Bob Dylan singing his fabulous song. Enjoy!
So that’s a wrap with my Heaven and Hell songs. I hope some of these brought back memories for you, like so many of them do for me. As well I hope some of these songs are new to you and that you like them. I almost want to say that there are countless Heaven and Hell songs out there but of course that’s not true. But there sure are a ton of them. The ones I presented here are one that played a vital role in my own personal life soundtrack or ones that I discovered and like.
Tell me, what are your favorite Heaven and Hell songs?
And don’t forget: Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Colette of Jamerican Spice and Alana of Ramblin’ with AM. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: