Heaven Is A Place On Earth

‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’ is a power love ballad by American singer Belinda Carlisle who first burst into the limelight as the lead singer of the all-female band the Go-Go’s.  According to Carlisle, the song is centered on hope, letting everyone know that since up in heaven, love comes first, us Earthlings also have the ability to make own heaven right here on Earth.  This tune is also about “peace of mind” and when people feel alone that someone is just an armlength away to bring them back home.  When they become lost at sea, someone will hear their voice, and be there to help rescue them.  It is mostly a love song about being together and feeling that the world’s alive, hearing the sound of kids on the street.  Getting that special feeling when you see your lover walk into the room and when they pull you close, and you start to move, spinnin’ with the stars above, lifted up in a wave of love.

Carlisle was a 19-year-old beauty school dropout when she had her first venture into music in 1977 as drummer for the punk rock band the Germs, under the name Dottie Danger.  Her time in the band was short only about a month due to her contracting mononucleosis, and she never recorded or performed live with the Germs.  Carlisle had to move back in with her parents to recover after getting the Kissing Germ while she was in the Germs.  Carlisle soon joined up with a bunch of friends and formed a band called the Misfits, who ended up changing both their name and their lineup, and the Go-Go’s became huge, although their time at the top was extremely brief.  They put out three albums when guitarist Jane Wiedlin told the band that she was leaving to do her own thing.  The Go-Go’s continued on, briefly, with bassist Kathy Valentine moving to guitar to replace Wiedlin and hiring new bassist Paula Jean Brown.  The Go-Go’s had some squabbles which led to their breakup, but Carlisle remained close to her bandmate Charlotte Caffey, who worked on her first two solo albums as a songwriter and guitarist.  The Go-Go’s don’t have any new material, but they continue to be a band, earning a comfortable living playing the old hits, live and in concert, to its throngs of adoring fans.

‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’ became Carlisle’s signature tune, it was her only #1 US hit, either solo or with the Go-Go’s and it’s also her most successful song to date.  It actually went to #1 in 20 countries in November 1987.  Some people are convinced that this song was written by God, because it is so catchy that it must have been transcribed in the heavens.  It is one of those ‘80s pop songs that has entered our collective unconscious.  If you consider every song that Belinda has ever sang in her recording career, this one is forever destined to remain, her ultimate, lasting legacy.

It was written by the San Francisco Grammy award-winning songwriter/producer Rick Nowels and New York musician, and songwriter Ellen Shipley and in addition to writing the song, they both sang the backing vocals on this track.  ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ went through several drafts and Carlisle actually recorded a finished version of it when Shipley realized that the song wasn’t good enough and that it needed to be re-written with a new arrangement.  Shipley was nervous about asking Carlisle to record the song again, since she’d already stretched herself vocally to do the first one, but Carlisle was fine with it.  It opens up with the chorus as Carlisle and all her backup singers start belting it out before the rest of the music kicks in.

Lindsey Buckingham co-wrote ‘Since Your Gone’ on Belinda’s debut solo album in 1986, and that is probably when Stevie Nicks and Belinda Carlisle became friends.  Belinda Carlisle hired Rick Nowels to produce her second solo album that was titled Heaven on Earth and Nowels had just worked on his first ever album project with Stevie Nicks.  Stevie Nicks actually matched Belinda Carlisle with Nowels who then approached Shipley in a Woodstock, NY café, and he asked her if she would like to collaborate with him on a Belinda Carlisle solo album.  Ellen Shipley got the initial idea for this song at a Brooklyn gas station where she spotted a greeting card that said “Heaven On Earth”.  When she and Nowels started working on a song for Belinda Carlisle, Shipley wrote that phrase on the blackboard as an idea.  Nowels wrote in the words “Is A’ and that became the title.  Nowels solely produced ‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’.  Singer Michelle Phillips formally of the Mamas & The Papas provided the song’s background vocals along with the American songwriter Diane Warren.  English musician new wave keyboard wizard Thomas Dolby played keyboard on this track.

The promotional music video for ‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’ was directed by the noted American actress and director Diane Keaton.  It stars Carlisle’s husband Morgan Mason right after they just got married.  It received a nomination in the category of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards in 1988.  Sometimes you only get one #1 hit and Belinda has just as many Billboard #1 hits as Pink Floyd, Chuck Berry, Neil Young and Bob Dylan have which is one more than Led Zeppelin, or Creedence Clearwater Revival ever got.

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
They say in Heaven, love comes first
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth

When the night falls down
I wait for you, and you come around
And the world’s alive
With the sound of kids on the street outside

When you walk into the room
You pull me close, and we start to move
And we’re spinnin’ with the stars above
And you lift me up in a wave of love

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
They say in Heaven, love comes first
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth

When I feel alone
I reach for you, and you bring me home
When I’m lost at sea
I hear your voice, and it carries me

In this world, we’re just beginnin’
To understand the miracle of livin’
Baby, I was afraid before
But I’m not afraid anymore

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
They say in Heaven, love comes first
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth

Heaven

Heaven

Heaven

In this world we’re just beginnin’
To understand the miracle of livin’
Baby, I was afraid before
But I’m not afraid anymore

Heaven
Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
They say in Heaven, love comes first
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth

Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Heaven and/or Hell.

29 thoughts on “Heaven Is A Place On Earth

  1. I love this song so much! It is such a classic! I love the key change at the end (which was been said to be one of the greatest key changes in music history). And, I didn’t know Dolby was featured on this track. I love his works!

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  2. Belinda Carlisle was my favorite singer for quite a while and still is one of my favorites in a 4 way tie. I love this song but my favorite by her is “Mad About You.” Both are irrepressibly happy and she is a stunning beauty.

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  3. Today was the first time I’ve seen the video. I liked the Go-Gos but never really got into Belinda’s solo work.
    This is one of those songs that we all know the chorus, whether we want to or not😂😂
    Cool that Diane Keaton directed. I love her!

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      1. It just seemed like the Heaven song was huge… maybe it’s just me because it hit later and I remember it better.

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