Heaven Can Wait

Album: Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, heaven can wait because Meat Loaf has found paradise right here on Earth with his true love.

    Because it wasn't one of the singles released off Bat Out Of Hell and isn't an uptempo track suited for classic rock radio, this ballad occasionally gets overlooked when people discuss the Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman connection. But it is one of Steinman's most earnest and heartfelt compositions, free of the innuendo found on some of his other songs. Meat Loaf's performances of "Heaven Can Wait," both on Bat Out Of Hell and whenever he played it in concert, were always showstoppers.
  • If the piano stylings on the song sound familiar, it's because they were handled by Roy Bittan, a studio ace and longtime member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. As a matter of fact, fellow E Streeter Max Weinberg also plays drums on some of Bat Out Of Hell's rocking tracks. Meanwhile, the ghostly backing vocals on "Heaven Can Wait" are provided by Todd Rundgren, a legendary recording artist in his own right who produced the album.
  • According to Meat Loaf, the first time he heard "Heaven Can Wait," it was sung by Bette Midler, who did the demo.
  • On her 2021 album Fighting Words, Ellen Foley, the singer/actress who collaborated with songwriter Jim Steinman many times and sang the female lead on "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," performed a moving version of "Heaven Can Wait" as the closing track. Foley told Songfacts what drew her to the song. "What I heard first was a gorgeous, intense melody which I think you have to have in a ballad even before you look at the lyrics. But the lyrics of that song are extraordinary and I think different than anything Jim had written up to that point. They deal with mortality, loneliness, and hope."

    Foley got the chance to perform "Heaven Can Wait" many times in front of Steinman over the years, but it was the last time that stood out. "Jim had known my version since 1977 because I performed it before Bat Out Of Hell came out when I played the character Wendy in his theatrical show Neverland, Foley explained. "Since then, I have sung it with every band in every show I've ever done."

    In 2016, Foley sang it at Feinstein's Below 54 in Manhattan during a tribute concert for Steinman, who had been ill for a while. "Jim always told me that my version of 'Heaven Can Wait' was his favorite, and that I was the Maria Callas of rock and roll," she said, adding, "Jim tended to exaggerate a little bit."

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