“Heaven Can Wait” by Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf’s “Heaven Can Wait” relies considerably on religious terminology, as inferred by its title. And to some degree it utilizes heavy-headed language that isn’t that easy to put all together. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Meat Loaf's Heaven Can Wait at Lyrics.org.

But reportedly, what it is centered on is a concept like the vocalist being thoroughly smitten. Therefore, the expression “heaven can wait” is meant to allude to the idea that he’s not interested in going to the titular location in the afterlife. The reason is because he already has “a taste of paradise” down here on the earthly plane as a result of being in love.

And to reiterate, it isn’t exactly like that idea comes screaming forth via the lyrics. In fact in a lot of ways, the words read as if it is actually religious-based. It is as if Meat Loaf may indeed be speaking to spiritual matters as opposed to, as put forth, romance. 

For instance, the term “let the altar shine” is very ambiguous within the context it is used in this song. And ultimately, what the singer is speaking to boils down to what exactly he means by having attained “a taste of paradise”. To note, elsewhere on the “Bat Out of Hell” album (i.e. on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”), the term “paradise” is used as a metaphor for romance or more specifically sex.

And lastly, it should be pointed out that this song was originally conceived for a musical entitled Neverland. Readily-available information on said production is scant, considering that thus far it has only seen the light of day once, back in 1977. However, Neverland was a show whose songs, with titles such as “Kingdom Come”, “Gods” and “Bat Out of Hell”, as well as a character therein being named “Baal”, was definitely inspired in part by the Bible though most likely not in the Christian sense or anything like that. 

Or put differently, “Heaven Can Wait” can ultimately be considered one of those types of songs which utilizes established religious terminology to point to secular ideas.

Lyrics of Meat Loaf's "Heaven Can Wait"

Facts about “Heaven Can Wait”

This song was written by Jim Steinman (1947-2021), i.e. the author of the entirety of “Bat Out of Hell”, the album that this track comes from. 

It was originally intended for a musical he was put together entitled Neverland, and as such its penning dates back to the early 1970s. However, this piece more notably ended up being released as part of the aforementioned album, via Cleveland International Records, on 21 October 1977.

Bette Midler recorded this song, as a demo, prior to Meat Loaf getting around to doing so. In fact it was via Midler’s rendition that introduced Loaf to the song. 

Furthermore, two female singers who were involved, in varying capacities, with “Bat Out of Hell”, Karla DeVito and Ellen Foley, got around to coming out with their own version of “Heaven Can Wait” respectively in 1981 and, as far as Foley goes, in 2015 and again in 2021.

Todd Rundgren not only produced this song but also served as one of its backup vocalists, alongside Rory Dodd.

Heaven Can Wait

7 Responses

  1. Kathy O'Donnell says:

    I have always thought that the song was about a near death experience. I am sad to think that I was wrong. I researched the meaning today and found it was nothing close to a near death experience that inspired these lyrics. I still cried today listening to the song and thinking it was about that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I took a whole different meaning to this song than the original intention. Either way it’s an a.azing song and brings me to tears every time I hear it

  3. Billy says:

    I take a different view on this song and I think the only way to “get it” is if you have been through a break up in a relationship and you feel in touch with your very soul.
    “And all the gods come down just to sing for me” I feel this is about, feeling that we are the only person this is happening to and so the gods are centred on us only, they have our full attention.
    “I got a taste of paradise and I’me never gonna let it slip away” I feel this is about a very passionate and sexual relationship that could never be matched “Paradise” and you want the memory to stay with you, because its all you have left. “That’s all i really need to make me stay” ……You are contemplating taking your life but the “paradise” you have experienced is real, tangible almost. Why trade it in for a Paradise you can only hope for. “Just like a child again”…. The paradise he has encountered is similar to the Paradise of when we are a child, no worries, oblivious of some aspects of the world.
    “All i got is time until the of time”……The future is a blank canvas, there is nothing in front except time, nothing to measure it by, nothing planned, nothing to look forward to.
    “I wont look back………” Trying to convince yourself that looking back will only hurt….move on……self preservation.” Let the altar shine”… I struggled with this for a while till it hit me that it could be about….letting the alter shine for others instead, but not for me….not today.
    “And i know that I’ve been released, but i don’t know to where?…….You know that the relationship was bad and it took up all your time, your energy, it engulfed your life…..I should be happy to be free of that.
    “Nobody’s gonna tell me how”…… People, family, friends, are reluctant to say stuff like, “its gonna be alright”…..”you’ll meet someone else”, they know that anything they say is going to touch a nerve.
    “if I had it any sooner you know, I would never have run away from my home”…. my take on this is about this guy was married and if that “Paradise” had been there in his marriage, he would have had no reason to leave or be tempted to stray…… That’s my take on this…. great song……

  4. Dawn says:

    My take on this song is that I’m taking my time to say goodbye to my loved ones. Telling my loved ones how much I love them and how much they mean to me, but I’ve had a glimpse of Heaven and I won’t look back….that they should not grieve for me and to be joyous for me and let the alters shine….

  5. PJ says:

    Heaven can wait, I’m not done yet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let the altar shine.
    You need to keep the light of Christ burning in this sin darkened world.

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