Cover #18 – Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”

19 Apr

Cover #18 is Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, from her 1987 album Heaven On Earth. It was written by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley.

This one’s by request, from Mikey.

Here’s what I wrote about this song a couple of years ago, when I wrote my review of the Top 100 Songs of 1988:

Long ago, back in the days before electricity and the wheel, back in the year of our lord nineteen hundred and eighty eight, you had three options when it came to securing a copy of your favorite song.

Option one was to buy it. Songs came packaged on big flat black things called records. They also came in small, fragile plastic things called tape cassettes. If you were really rich, you could secure yourself a Compact Disc of the song, which came in a big cardboard box with a smaller, plastic case inside that held the actual disc. If you only wanted to hear one song, you bought the CasSingle.

Option two was to borrow it from a friend and make your own taped copy of it. This was great, except that tape cassettes were the worst, most fragile invention known to man. If you liked a tape, it would inevitably become warbly and muffled at times. If you really liked a tape, it would get caught in your car’s tape player and you’d pull it out and there’d be magnetic tape everywhere. If the tape was a beloved one-of-a-kind mix tape made by the object of your affection for you that had all of your favorite songs, plus rare stuff from your favorite band and sound clips from various and sundry meaningful movies and tv shows, it would melt in your car on a hot day, rendering it useless. Then, God would laugh at you.

Option three was to tape it off the radio. There exists a tape somewhere at my mom’s house with “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Walk Like An Egyptian”, and many other classic songs of the era that little me, unable to convince my mother to buy me a rock and roll record, captured like fireflies one summer night off of WZOU. I still think this song doesn’t sound quite right unless it’s coming out of a tinny Radio Shack tape player, at low, low volume, late at night, when I’m supposed to be asleep.

As you can see, this song’s a particular nostalgic favorite of mine.  And yes, if you know the Pluto Tapes song “Fireflies”, that’s what it’s about: taping songs off the radio.  I love Belinda’s voice and I love this song, and I’m man enough to admit it.  I don’t think my version does it justice at all, but I needed to post something today.

I was reluctant to post this one, because it’s not done yet.  I mean, it sounds all right, but it’s obviously not done.  I’m trying to go for a Goldfrapp-meets-N’Sync thing, and it’s not quite there yet.  This is a rough draft.  I didn’t even incorporate the key change, the middle is a half-baked idea at best, and the choruses are iffy.

The problem with the “one cover a day” thing isn’t the recording.  That’s easy.  You can record a simple version of a tune in about a half-hour, and if you want drums and synths and stuff, it’ll maybe take you two hours tops.  The problem comes when you start mixing, and realizing that this line’s off-pitch and that guitar part isn’t very good and you really should re-record it so your audience doesn’t cringe in pain at the horribleness of it all.  And, really, most of you probably think it sounds okay, but dammit, it’s my voice and my project and I reserve the right to be typically me about it, okay?

Because it’s not done yet.  It’s obviously going to be good some day, so I invite you to look upon this version as a rare insight into my totally scatter-shot creative process.


Next up…: It’s the reason that I’m asking.  Hey la.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 19, 2009 in April Covers, music


One response to “Cover #18 – Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”

  1. E. Christopher Clark

    April 19, 2009 at 5:35 am

    A Belinda Carlisle admission: Belinda’s Heaven on Earth CD was the first disc played in the first CD player I ever owned. But, here’s the kicker: I got that CD player for my fifteenth or sixteenth birthday. My pals at the comic book store let me borrow it, because I hadn’t had enough birthday money left over to buy any CDs for the new player.

    I love this song, and not even as a guilty pleasure. I am a total pop bubblegum whore, as you know. And, anyway, I’m liking where this version is going. Thanks for sharing the rough draft. I look forward to hearing the final version.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: