Say Hello 2 Heaven is an alternative rock/grunge song created and performed by the American band Temple of the Dog. This song was released as the second single from the album Temple of the Dog in 1991. This is the only album the band has ever recorded.
Before jumping into the say hello to heaven lyrics meaning, you should know a little about the meaning of its title.
What Does the Title Mean?
The title is in direct reference to songwriter Chris Cornell’s friend Andrew Wood. He died from a heroin overdose at a young age. The song is Cornell’s way of wishing Wood good luck, as he enters his new home in heaven.
Please continue reading to understand Say Hello to Heaven lyrics meaning.
Verse 1 – What Does it Mean?
Please, mother mercy
Take me from this place
The first verse encapsulates the true essence of the say hello to heaven lyrics meaning. Songwriter Chris Cornell is in deep anguish due to his friend’s untimely death. “this place” refers to Cornell’s sadness and his incapability to cope with the sudden loss. These lines serve as a prayer to god (Mother Mary, perhaps), requesting the supernatural entity to ease Cornell’s pain.
The words “Mother”, “Love” and “Bone” appear across the three verses. They pay homage to the rock band Mother Love Bone. Andrew Wood, the deceased person whom this song is dedicated to, was the lead vocalist of that band. Mother Love Bone is credited for forming and popularizing the grunge genre in the rock music scene.
And the long-winded curses
I hear in my head
Since Cornell’s friend Wood died from a heroin overdose, there is a certain sense of guilt in the songwriter’s mind. Surely, Wood’s friends and band mates knew about his habit. Had they intervened effectively, Wood may have still been alive. But now he is dead and Cornell feels he is partly to be blamed. Guilt conscience is mocking him inside the head and throwing “long-winded” curses at him.
The words never listen
And teachers, oh they never learn
These lines hint at Cornell’s attempt to convince his friend to quit the filthy habit. Sadly, “words never listen”. His deceased friend was already lost in the haze of drugs to pay proper attention to any word of advice. He did not listen to Cornell. The use of the term “teachers” highlights the influence Cornell’s friend Wood had on him. His friend was a source of inspiration to Cornell. But despite all his wisdom and talent, Wood would “never learn”.
My warmth from the candle
Though I feel too cold to burn
The imagery of “the candle” can mean multiple things. It is customary to light a candle in church, as a form of prayer. Perhaps, Cornell is trying to find solace in the house of god, which has a direct connection with heaven where his friend has gone. “warmth from the candle” also emphasizes how weak his motivation to go on is. A single candle is not big enough to provide warmth to an adult man. As a result, Cornel is “too cold to burn”. This can also mean Cornell feels demotivated to write or play music.
He came from an island
Then he died from the street
These lines are a direct reference to Wood’s death. Although born in Mississippi, Andrew Wood spent a majority of his formative years in Bainbridge Island in Washington DC. When he met Cornell, Wood was literally “from an island”. But he got hooked on to street heroin and eventually died from an overdose.
“island” could also imply how lonely and secluded Wood must have felt. This happens to most drug users. They detach themselves from reality and lose contact with their loved ones.
And he hurt so bad like a soul breakin’
But he never said nothin’ to me, yeah
Songwriter Cornell is trying to empathize with his lost friend. He is attempting to understand his state of mind. His friend must have been hurt and deeply sad himself. But typical of drug users, he never reached out to anyone for help.
Chorus – What Does it Mean?
A’say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven
Say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven, yeah
Now Wood is dead and has left the Earth. Cornell wishes him luck and hopes that he finds peace in heaven, something he couldn’t do down here.
Verse 2 – What Does it Mean?
New like a baby, lost like a prayer
The sky was your playground
But the cold ground was your bed
Since his friend is in heaven now, Cornell is imagining what his life must be like. His friend Wood must be a new born baby in heaven. But Cornell would not know for sure, just like you are never truly aware of who listens to your requests when you pray. With heaven as his new home, Cornell’s friend must be playing in the skies. Though, his eternal resting place lies buried in the graveyard on Earth.
Ooh, I said, poor Stargazer
She’s got no tears in her eyes
But fool like a whisper
She knows that love heals all wounds with time
Cornell pays his condolences to Wood’s girlfriend at the time of his death. Her name was Xana Lafuente, but she was nicknamed “Stargazer”. These days Xana writes a blog where she recounts her time with Andrew Wood and comments on the 90s Seattle grunge scene.
Xana was definitely saddened by Wood’s death. But she did not breakdown. In her heart she knew that “love heals all wounds with time”. Someday, she will think about the good times she spent with Wood and not feel bad about his death. Fond memories of him will sustain her along.
Now it seems like too much love is never enough
Yeah, you better seek out another road
‘Cause this one has ended abrupt, oh
Human beings have an infinite capacity to love. They are also resilient and inherently optimistic. Both Cornell and Xana realize this. Yes, they loved Wood a lot. And in a way, that love went with him to heaven. But that will not stop these two from moving on with their lives and making the most out of it. They will take “another road” and continue their journey.
Verse 3 – What Does it Mean?
I, I never wanted
To write these words down for you
With the pages of phrases
Of all the things we’ll never do
Cornell had not anticipated Wood’s sudden demise. He never thought he would pay tribute to a dead friend through a song. Like an obituary, this song recollects fond memories with Wood and also reflects upon how life could have been with him still around. But now those are the “things we’ll never do”.
Hey, so I blow out, out the candle and I put you to bed
Since you can’t say to me now
How the dog broke your bone
There’s just one thing left to be said
Now Cornell is ready to get up and move on. He has mourned Wood’s death enough. He will cease holding out a candle for Wood and allow him to rest peacefully in heaven.
“dog broke your bone” is directly inspired by the name of the band Temple of the Dog. The master of the Temple (that is, the dog) bit Wood and took his life. Interestingly, the reverse of “dog” is “god”. So being bitten by this dog is a comparison to being touched by an angel.
Hope this article helped you in understanding the Say Hello to Heaven lyrics meaning.
The Say Hello to Heaven lyrics meaning can be appreciated by anyone who has lost somebody they loved. It is a sad song which mourns the deceased. But it ends on a more positive note which will uplift the listeners.