"Show Me Heaven" is a power ballad written by Maria McKee, Eric Rackin and Jay Rifkin, and recorded by McKee and produced by Peter Asher for the soundtrack to the Tom Cruise film Days of Thunder, released in June 1990. The song reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks and went on the become the sixth highest-selling single of 1990 in the UK. Additionally, the song became a worldwide hit, topping the charts of Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway and becoming a top-five hit in Australia, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. It has since been covered by numerous other artists, most noted by Tina Arena who's edition also reached the charts.
"Show Me Heaven" originated as "Secret Fire", a track written by Eric Rackin and Jay Rifkin for the soundtrack of Days of Thunder. When Geffen contacted McKee in the hope she would record the song, the singer dismissed the idea, but the label insisted they send her the demo tape for consideration. On hearing the demo, McKee felt the lyrics were "appalling". She told Simon Mayo in 1991: "I liked the melody but I said I'd only do it if I could change the lyrics." McKee's demand was initially refused, but she was later given permission to rewrite the lyrics.
The song received favorable reviews from most music critics. Aberdeen Press and Journal described it as "more heaven" from the former Lone Justice singer. They complimented McKee's "superbly lazy, yet faultless" vocals. Jeffery Kennedy from Bay Area Reporter said it was a "blatant Hollywood hyperballad that perfectly showcased her gilded throat".Larry Flick from Billboard stated that it is a "delicate, well-sung ballad that could give the long-overlooked McKee her first bonafide hit."Cashbox wrote that the singer is "the lost goddess of the pop airwaves". They noted "her heartachingly lovely jewel of a voice [that] can squeeze diamonds out of the coal-black grooves of a record." In his review of the Days of Thunder Soundtrack, Greg Sandow from Entertainment Weekly called it "affecting". John Wirt from The News-Journal noted it as a "stunning love song with bite." Tom Ewing from Freaky Trigger called it a "post-Madonnapower ballad" and added that McKee "can belt, but she's most comfortable away from the chorus, giving "Show Me Heaven" a more tender and dynamic performance." Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report wrote that "there aren't many singers on the planet who can outdo Maria's remarkable vocal range. It was her voice that first endeared me to her band Lone Justice. Now as a soloist, she puts all that special ability to the test on the heart-stopping love theme from the Tom Cruise film, Days of Thunder. A couple of listens won me over." David Giles from Music Week commented, "McKee's powerful voice endows a fairly ordinary MOR soft rock song with a certain piquancy that lifts it well above the average soundtrack song." Gene Sandbloom from The Network Forty said that McKee "has a tremendous voice and stage presence", and called the song "one of the most memorable ballads of the year." He noted that "before you even get to the chorus, you know this is the kind of heart warming song that can't miss bringing in across the board demos come weekly music research time. If you missed the film, don't worry. If you didn't like McKee's past work, forget it. This is one of those magic moments when everything falls perfectly into place, and you'll realize it with one listen." Mark Ramshaw from NME described it as "floaty".Sunday Tribune complimented it as a "Californian voice of an angel".
"Show Me Heaven" spent four weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart, ending the year as the country's sixth highest-selling single, and is McKee's only UK number-one as a performer (although the song "A Good Heart"—written by her—was a UK number-one for Feargal Sharkey in November 1985). The power ballad had even greater success in Norway, topping the Norwegian Singles Chart for 10 weeks. The track was also a number-one success in Belgium and the Netherlands.
"Show Me Heaven" failed to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 but did reach number 28 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In Canada, "Show Me Heaven" reached number 69 on the RPM Top Singles chart and number 30 on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart. Elsewhere, the single reached number two in Ireland and Sweden, number three in Australia, number four in Switzerland, and the top 20 in Austria, Germany and New Zealand.
Australian singer Tina Arena released her version of "Show Me Heaven" as the fifth single from her 1994 album Don't Ask. Although it did not chart in her home country, her version of the song reached number 29 in the United Kingdom, number 33 in New Zealand and number 78 in Germany. It also peaked at number three on the US BillboardBubbling Under Hot 100 and number 52 on the Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary chart.