Heaven Tonight is considered Cheap Trick's best album by many fans and critics. While their debut album Cheap Trick showed the band's darker, rawer side and In Color explored a lighter, more pop-oriented persona, Heaven Tonight combined both elements to produce a hook-filled pop-rock album with an attitude. Popular songs from this album include the anthemic "Surrender", "Auf Wiedersehen", the title track, and a cover of The Move's "California Man".
This was the second Cheap Trick album to feature Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the front cover and Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen on the back. While the front cover has Zander and Petersson standing in front of a nondescript background, the back cover portion (part of a continuous, wrap-around shot on the original LP) reveals that they are standing inside a public restroom where Nielsen is brushing his teeth and Carlos is fixing his tie in the mirror. Nielsen has a cassette copy of the band's previous album, In Color sticking out of his back pocket. At the suggestion of the record company, the album was originally to be called American Standard; the cover photography was intended to play upon the secondary association with the well-known manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. The band were less pleased with the idea and opted for the release title, but the cover design remained.
"Oh Claire" is a one-minute live jam with "Oh, konnichi wa" as the only lyrics. The title is a pun on Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where the band used to play frequently in their pre-stardom days. Cheap Trick wrote a similarly titled song, "O Claire," for their 2006 album Rockford. "How Are You" contains, in its second verse, the extract of "The Lord's Prayer", sped up 10 times and inserted between the lyrics 'you lie, you lie.'
"Surrender" is featured as a playable song on the video game Guitar Hero II with the outro from At Budokan used in the game. It is also featured in the soundtrack to EA's video game Skate.