Get Total Eclipse of the Heart essential facts below. View Videos or join the Total Eclipse of the Heart discussion. Add Total Eclipse of the Heart to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Worldwide, the single has sales in excess of 6 million copies and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over 1 million copies after its release, updated to Platinum in 2001 when the certification threshold changed. In 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation's third favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
Background and composition
After her contract with RCA Records ended in 1981, Tyler found a new manager in David Aspden and after seeing Meat Loaf perform "Bat Out of Hell" live on The Old Grey Whistle Test, approached Meat Loaf's producer Jim Steinman and asked him to be her producer. Tyler visited Steinman in his apartment in New York in April 1982 with her manager, where she was presented with two tracks: "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" and "Goin' Through the Motions". She stated that had she not liked the songs Steinman played for her, he would have rejected Tyler's invitation to collaborate. She returned to his studio apartment weeks later, where Steinman and Rory Dodd performed "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for her. He also hand-picked the recording band for the song.
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" had to be shortened for radio play. Tyler did not believe that the song was radio-friendly at its full length; the song was reduced from seven minutes and two seconds to four minutes and thirty seconds.
with 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of Nosferatu, the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in the dark...
He also told People magazine that he thought Tyler sounded like John Fogerty, and wrote the song "to be a showpiece for her voice." Tyler described the song as "a challenge [to sing]," stating that she "[doesn't] like songs that anybody can sing. I like songs that need a lot of energy." After Steinman presented her with the song she told The Times, "I just had shivers right up my spine. ... I couldn't wait to actually get in and record it."
According to Meat Loaf, Steinman had written the song, along with "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", for Meat Loaf's album Midnight at the Lost and Found; however, Meat Loaf's record company refused to pay Steinman and he wrote separate songs himself. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was then given to Bonnie Tyler and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" to Air Supply. Tyler has denied this claim. "Meat Loaf was apparently very annoyed that Jim gave that to me," Tyler stated. "But Jim said he didn't write it for Meat Loaf, that he only finished it after meeting me."
In an interview with journalist Mick Wall shortly after the release of Meat Loaf's 2006 album Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, Steinman stated: "I didn't write [Total Eclipse of the Heart] for anyone but Bonnie." Steinman believed that CBS were expecting him to write something similar to "It's a Heartache", but he had different ideas.
Mike DeGagne from AllMusic retrospectively described "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as "one of the finest ballads ever to hit radio." He noted the "lush instrumentation" and said that Tyler's voice "produced the perfect type of 'desperate lovelorn' effect to suit the romantic lyrics." He described Roy Bittan's piano playing as "dreamy" and described Tyler's voice as "wonderfully gritty." Donald A. Guarisco, also from AllMusic, retrospectively reviewed Faster Than the Speed of Night, and noted the song as an "epic ballad," describing the whole album as "rock at its most melodramatic." Jim Beviglia from American Songwriter said that Tyler's raspy vocals helped to legitimize the "melodrama inherent in the lyrics," and described the song as a "garment-rending, chest-beating [and] emotionally exhausting ballad" that suits the throes of a turbulent relationship.
The video received two nominations at the Billboard Video Music Awards in 1983 for Best Performance by a Female and Most Effective Use of Symbolism.
A long-running urban legend is that the boy who appears throughout the video and who shakes Tyler's hand at the end is former Italian footballer Gianfranco Zola. In a 2012 interview, Zola confirmed that he did not appear in the video. As of August 2019, the video had more than 620 million views.
Live recordings of Tyler performing the song have been released on her live albums Bonnie Tyler Live (2006) and Live in Germany 1993 (2011). Video performances have also been released on Tyler's DVDs, Bonnie on Tour (2006) and the DVD edition of Live in Germany 1993.
In 2014, the Electric Picnic festival announced Bonnie Tyler as part of the lineup. Tickets were already sold out, though Irish rugby player Cian Healy won the Irish Women's rugby team extra tickets for a comic miming video published on Instagram.
Other versions by Bonnie Tyler
Since the original release in 1983, Tyler has re-recorded the song several times for albums and subsequent single releases. Her first and most successful re-recording of the song was released in 2003. Tyler recorded a French/English duet version called "Si demain... (Turn Around)" with Kareen Antonn. It peaked at number one in France and Belgium. Tyler released another version of the song in 2004 as a duet with Peter Brocklehurst on his album For You. A solo version of the recording was released on her studio album Wings in the following year.
BabyPinkStar recorded the song with Tyler in a punk/electronic remix version that was released as a single in the UK in January 2007. In 2009, Tyler released another version of the song with Welsh choral group Only Men Aloud! In 2011, Tyler re-recorded the song on an EP named after the song, released by Cleopatra Records. Her most recent recording of the song appears as a bonus track on her album Rocks and Honey (2013).
Nicki French released a Hi-NRG remake of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 1995, which was also a worldwide hit. It originally peaked at No. 54 on the UK Singles Chart in 1994, but reached No. 5 after being re-issued in 1995. In the United States, French's version peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" by Bryan Adams and it garnered frequent airplay on AC radio. It enjoyed greater success in Australia, spending four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 2 behind "Here's Johnny!" by Hocus Pocus. Elsewhere, the cover reached number 13 in New Zealand, number 16 in Canada, and peaked within the top 10 of several European countries.
French had made her first dance version recording of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 1994: she had purchased the Bonnie Tyler original as a teenager in 1983 and reacted negatively to the original suggestion that she (i.e. French) remake the song as dance track -- "I thought, no, it's too strong a song to go down the dance route. You know, it demeans it almost. But then I thought well, I'll give it a go. And as soon as I heard the track, I thought it actually does work." The singer had been performing in London bands since the age of 12 and was given the chance to record a version when she received a phone call from a fellow British musician.[conflicted source] French's first recording of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", made with John Springate of the Glitter Band producing, came to the attention of Mike Stock and Matt Aitken who produced their own recording of the song by French and it was this version which appeared on the UK chart dated 15 October 1994 at No. 54. French would recall: "I just thought oh well that was great...I've [worked with] Mike Stock and Matt Aitken and it was a dream come true...we tried and I had a great time...And then about two months later I had a call out of the blue from Mike saying the buzz will not die down on this track so we're going to re-record the beginning...and we're going to re-release it at the beginning of 1995."
According to French, her remake of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" became popular in the UK and the US in distinct remixes: "the slower version was the one that actually took a hold in the UK where originally they started with the fast one and then decided to go with the [remix which began] in the same vein as the Bonnie Tyler version [and then] sped up when the chorus came in...In the US it was the [remix] which was fast all the way through."
Music & Media wrote about the song: "Away is the sandpaper vocal of Bonny Tyler, the edge now comes from the dance context put into the ballad. Needless to say it's an upbeat song anno 1995. Top 10 in the UK."
Irish boy bandWestlife recorded a cover of the song on their 2006 album The Love Album. The song would have been released as the album's second single but was cancelled due to their The Love Tour conflicts, though a promo release still reached No. 5 on the radio charts in the Philippines and No. 55 in Czech Republic. Three official remixes have been made for their version as well as a remix done by Jim Steinman, which was ultimately rejected by the record label but has surfaced on the Internet. The song was released as a promotional single in 2007. The Sunset Strippers Radio Mix version of the song charted at number 210 in the Official Russian Top Radio Hits Chart in 26 February 2007. It was composed in the traditional verse-chorus form in Bb major, with Filan and Feehily's vocal ranging from the chords of C4 to C6.
Italian singer L'Aura covered the song in Italian as "Eclissi del cuore" from her third studio album Sei come me in 2010, which was not originally released as a single. One year later, a new version of the song, now a duet with fellow Italian singer Nek was officially released as a single, this duet peaking at number 6 on the Italian charts.
A parody of the song and music video were published in 2009, in what the fans and makers call a "literal video version", which is a type of video that replaces the original song lyrics with humorous lyrics describing the images in the video. Time magazine listed it as the 6th best viral video of 2009. This was also the 6th literal video produced by professional video editor David A. Scott Jr.; the singer who performed for this re-dub was Scott's friend Felisha Noble using the pseudonym Persephone Maewyn.
In 2010, Tyler appeared in an advertisement for MasterCard, performing a short parody of the song with its noted new lyric "Turn around, Neville." She performed the original song in a similar advertisement for Westpac in 2012.