Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Holding Out for a Hero

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Released  13 April 1984
Recorded  1984
Label  Columbia
Format  CD single, 7", 12"
Genre  Electro rock, Disco
Length  5:50 (album version) 4:21 (single edit)

"Holding Out for a Hero" is a song recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for the soundtrack to the 1984 film Footloose, and later included on her 1986 album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire. It was written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford. Initially, the song only just reached the Top 100 in the UK Singles Chart, but made it to number 2 the following year, and re-entered the charts again at number 69 in 1991. The song reached No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart on 28 September 1985. It reached the top 40 in the United States and Canada.


The song's instrumental break was reused from an earlier song by Jim Steinman called "Stark Raving Love", which featured on Steinman's 1981 album Bad for Good.


Jim Steinman had been recruited to work on the Footloose soundtrack, for which he wrote "Holding Out for a Hero" with Dean Pitchford. Steinman suggested Tyler's name when he was approached about finding a singer to record the song. Tyler recorded the song at the Paramount Studios, and was shown the scene of the film where the song would feature.

Music video

The video was produced by Jeffrey Abelson, and directed by Doug Dowdle, with the concept by Keith Williams. It was the second music-video (following Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy") that successfully promoted Footloose while having no movie footage in the video.

The video starts off with Bonnie Tyler escaping from a burning house; the video is set primarily in the vicinity of the burning house and on the edge of the Grand Canyon – interspersed with shots of angelic background singers dressed all in white. Evil cowboys dressed in black, carrying neon whips appear before Tyler, threatening her; a cowboy hero dressed in white, brandishing a revolver, appears on horseback and the evil cowboys flee on horseback, with the hero in pursuit. As the song fades out, the hero cowboy appears in front of Tyler.

It was used as the opening theme for the Channel 4 American Football show in the 1980s.


  • Bonnie Tyler – vocal
  • Rory Dodd – background vocal, vocal arrangement
  • Holly Sherwood – background vocal
  • Eric Troyer – background vocal, vocal arrangement
  • Ellen Foley – vocal arrangement
  • Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone
  • Hiram Bullock – guitar
  • Tom "Bones" Malone – trombone, horn arrangement
  • Jim Pugh – trombone
  • Alan Rubin – trumpet
  • Sterling Smith – drums, piano, synthesizer
  • Lew Soloff – trumpet
  • David Taylor – bass trombone
  • Art Wood – drums
  • Jim Steinman – producer
  • Live performances

    Two recorded live performances of "Holding Out for a Hero" have been released on her live albums Bonnie Tyler Live (2007) and Live in Germany 1993 (2011). Video performances have also been released on Tyler's DVDs, Bonnie on Tour (2007) and the DVD edition of Live in Germany 1993.

    Other versions

    Since the original release in 1984, Tyler has re-recorded the song three times. Two versions were released under Stick Music, on her album Simply Believe (2004) and EP Bonnie Tyler (2005). She recorded the song again in 2011 on an EP entitled Total Eclipse of the Heart, released by Cleopatra Records.

    The song is included as a playable track on Just Dance 2015.

    Cover versions

  • Elizabeth Daily recorded the song as the series theme song to the TV series Cover Up.
  • Jennifer Saunders recorded the song for the 2004 film Shrek 2. It also featured on the associated soundtrack.
  • Frou Frou also recorded an alternatively tuned version of the song for Shrek 2 which appears during the film credits and in the soundtrack.
  • Ella Mae Bowen recorded a version of the song on the 2011 remake of Footloose. It also appeared on the soundtrack.
  • Becca Tobin and Melissa Benoist performed the song on Glee. It features in the episode "Dynamic Duets", and was released as a single.
  • Van Canto, a German a capella heavy metal band, recorded a cover of the song for their album Dawn of the Brave.
  • Soundtrack appearances

  • Footloose [Film] (1984)
  • Cover Up [TV Series] (1984)
  • Days of Our Lives [TV Series] (1984)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks [TV Series] "Three Alarm Alvin" (28 September 1985) and "Alvin's Not So Super Hero" (21 January 1989)
  • Short Circuit 2 1988
  • Who's Harry Crumb? 1989
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman [TV Series] "Pilot" (12 September 1993)
  • Bandits 2001 (US #165, top soundtracks #15)
  • Shrek 2 2004
  • Cold Case [TV Series] Episode 22, Season 3 The River (7 May 2006)
  • Drawn Together [TV Series] "Spelling Applebees" (19 October 2006)
  • Nacho Libre 2006
  • Smallville [TV Series] Episode 8, Season 9 Idol (13 November 2009)
  • Saints Row: The Third (15 November 2011)
  • Regular Show [TV Series] "Eggscellent" (27 February 2012)
  • Just Dance 2015 (21 October 2014)
  • Scream Queens [TV Series] Episode 2, Season 2 "Warts and All" (27 September 2016)
  • Around the world, Holding Out for a Hero has become considered a torch song. In the LGBT community, The Star Observer of Australia deemed the song a dearly-loved gay anthem.

    Tyler's version is heard in a 2017 TV commercial for the Kia Niro. The ad stars Melissa McCarthy, who travels around the world stopping environmental disasters around the world.


  • The Magic of David Copperfield VI Floating Over the Grand Canyon 1984, David Copperfield & Bonnie Tyler
  • Bonnie Tyler The Video 1986
  • 50 Jahre Rock 2004
  • Discomelodies and Rhythms in Russian 2005
  • Track listings and formats

    1984 7" single
    1. "Holding Out for a Hero" – 4:22
    2. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
    1984 12" single
    1. "Holding Out for a Hero" (Extended Remix) – 6:19
    2. "Holding Out for a Hero" (Instrumental) – 5:15
    3. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
    1991 12"/CD single
    1. "Holding Out for a Hero" – 4:41
    2. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
    3. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – 6:49


    Holding Out for a Hero Wikipedia