Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Total Eclipse of the Heart

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7" 12"

Jim Steinman

"Take Me Back" (UK) "Straight from the Heart" (US)

6:59 (album version) 5:53 (2013 re-recording for the album Rocks and Honey) 5:32 (music video version) 4:35 (2011 single version) 4:30 (single version) 3:49 (2005 re-recording for the album Wings)

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" is a song recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler. It was written and produced by Jim Steinman, and released on Tyler's fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night (1983). The song was released as a single by Columbia Records on 11 February 1983 in the United Kingdom and on 31 May 1983 in the United States.


"Total Eclipse of the Heart" became Tyler's biggest career hit, hitting number one in several countries including the UK, where it was the fifth-best-selling single in 1983, and the US, making her the first and only Welsh singer to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. It was Billboard's number-six song of the year for 1983.

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.


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. She returned to his studio apartment weeks later, where Steinman and Rory Dodd presented "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to 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.

The power ballad remains Tyler's most successful song, peaking at No. 1 in the United States, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. At its peak, it sold 60,000 copies per day, and approximately 6 million copies in total. It won the Variety Club award in the UK for best single of 1983. The song also made number 82 of VH1's top 100 love songs.


Steinman said in an interview with Playbill:

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 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."

Critical reception

Mike DeGagne from AllMusic 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, 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.

Music video

The music video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was directed by Russell Mulcahy and was filmed on location at the Holloway Sanatorium, a large Victorian Gothic hospital near Virginia Water, Surrey, England. The video features Bonnie Tyler clad in white, dreaming or fantasizing about her students in a boys' boarding school. Young men are seen dancing and participating in various school activities and singing in a choir. 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.

Live performances

Since the song's release, Tyler performs "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in every concert she performs. "I sing it much better now than I used to," she told The Huffington Post. "I think my voice is probably not as husky as it was, I think it's mellowed a bit." A very notable performance of the song took place at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, on 28 February 1984.

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.

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from AllMusic (from the album, Faster Than the Speed of Night):

  • Bonnie Tyler – lead vocals
  • Rick Derringer – guitar
  • Steve Buslowe – bass guitar
  • Roy Bittan – piano
  • Larry Fast – synthesizers
  • Steve Margoshes – additional synths
  • Max Weinberg – drums
  • Jimmy Maelen – percussion
  • Holly Sherwood – lead backing vocals
  • Rory Dodd – 'Turn around' and backing vocals
  • Eric Troyer – backing vocals
  • 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! backing her. 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).

    Formats and track listings

    UK 7" single
    1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – 4:29
    2. "Take Me Back" – 5:05
    US 7" single
    1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – 4:29
    2. "Straight from the Heart" – 3:38
    UK 12" single
    1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – 6:59
    2. "Take Me Back" – 5:22
    1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Sunset Strippers Verse Club Mix)
    2. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Sunset Strippers Dub Mix)
    3. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Sunset Strippers Radio Edit)

    Nicki French version

    Nicki French released a Hi-NRG remake of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 1995, which was also a worldwide hit. 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 also reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart after being re-issued in 1995.

    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." 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."

    Westlife version

    Irish boy band Westlife 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. 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 promotional single on 2007.

    Other versions

  • The Italian version "Eclissi del cuore" was re-recorded by L'Aura with Nek and was released as a single in October 2011, reaching No. 5 on the Italian Singles Chart. This version of the song was certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry, denoting downloads exceeding 30,000 units.
  • Mexican singer Yuridia covered the song in Spanish as "Eclipse Total del Amor" from her second studio album Habla El Corazón in 2006. The single peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Latin Pop Songs chart.
  • In 1997, Jim Steinman used the melody of the song for the Austrian musical Tanz der Vampire. The song "Totale Finsternis" is sung at the beginning of the second act in the form of a duet between the characters of Sarah and Von Krolock. The structure of the song is almost identical to the original, while very different is the arrangement. The German texts by Michael Kunze are also different from Steinman's original ones, although some parts are very similar. The repetitive "Sei Bereit", the main melody "Manchmal in der nacht ..." and especially the familiar refrain "Sich verliern heißt sich befrein" are repeated several times during the musical, sung or in instrumental form, and together with the melody of "Gott ist tot", are the main themes of the musical.
  • The Norwegian band Hurra Torpedo attracted attention on the internet when a video of their version of the song, performed using kitchen appliances, went viral.
  • Parodies

    A parody of the song and music video were published in 2009, in what the fans and makers call a "literal video version", which 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. 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.

    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 appearances

    In a 2013 UK survey, the song came first in a list of most popular songs to sing in the shower, above songs by Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, One Direction and Elton John. In 2015 the song was voted by the British public as the nation's third favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.

    "Total Eclipse of the Heart" received substantial media attention during the solar eclipse of March 20, 2015. Tyler's version received a 214% increase of Spotify streams throughout the day.


    Total Eclipse of the Heart Wikipedia

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