Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler

#1 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1533
Date:  07/16/1983
Debut:  75
Peak:  1 (4 weeks)
Weeks:  29
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This Welsh-born singer got signed to RCA in 1976 and issued her debut album the following year. With the exception of being a hit in Sweden, the album faded quickly. However, her second platter, Natural Force, would prove to be her breakthrough when the song "It's a Heartache" became a worldwide hit. In the US, the single would reach #3 at Pop, #10 AC and #10 Country. The gold record should have fully established her career, but unfortunately she just could not follow it up. Save for a couple of songs that hit in specific countries, all her subsequent singles and albums went bust. Nothing was working so Tyler decided to scrap everything and start anew. She got new management and then sought out a new sound. She happened to catch Meat Loaf performing on a TV show and it got her wheels spinning. She set out to get Meat Loaf's producer and principle songwriter, Jim Steinman, to help do her next album. He came on board and along with him he brought two of his epic songs. One was the title-track to her new album, Faster Than the Speed of Night, and the other was this first single. The bombastic ballad took a little time to catch on, but once it did there was no stopping its climb to #1 (#7 AC/#23 Rock). Six years after she was last on the chart with "It's a Heartache," Tyler finally broke through for a second time.

ReduxReview:  Turn around, bright eyes...turn around. When Jim Steinman got his groove on just exactly right, he could serve up a tasty dish of Wagneiran pop that is hard to not devour. As much as I love his work with Meat Loaf and his own solo hit ("Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through"), I think this is his masterwork. It's made even better by Tyler selling the song like her life depended on it (actually, I think her career did...). We listened to this on repeat forever. I even think my best friend named a boat or car "Bright Eyes." A classic for the 80s and beyond.


Trivia:  Quad Shot!  1) There are two stories as to how Tyler got this song. The more common one is that Steinman wrote this song and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" for a Meat Loaf album. Unfortunately, Meat Loaf's label refused to pay for the songs so Steinman kept them and one went to Tyler while the other went to Air Supply. However, Tyler has said that Steinman finished the song right before they met and it was not intended for Meat Loaf. (I believe he did write them for Meat Loaf. Steinman has recycling songs many times...)  2)  The male vocal part on this song was done by Rory Dodd. He's worked on many Steinman recordings including the ones for Meat Loaf.  3)  Two members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band appear on this song. Roy Bittan is on piano and Max Weinberg is on drums.  4)  Singer Nikki French issued a dance version of this song in 1995. It would reach #2 on the US Pop chart.



  1. I'll be interested to see what you think of "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man). I love it!

    1. I like it as well. However, I liked it better when the songwriter (Desmond Child) turned it into "You Give Love a Bad Name" for Bon Jovi. Apparently, he liked to recycle songs just as much as Steinman!

  2. I don't know that Steinman recycled songs as much as they all sounded (awesomely) alike. I mean, they are inescapable. I didn't know (at the time) Steinman wrote this and "Making Love..." but I could tell that they were by the same person who did Meatloaf's stuff. So bombastic. "Living in a powder keg and giving off sparks"

    1. Actually, he was a major recycler. Even this song is a recycle. He wrote a score for a c-grade movie in 1980 and melodies from the score were taken and used in this song and "Making Love." On his solo album, he did "Stark Raving Love." Exact themes from that song were reused to form "Holding Out for a Hero." Several parts from his concept album "Pandora's Box" were reused in other songs. The list goes on. However, I can't say I don't mind too much because the songs were totally awesome when he hit it just right.

  3. Well, then. Uncreative, or awesomely innovative in recycling?