This was written by Jim Steinman, who wrote all of Meat Loaf's hits, including "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad," and "I'll Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)." Like these Meat Loaf songs, this uses elaborate production and is very long, running 6:51.
According to an October 26, 2006 article in the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun
, Steinman first offered this song, along with "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
" to Meat Loaf for his 1983 album Midnight At The Lost And Found
. For financial reasons, Meat's record company wanted him to write his own songs for the album, so this song went to Tyler and "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" went to Air Supply.
Bonnie Tyler is from Swansea, Wales. This was the first record by a Welsh artist to top the US chart.
This entered the UK charts at #1, making Tyler the first female singer to do so.
Drummer Max Weinberg and keyboardist Roy Bittan, who are both members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street band, played on this. So did Rick Derringer, a guitarist who was a member of The McCoys ("Hang On Sloopy
") and had a hit on his own with "Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo."
This played a major role in the 2001 movie Bandits. Cate Blanchett's character loves the song, describing it as "The ultimate haiku to the complexity of love." She soon finds out that Bruce Willis' character also loves the song, and their relationship develops.
A wedding band sings a surprisingly vulgar version of this in the movie Old School
. It was performed by The Dan Band, which is a real group specializing in obscene versions of songs made popular by female singers.
This is featured in Urban Legends
(the first one) when at the beginning of the movie a girl is driving in her car and the killer is in the back seat. She puts this song on and starts singing to it before having her head chopped off.
In 1995, a version by Nicki French reached US #2 and UK #5. In 2003, a version by Jan Wayne reached UK #28.
Ever wonder how Bonnie Tyler got that raspy voice? After years of singing in nightclubs in Wales, she developed throat nodules and required surgery in 1976. After the operation, her voice developed the distinctive rasp you hear on this song.
The distinctive "Turn Around, Bright Eyes" backup vocals were sung by the male vocalist Rory Dodd, who has appeared on many of Jim Steinman's productions and sang backup on albums by Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, Lou Reed and many others.
This went on to sell over 5 million records worldwide. It won the Variety Club award in the UK for best single of 1983.
The gothic video, with Bonnie Tyler clad all in white, was story-boarded by Jim Steinman and was inspired by the film Future World, the follow-up to the Yul Brunner futuristic thriller Westworld. It was filmed at Holloway Asylum, which was built by a doctor out of the proceeds of a drug he'd invented to help his patients.
The video was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who worked on many of the early videos for Elton John, Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac. He says that the scene where a shirtless young boy throws a dove into the camera - which was Steinman's idea - earned him the wrath of Tyler. Mulcahy said in the book I Want My MTV: "Bonnie came around the corner and screamed, in her Welch accent, 'You're nothing but a f--king pre-vert!' And she stormed off. There was nothing perverse intended."
The song was performed in the Glee
episode "Bad Reputation" on May 8, 2010. The subsequent single release debuted at #16 on the Hot 100 with 134,000 digital sales. Out of all the Glee singles, only the cast's debut effort, "Don't Stop Believin'
," has registered a bigger sales week-177,000 in its first 7 days.
This featured in a much talked about 2012 ad-campaign for the Australian bank, Westpac, in which Tyler walks across water as she sings the song at a wedding.
"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" gets a bump in streaming every time there is an actual eclipse. On August 21, 2017, Tyler performed the song (backed by DNCE) onboard Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise, which was positioned at an optimal point for viewing.