Holding Out For A Hero

Album: Footloose Soundtrack (1984)
Charted: 2 34


  • This was featured in the movie Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon as a young man who comes to a small town where dancing in public is not allowed. The screenplay for the movie was written by Dean Pitchford, who also wrote the lyrics to the nine songs used in the film. This one appears in a scene where Bacon is playing chicken on tractors with a local. He becomes a "hero" when he wins - not by force of will, but because his shoelace gets caught on a pedal and he can't jump off (yes, he couldn't get hit foot loose).
  • In putting together songs for his movie Footloose, Dean Pitchford used seven different co-writers and eight different artists, since he wanted a variety of styles. On this song, he wrote with the mercurial Jim Steinman, who wrote most of Meat Loaf's hits, including "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" and "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)." In our interview with Dean Pitchford, he told us how this one came together: "We decided that we were going to go after Bonnie Tyler, who was not even really happening at the time. I had fallen in love with Bonnie Tyler because she'd sung 'It's a Heartache,' and the song 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' was a hit in Australia when I heard it, but it had not broken in the United States yet. But when we went to try to find her, nobody at Columbia Records knew who had signed her and where she was. We finally tracked her A&R rep down to Nashville, because in the United States she had been signed as a country act, and that was where 'It's A Heartache' had first broken. But in order to get to Bonnie Tyler and to get her to sing something for us, I was going to work with Jim Steinman. And I'd known Jim Steinman's work from all of his Meat Loaf days. So I sat down and listened to a lot of Jim Steinman. And I came up with 'Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?' I wrote that lyric with an ear toward snaring Jim Steinman, and it worked. He looked at the lyric and he immediately knew what to do with it because it was so much in a style that he was familiar with. So in every case I tried to write a lyric that was in the style of the artist I was working with or the writer that I knew I would have to write with. Bill Wolfer, for instance, was a producer for Shalamar, and I knew what I needed to do in order to snare his involvement. And 'Dancing in the Sheets' is different than 'Holding Out For A Hero' is different than 'Almost Paradise.' So every one of those represented a different head set, a mindset."
  • Jim Steinman literally bled for this song when he demoed it for the Footloose director. Dean Pitchford told us the story: "I remember bringing in a girl to sing 'Holding Out For A Hero' with Jim Steinman pounding the crap out of the keyboard. When we were done, I looked over and there was blood on the keys. That's the kind of 'DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN da DON DON DON da DA DUN.' He was just pounding the s--t out of the keyboard. Everybody was just grooving along as he's pounding and this girl's singing, singing, singing. And at the end of the whole thing I looked over and there was blood up and down the keyboard. It cut his fingers."
  • The introduction to this song was originally used by Jim Steinman on the song "Stark Raving Love" from his 1981 solo album Bad For Good. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kelley - Hickory, KY
  • Ella Mae Bowen recorded this for the 2011 remake of the Footloose movie. Bowen, who was just 14 when she recorded the song, came up with a stripped down, countrified arrangement with her producer Seth Bolt. The movie's director, Craig Brewer, chose her version from many submissions.
  • A version by Jennifer Saunders was featured in the 2004 movie Shrek 2. It was also used in the climactic scene from the movie Short Circuit 2. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Gerry - Trinity, AL

Comments: 12

  • Mandy from HerefordshireSomeone is looking for something to hold out for a chancer whos always going be what they make themselves quite accessible to be doing good things with their time making the best of just a person who makes a person feel safe though a storm
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiThis song is certainly among the most ever used for movies. It is played in Footloose, Shrek 2, Short Circuit 2, and Who's Harry Crumb? Among others.
  • Dawn from Palmerston North, New ZealandYou were right Terry, Washington DC. It was the theme for the series Cover Up. I just recalled watching it.
  • Dawn from Palmerston North, New ZealandThis song was also on a David Copperfield (the magician) special when he was flying across the Grand Canyon.
  • Matthew from Milford, MaOn YouTube, this song is featured in a HUGE number of Kingdom Hearts AMVs.
  • Matthew from Milford, MaI like the Bonnie Tyler version. I like Jennifer Saunders's version slightly better, though. Frou Frou's version is also kind of good, but the verses are sort of flat.
  • Terry from Washington, DcGosh, I love this song. I think I love it because it was the theme song to "Cover Up", a TV series from 1984. The show originally starred Jennifer O'Neill, Richard Anderson and the impossibly handsome Jon-Erik Hexum.

    Great to know that the writer of the song also wrote all those other anthem-like tracks. Nice portfolio of "get psyched" tunes.

    -Terry in Washington, DC
  • Thomas from Walla Walla, WaIt was also used for a promo by a film company to push older movies like top gun. I have it on tape somewhere but I don't know which tape.
  • Rob from Wilkes-barre, PaYes, there are two versions in Shrek 2, the one in the credits (which is on the soundtrack) is performed by Frou Frou. The one in the movie, which takes place when Shrek (in man form) rides Donkey (in Stallion form) to break up the ceremony, and is shown being performed by the Fairy Godmother; Jennifer Saunders, the voice of this character is actually singing it, so her version is the version actually used in the movie.
  • Paul from Galway, IrelandI love this song. I love Bonnie. Much Better than "total eclipse of the heart". This is catchy. UNREAL
  • Jason from Seaside, Ca2 versions were in Shrek 2, one in the movie, and a different one for the credits.
  • Aj from Cleveland, Gai love this song, being the Bonnie Tyler fan that I am.
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