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Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)

  • Video Views 742,772,270
  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.95
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is a song recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler. It was written and produced by Jim ...

“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.

The song became Tyler’s biggest career hit, topping the UK Singles Chart, and becoming the fifth-best-selling single in 1983 in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the single spent four weeks at the top of the charts, and was Billboard’s number-six song of the year for 1983. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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. In 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s third favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.

Critical reception

Mike DeGagne from AllMusic retrospectively 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, retrospectively 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 legitimise 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.

The video received two nominations at the Billboard Video Music Awards in 1983 for Best Performance by a Female and Most Effective Use of Symbolism.

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. As of March 2020, the first upload of the music video on 15 November 2009 had more than 670 million views. The second upload, which was the 4K video, premiered on 26 December 2019 and had over three million views as of June 2020.

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