Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
It was February 11, 1983, in England, when a song released on that very day immediately started the climb towards success, and quickly became one of the absolute symbols of the 80s culture. At those times Bonnie Tyler was best known in the UK and in her Wales, and after a many nights singing in clubs, a few years earlier she had to undergo an operation on her vocal cords, which left her with a hoarse, very recognizable voice.
After seeing some Meat Loaf performances, Bonnie Tyler decided she wanted to have the same producer, and got in touch with him. Jim Steinman had written a sensational song, definitely gothic or noir in lyrics and sounds, most likely thinking about Meat Loaf. But, as always, fate likes to jump in humans stories, and the song was then proposed to Bonnie Tyler.
And here we enter the history of the 80s, because the song is perfect for Bonnie’s hoarse but powerful voice. A particular song, at the limits of pop, very long. Seven minutes reduced in the various versions for the radio, with the video version still exceeding five minutes. A complex structure,hard to define with the classic patterns of verses and choruses. A beautiful song with gothic lyrics, where we often talk about darkness, loneliness. The original title should have been “Vampires in love”, according to Steinman.
The video is a real masterpiece. The director is a great protagonist of the 80s, that Russell Mulcahy who also directed the greatest videos of Duran Duran, from “Planet Earth” to “The Wild Boys”. And then many others, “Bette Davis Eyes“, “True”, “Vienna“, “A kind of magic”. In short, the director of the 80s.
The video couldn’t have been more gothic, filmed in a real former Victorian hospital set up as a boarding school. The night is full of intriguing images and nightmares, in which the beautiful Bonnie Tyler lives a noir fantasy surrounded by the college guys.
She is dressed in white, a true icon of charm and femininity, surrounded by men in black or even half-naked, with white eyes of light that recall madness, maybe the underworld, or might recall a symbol of drug addiction (which by the way was later denied by Bonnie Tyler herself). But the next day, when teacher Tyler congratulates the students on the end of the study cours, everything returns to normality… except that sign, the bright eyes that bring everything back to the world of dream or perhaps the nightmare.
A fantastic song. A milestone of the 80s.
Bonnie Tyler on Wikipedia