The long and strange history behind Bonnie Tyler’s epic ‘Eclipse of the Heart’

wattWhen people over a certain age are confronted with the latest pop or hip-hop sound, their tuts are often accompanied by the familiar exclamation: “They just don’t make music like they used to.” Chances are, they’re reminiscent of them The rock or soul music of the ’60s and ’70s that I grew up on—the Rolling Stones, Motown, the Eagles: impeccable, timeless. But listen carefully and you’ll find clear traces of those sacred icons in today’s hits. Want to hear music they really don’t make anymore?Head to your local karaoke bar to gather your courage and ignite the passion Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 absurdist epic power ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart””.

The song was a #1 hit that was 6 minutes and 58 seconds long, filled with breathtaking splendor and was the brainchild of the late artist. Jim Steinmana composer and songwriter best known for his high-tempo teenage symphonies for hunky rockers meat pie.

Steiman and “Whole Foods” have their roots in musical theater: As a senior at Amherst College in Massachusetts in the late 1960s, he created an experimental musical called “Dream Engine” , which, in addition to extensive nudity, included the lyric “roll your bright eyes,” referring to the flash of light from a nuclear explosion (you had to be there), which became the famous refrain from Totality.

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Theater manager Joseph Papp saw the play, and Steinman came to New York to work with Papp, where he met meat pie, a powerful singer and stage actor who shared Steinman’s love of bombast. Steinman composed the music and lyrics for Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut album, bat out of hellThe album was initially scorned by its parent label, Epic Records, but eventually continued to sell 43 million copies worldwidemaking Love a most unusual rock star and Steinman a sizzling supporter.

One fan of the album is a raspy-voiced Welsh singer named bonnie tylerTaylor’s distinctive voice—think Stevie Nicks gargling with a razor blade—was created during vocal nodule removal surgery; the procedure gave her voice new character, as on her 1977 hit single song”it’s a heartacheBut Taylor’s career struggled, and by 1982 she formed a second record label and began searching for a new sound.

“I had just signed with Sony and wanted to switch from country to rock,” she told guardian newspaper 2023. “I saw Meat Loaf perform ‘Bat Out of Hell’ on the BBC’s Old Gray Whistle Test, so I told [A&R man] “Muff Winwood said I wanted to work with Jim Steinman. Muff looked at me like I was crazy and told me Jim would never do that. ‘I just want you to ask him,’ I said.”

Steinman initially didn’t produce Taylor, but the two eventually met at his New York apartment in 1982, when he gauged her reaction to two of his favorite songs – the Creedence Clearwater revival “Have You Seen the Rain?” ” and “Blue Oyster.” Cult’s “Goin’ Through the Motions” — he agreed to helm her next album. (Taylor would cover both tracks on the final LP, Faster than the speed of night.)

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Steinman wrote “Total Eclipse” as a duet – another of his musical theater friends, Rory Dodd, sang the “Turn Around” part – but mostly to showcase Taylor’s powerful voice. It “wasn’t pure or pure,” Steinman said in a 1983 interview. “It sounded like it was damaged, like it had been through a lot.” That’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. “

Today, “Total Eclipse” would hardly be classified as a “rocker,” a phrase that encompasses many things but still fails to encompass the bodice-ripping melodrama that Steinman weaves for Taylor. Featuring E Street Band member Roy Bittan on piano and Max. “Total Eclipse,” with Weinberg on drums, is certainly a meditation on lost love: “Once upon a time, there was light in my life / But now there’s only love in the darkness,” Taylor sings ruefully, briefly before despairing calm. An absolute storm of love-filled, ugly crying emotions:

“I need you tonight/I need you more than ever/As long as you hold me tight/We’ll keep going forever/We’ll only do it right/Because we’ll never be wrong/We can make it this far together Finally / Your love keeps hanging over me like a shadow / I don’t know what to do, I’m always in the dark / We live in powder kegs and make sparks / I really need you tonight / Forever from now on Late start”

Steinman didn’t keep a low profile – he created these crazy pieces”Now everything comes back to me“Celine Dion and”I’d do anything for love (but I won’t do that)For Meat Loaf, Taylor sang “Total Eclipse” in the only way: as if her shaggy, totally ’80s-style hair was on fire.

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“It’s a perfect song,” said Diane WarrenThe power-folk veteran has written or co-written genre classics including Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” 》. Bonnie really delivers the drama. That voice brought Jim’s songs to life. “

“You’d have to call the ’80s the peak of power ballads,” says Stereogum senior editor Tom Breihan, whose “Number Ones” column reviews and rates every single in Billboard Hot history out of 100 (“Total Eclipse” received a perfect score of 10 (out of 10)). “Nobody was ashamed back then. That’s why it lives on in karaoke bars. It’s an Olympian feat to try and figure it out. It may sound bad, but it feels good.”

This shameless behavior encourages The dizzyingly ridiculous music video for “Whole Food”“,” was a staple of early MTV. The story takes place in an abandoned madhouse modeled after a British boarding school, complete with slow-motion pigeons, dancing ninjas, fencers, gymnasts, shirtless boys in swimming goggles, and enough blowers and candles to cause serious damage. Fire hazard. Director Russell Mulcahy recounted the experience of working with Steinman on the storyboards in “I Want My MTV,” an oral history of the cable network. “I would say, ‘Let’s set it in a school and have ninjas in one scene,'” Mulcahy said. “He would say, ‘Let’s have a choir boy with glowing eyeballs.’ ‘Jim was very, very crazy. “

Taylor, 72, had just one more Top 40 song on the US Songs chart in 1984Stick to heroes“, co-written by Steinman. Steinman died of kidney failure in 2021 at the age of 73. But “Total Eclipse” lives on, with nearly 800 million plays on Spotify and more than 1 billion views on YouTube. 4 On March 8, as people gathered across parts of Mexico, Canada and the United States Watch the extremely rare celestial event known as a total solar eclipseTaylor and Steinman’s masterpiece will certainly provide the soundtrack.

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