Bonnie Tyler "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (1983)

by Mark Nobes, chief editor

This epic ballad was the Welsh singer's fifth Top 40 single and her biggest hit, reaching #1 in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. 

In the UK, the single entered the singles chart at No.49 on 13th Feb 1983, making it the fifth highest new entry that week. The single spent two weeks at the top from March 6th, pushing Michael Jackson down to No.2 with "Billie Jean".

At its peak, the single was selling 60,000 copies per day, and it became the fifth biggest-selling single of 1983.

This was the first track from Tyler's fifth studio album Faster Than the Speed of NightAccording to Meat Loaf, the song was offered to him for the album Midnight at the Lost and Found, but his record company turned it down. However, both Bonnie Tyler and songwriter Jim Steinman deny this. Nonetheless, you can imagine Meat Loaf belting out this one can't you?

Total Eclipse of the Heart vinyl sleeve front (UK) - Bonnie Tyler
But who needs Meat Loaf, anyway? Tyler's gritty voice matches the dramatic nature of the ballad perfectly, as she sings emotively about unrequited love. The instrumentation is luxurious and both the song and video are superbly 80s and melodramatic. As Steinman once told People magazine, he wrote the song to be "a showpiece for her voice".
The B-side on both the 7" and 12" single featured the track "Take Me Back", from the album Faster Than the Speed of Night. The 12 inch vinyl included the full length album version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". In the U.S., a cover of the Bryan Adams song "Straight from the Heart" was used as the B-side, which was also lifted from the album.
The single was also a chart topper in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland and Australia.
The video was directed by Russell Malcahy, who directed numerous videos for Duran Duran, Elton John and other 80s artists. He also wrote and directed Video Killed the Radio Star by Buggles. There were rumours that the Italian footballer Gianfranco Zola appeared in the video as the schoolboy shaking her hand near the end. However, he denied this in 2012 during an interview.
The video starts with Tyler dressed in a white robe in a mainly white room in a boarding school. White candles are burning and a white dove flies in through the window. She walks down a corridor past several class rooms which show the school boys participating in various lessons and activities, including martial arts. Tyler then performs with dancers and a choir in the main hall.
Bonnie Tyler in Moscow, 6 May 1997
Bonnie Tyler in 1997 by Nadir Chanyshev [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Bonnie Tyler Rocks And Honey album
Bonnie Tyler - Rocks And Honey
The welsh singer's sixteenth studio album featured a varied mix of catchy rock, pop, country and ballads and was mostly recorded in Nashville.