Published on July 15, 2016
“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.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” became Tyler’s biggest career hit, hitting number one in several countries including the UK, where it was the fifth-best-selling single in 1983, and the US, making her the first and only Welsh singer to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. It was Billboard’s number-six song of the year for 1983.
Worldwide, the single has sales in excess of 6 million copies and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for U.S. sales of more than one million copies.
After her contract with RCA Records ended in 1981, Tyler found a new manager in David Aspden and after seeing Meat Loaf perform “Bat Out of Hell” live on The Old Grey Whistle Test, approached Meat Loaf’s producer Jim Steinman and asked him to be her producer.Tyler visited Steinman in his apartment in New York in April 1982 with her manager, where she was presented with two tracks: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and “Goin’ Through the Motions”. She stated that had she not liked the songs Steinman played for her, he would have rejected Tyler. She returned to his studio apartment weeks later, where Steinman and Rory Dodd presented “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to her. He also hand-picked the recording band for the song.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” had to be shortened for radio play. Tyler did not believe that the song was radio-friendly at its full length; the song was reduced from seven minutes and two seconds to four minutes and thirty seconds.
The power ballad remains Tyler’s most successful song, peaking at No. 1 in the United States, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. At its peak, it sold 60,000 copies per day, and approximately 6 million copies in total. It won the Variety Club award in the UK for best single of 1983. The song also made number 82 of VH1’s top 100 love songs.