The Secret Jewish History Of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ by the Forward

The Secret Jewish History Of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’

Today, as the United States experiences its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse, Bonnie Tyler will celebrate by belting her 1980s ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Released in 1983, the song spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard singles chart and netted Tyler a Grammy nomination.

Yet Tyler shares credit for the song’s success with its writer, Jim Steinman.

Steinman, already notable for his success with musician Meat Loaf — which produced the classic “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” — originally turned down the offer to be Bonnie Tyler’s producer. The once-famous songstress was in danger of becoming a one-hit wonder after her throaty, moody 1978 release “It’s a Heartache” vanished from the charts.

Yet Steinman gave Tyler a chance, and the two met in Steinman’s New York apartment. He played Creedence’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and “Goin’ Through the Motions” by Blue Oyster Cult.

“He didn’t tell me until later that if I hadn’t liked those songs, he wouldn’t have entertained producing me because he’d have realized we weren’t thinking on the same terms,” Bonnie told People magazine after the song’s release. She passed the test. A partnership was born.

Steinman wrote “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to flaunt Tyler’s powerful, unusual voice.

“I never thought it had a prayer as a single,” he told People. Over three decades of heartfelt karaoke performances have proved him wrong.

Today, when Bonnie Tyler ascends the stage to sing Steinman’s classic tune — and what a stage, considering she’s performing on a cruise ship with Joe Jonas’s band DNCE — a celestial star will slide into obscurity. But one Earth-bound pop star might just make a second shining resurgence.


The Jewish History Of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’

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