Did You Know? Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)

You’ll probably never listen to this song the same way ever again.

Did you know that “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, the massive 1983 radio hit by Bonnie Tyler may actually have pedophilia elements?

True, the song sounds harmless enough- heck, the listening public loved it, and continues to play on hundreds of radio stations and mp3 players all over the world.

The song is completely overplayed in the Philippines, though, but the fact that Max Weinberg (music director on Late Night with Conan o’Brien, band leader for the Max Weinberg 7 and resident drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band) played the drum tracks on “Total Eclipse of the Heart” just made it awesome for me once again.

But check this out: watch the video closely, and look at the various elements in it. It would seem that Bonnie Tyler (the singer) is floating around in a dream, going through a hallway with rooms- lots of rooms, with lots of boys- in a classroom, some with bright orbs for eyes (“bright eyes”, indeed), others dancing around, etc.

As the song goes on, everybody is worked up to a dancing frenzy (at least some form of intetpretative dance, anyway), and then a teenage boy in underpants with giant wings growing out of his back (an angel, apparently), wraps his arms around a crying Bonnie Tyler.

Video concludes with a scene on the steps of a private school, and we see Bonnie Tyler’s character is, apparently, a school teacher. She gets introduced to the boys in her class- seemingly harmless enough- until one of them grabs hold of her hand and looks at her with…bright orbs for eyes- “Bright Eyes” Boy from the dream!

So the dream was probably all about the schoolteacher’s fantasies about her students- and that the events that transpired the night before probably wasn’t even a dream after all!

Read more about “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on Wikipedia, here. In the meantime, check out the video provided below, and watch for yourself. Lyrics provided if you want to sing along- just in case. Of course, you’ll probably want to read them all over again and you might actually find some hidden meaning behind the lyrics, now that you know what the video was all about. Again, that’s Max Weinberg on drums.

Cheers everyone!

Bonnie Tyler
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983)

(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit lonely
and you’re never coming around
(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit tired
of listening to the sound of my tears
(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit nervous
that the best of all the years have gone by
(Turn around) Every now and then I get a
little bit terrified
and then I see the look in your eyes

(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart
(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart

(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit restless
and I dream of something wild
(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit helpless
and I’m lying like a child in your arms
(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit angry
and I know I’ve got to get out and cry
(Turn around) Every now and then
I get a little bit terrified
but then I see the look in your eyes

(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart
(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you’ll only hold me tight
We’ll be holding on forever
And we’ll only be making it right
Cause we’ll never be wrong
Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
(All of the time)
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
There’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart
(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you’ll only hold me tight
We’ll be holding on forever
And we’ll only be making it right
Cause we’ll never be wrong
Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
(All of the time)
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
There’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
A total eclipse of the heart
(Turn around bright eyes)
(Turn around bright eyes, turn around)

Other “Total Eclipse of the Heart” trivia you might want to know:

1. This song was written by Jim Steinman- same dude behind a lot of Meatloaf’s songs, including the power ballad “I’ll Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Notice the tendency for surreal imagery, elaborate production, and a comparatively long running time- the song clocks in at 6:51.

2. The radio edit of the song takes away the third verse and fades the ending out earlier, chopping the song to a more radio-friendly 4:28.

3. The song was featured prominently in the 2001 movie Bandits. Cate Blanchett’s character loves the song, describing it as “The ultimate haiku to the complexity of love.” She soon finds out that Bruce Willis’ character also loves the song, and so now they have a relationship of sorts going on, much to the dismay of Billy Bob Thornton’s character.

4. In addition to Max Weinberg, another E Street Band member- Roy Bittan- also played on the song. Roy played the keyboards.

5. From Songfacts: A wedding band sings a surprisingly vulgar version of this in the movie Old School. It was performed by The Dan Band, which is a real group specializing in obscene versions of songs made popular by female singers. Here’s a video of The Dan Band in action– their version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

Did You Know? is a continuing project of “My Thoughts In Stereo” to educate the music-listening radio audience. There’s a lot more to your songs than you might actually know. And with more stories about your favorite songs, you might actually appreciate them more.

Cheers once again!

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10 thoughts on “Did You Know? Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)

  1. This is the worst blog post I have ever read in my life.

    This analysis is too far and without substance. It is primarily based on uncalculated assumptions of pedophilia. To think this track is about pedophilia is probably some unconcious desire on your part. Sigmund Freud would be enthusiastic about investigating your neurotic obsession with pedophilia.

    Simply put, you need psychoanalytic therapy as soon as possible.

  2. Dark Nemesis: Dude, you need to lighten up. Seriously. But thanks for dropping in. I wanted to check out your blog but for some reason WordPress decided to take it down. Cheers, though.

  3. absolutely terrible analysis, no truth to it whatsoever.
    watch for my next post inspired by the pedophilia song hit post:
    the moon must be made of cheddar cheese!

  4. This is one of the best posts I ever read. I did think kind of the same way, 2 years ago when I was swimming. I imagined the song played on my ears that moment and suddenly (when was performing breast stroke) I was like… damn’ why the hell she said
    “Once upon a time there was light in my life
    But now there’s only love in the dark
    Nothing I can say
    A total eclipse of the heart”. I supposed, she’s not yearning for a lover for her own, she’s longing for someone who she recognized as a Savior, a Savior for her, and others of her kind. “We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”.
    This is all having hidden meaning, on my opinion. The video uses many “3” symbols, and since “dark”, I figured it didnt represent the Holy Trinity, instead, the Diabolical Trinity (contains of Satan, the Anti-Christ, and the False Prophet).
    3 window panes, 3 lights, 3 candles, 3 ninjas, 3 etc, and one point of other two is always higher, hence evoke pyramid. I somehow think those pyramids close to one occult symbolism, resembling one belongs to Illuminati.

  5. you’re so retarded! how can you even interpret this song as having any hint/reference to pedophilia?! honestly, i think you just don’t have a firm grasp on the english language or american speech nuances. the song lyrics were actually inspired by the relationship between the characters catherine and heathcliff (who are little kids, if you need that clarified!) in the classic novel, “wuthering heights.” while they shared an intense, passionate love for each other, their relationship was also toxic and destructive. and so it is in “total eclipse of the heart” that the singer describes how she is afraid to have her lover in her life, yet terrified at the thought he might leave. when they’re together, their relationship is explosive, but when they’re apart, the singer can find no light in her life, and in the lyrics she describes that gut-wrenching feeling of being torn. the cliche phrase of “can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.”

    you’re a disgusting idiot

  6. The gothic video, with Bonnie Tyler clad all in white, was story-boarded by Jim Steinman and was inspired by the film Future World, the follow-up to the Yul Brunner futuristic thriller Westworld. It was filmed at Holloway Asylum, which was built by a doctor out of the proceeds of a drug he’d invented to help his patients. (thanks, Edward Pearce – Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)

  7. Yeah, a totally bizarre connection to paedophilia. As soultice says the song is about Heathcliff and Catherine and their passionate but destructive love.

    The children I think are more representative of lost youth, being pushed this way and that as a child, and the restrictions placed on young people by the institutions of society.

    It’s a large leap to say it’s teacher pupil lustings.

    Were Pink Floyd paedophiles too then because they used a choir of children to sing in “The Wall”?

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