Bonnie Tyler Reveals 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' Was Originally Written for a 'Nosferatu' Musical

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The Welsh singer opened up about creating the 1983 hit in an interview with The Guardian to commemorate its 40th anniversary

<p>Adam Head/Newspix/Getty </p> Bonnie Tyler

Adam Head/Newspix/Getty

Bonnie Tyler

Before Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was one of the biggest songs of the ‘80s, it was nearly sung by a bloodlust vampire and his lover.

In an interview with The Guardian reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the 1983 hit, Bonnie Tyler revealed that, before the love song went to her, it was originally intended for a musical about the classic, Dracula-inspired horror figure Nosferatu.

The pop-rock artist explained that the track’s songwriter/producer Jim Steinman first worked on the song and shelved it when he was working on the music for a potential stage production about the vampire. “He told me he had started writing the song for a prospective musical version of Nosferatu years before, but never finished it,” Tyler told the outlet.

<p> Gie Knaeps/Getty; Gary Gershoff/Getty</p> Bonnie Tyler and Jim Steinman in the '80s

Gie Knaeps/Getty; Gary Gershoff/Getty

Bonnie Tyler and Jim Steinman in the '80s

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The singer-songwriter explained that she wanted to work with the legendary songwriter because she was a fan of his work with Meat Loaf, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” ended up being the first track they collaborated on.

After working with the hitmaker on a session in New York City, she said that he invited her back and showed the power ballad to her. “I understood immediately what an incredible song it was,” she said of hearing Rory Dodd, the featured vocalist on the track, perform it for the first time.

Although the horror-inspired musical didn’t end up debuting, the song’s music video retained some of its gothic elements. The Welsh artist said, “We shot the video in a frightening gothic former asylum in Surrey. The guard dogs wouldn’t set foot in the rooms downstairs where they used to give people electric shock treatment.”

“I poured my heart out singing it,” the “Holding Out for a Hero” singer added.

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“Total Eclipse of the Year” went on to be a No. 1 hit and sit at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 1983, earn a Grammy nomination for best pop vocal performance and is considered one of the most iconic songs of the ‘80s.

In the late ‘90s and 2000s, it actually did make its way into a musical about vampires: Dance of the Vampires, Steinman’s stage adaptation of the 1967 Roman Polanski film The Fearless Vampire Killers, which debuted in Vienna in 1997.

Upon the show’s Broadway debut in 2002, the composer/lyricist actually first revealed the song’s origin story in an interview with Playbill when explaining why he included the track in the musical that otherwise had original songs.

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He said, “With 'Total Eclipse of the Heart,' I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of `Nosferatu,' the other great vampire story.”

“If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines,” he continued. “It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in dark. And so I figured 'Who's ever going to know; it's Vienna!' And then it was just hard to take it out."

To celebrate the milestone 40th anniversary of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Tyler has set out on an anniversary tour across the globe. After her live dates supporting the release of her 2021 album The Best Is Yet to Come was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she shifted the tour to commemorate her legendary hit.

After several dates in Germany in spring 2022, the 2023 leg of the tour kicked off in October and will continue across Europe until early 2024. 

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