"Meat Loaf was really pissed off with Jim Steinman giving me Total Eclipse Of The Heart. He said, That song was meant for me!": Bonnie Tyler on the world's favourite 'vampire love song'

Bonnie Tyler
(Image credit: CBS / Columbia)

A number one single in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa, Bonnie Tyler's 1983 single Total Eclipse Of The Heart is one of the definitive songs of the decade, and one of the world's favourite power ballads. And as the 72-year-old Welsh singer remembers it, Meat Loaf thought it should have been his international mega-hit, not hers. 

Written by Jim Steinman, the mastermind behind Meat Loaf's phenomenally successful Bat Out Of Hell album, the song was originally envisaged by its creator as a "vampire love song", inspired by F.W. Murnau's classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror: it's original title, according to Steinman, was Vampires In Love. One can understand why Meat Loaf might have reasonably expected the songwriter/producer to have set the track aside for him. That he didn't, astonished Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler alike. "I couldn’t believe he was offering it to me," the Welsh singer admitted in 2020.

In a new interview, Tyler says that Meat Loaf wasn't best pleased about Steinman's decision.

“Of course I met Meat Loaf - and he was really pissed off with Jim giving me that song!” she tells The Telegraph. “He said: ‘That song was meant for me!’ I said, Tough shit, I’ve got it. ” 

Released on February 11, 1983 in the UK, and June 12, 1983 in the US, Total Eclipse Of The Heart went on to sell six million copies worldwide: at the time of writing it has 1,007,103,766 views on YouTube -  "It was an incredible video," Tyler says, "but to this day I don’t really know what it’s about. I think it’s just mad dreams all coming together" - and has been streamed 644,776,718 times on Spotify.

“It is an incredible song. I never get tired of singing it,” Tyler told Rock Cellar in 2021. “Every time I sing it is like the first time.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.