Total Eclipse of the Heart

My friend Mage pointed out the video for “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on YouTube. (No longer available, unfortunately.)

I can answer his questions about what’s going on in two words: Jim Steinman. Best known for writing Bat Out of Hell, he also wrote this song, and the spooky boarding school/Lord of the Flies vibe is right up his alley. This is, after all, someone who wanted to redo Peter Pan and the Lost Boys as a motorcycle gang musical. “Bombastic” was invented to describe his faux-epic music.

Don’t get me wrong — that’s the appeal of his work, the willingness to go completely over the top in expressing emotion, whether it’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (Meat Loaf) or “Holding Out for a Hero” (Bonnie Tyler) or “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (Celine Dion) or “Nowhere Fast” (Streets of Fire). “Love and Death and an American Guitar” was the name of one of his poems, but it also sums up his work well.

I love the song and the video for “Total Eclipse of the Heart” although I have no idea what’s really going on in either of them. But doesn’t that video take on a whole new cast once you’re familiar with the idea of yaoi?


10 Responses to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

  1. Rob Staeger Says:

    Don’t forget Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” I couldn’t believe the same guy was writing for Air Supply and Meat Loaf, but when you year the “I could make every tackle at the sound of a whistle, I could make all the stadium rock!” line, there’s no denying it.

  2. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” is showing on VH1 now — it’s the first single from Meat Loaf’s upcoming BAT OUT OF HELL 3. He’s doing it as a duet with a Scandinavian singer, I believe.

    “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” by the way, peaked at #2. The #1 song at the time? “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Steinman rules! =)

  3. Johanna Says:

    Air Supply: the least likely group to record Steinman, in my opinion, followed closely by Barry Manilow doing “Read ‘Em and Weep”.

    It’s interesting to see how many of these songs also have versions done by Meat Loaf. I’m so glad he dropped his lawsuit against Steinman — I hate to see them fight. :(

    Augie: They’re showing videos? I must check that out! And neat chart trivia!

    I must stop before I start talking about Pandora’s Box and Karla DeVito.

  4. George Says:

    I’m sad to relate that I’ve been utterly unable to enjoy “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” since Meat Loaf (and band) played a Spring Weekend concert at my college, waay back in the early 1990s. My friend Courtney and I, both Meat Loaf fanatics from our grade school days, were among the very, very few people on campus excited to learn that we could pay $15 to see Mr. Loaf instead of listening to yet more Cure and Smiths (that night, anyway…). (The year before had featured ‘Til Tuesday minus Aimee Mann; before that: Ziggy Marley–who passed out on stage mid-set. Ah, college bookings….)

    Anyway: I supposed I’d always known it, but “Paradise…” is pretty darn close to being a song about date rape. But there’s knowing that and still being able to like the song when you hear it, and then there’s knowing it and seeing it pretty fully acted out along those lines as it’s sung live, in front of you. I didn’t go to a school known for its feminism or even its political correctness–quite the opposite, in fact, at that point–but the auditorium went nearly silent even there. It was ugly, ugly, ugly.

    Ah, well. Sorry to bring down the room…..

  5. Johanna Says:

    I’ve seen video clips of the acting out — of course, it’s not the same as being there, but it always struck me as an honest portrayal of some kinds of teenage sexual politics. The boy’s so driven with lust he’ll say anything to get some; the girl wants romantic promises of forever before she’ll trade.

    I just can’t imagine the two of them doing that in small offices in front of record execs!

  6. Rob Staeger Says:

    You didn’t go to University of Delaware by any chance, did you George? In any case, I saw the same act. I don’t recall it being so frostily received where I was — not in an offended sense, anyway, although I think the general impression was that it was kind of lame, and we’d have been better off just listening to our records.

  7. Lea Says:

    Being familiar with yaoi when the video first came out (kid you not, and even before boy love comics were mentioned in Manga! Manga!), oh yeah I can see it.

    Come ON. Boy school!

  8. Lea Says:

    I haven’t seen the video in at least fifteen years! What a trip! I could mock, but I can’t. I remember how exciting that was when I first saw it, and how I loved the bombast of it, and the imagery.
    At the time, it was one of the best videos on MTV.

  9. George Says:

    Johanna, in the performance I saw, they took it waay beyond the usual teenage sexual politics you describe. I did leave out one key moment in my comments above: at one critical point in the song when “our hero” has been firmly rebuffed, they stopped the music, Meat Loaf yelled “Bitch!” at the female performer/singer, and pretended to slap her. Good times. Not.

    Rob, nope, not a U Del alum, though I did get very, very drunk there once on a road trip. Nice place….I think…..

  10. Johanna Says:

    Well, yes, that would be a bit different from the filmed versions.

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