I recently came across this 2002 Playbill interview with songwriter Jim Steinman, who passed away earlier this year. The conversation was mostly about his then-upcoming Broadway flop, Dance of the Vampires, which oddly included the Steinway-penned Bonnie Tyler hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Why include an 80s love ballad in your vampire musical? As Steinway explains, it was partially a pragmatic decision to hit a deadline during a preview run in Vienna … and also because the song had actually been about vampires all along anyway:
I had only a month and a half to write this whole show and we needed a big love duet. Half the show I had to talk [director Roman] Polanski into doing, and did it behind his back a lot. He's a great guy but he had a totally different vision. […]
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. 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.
So there you have it: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was originally written about Nosferatu, and, like a vampire, returned from the grave to feast again.
Rando, Steinman Talk About Dance of the Vampires at Press Preview, Sept. 18 [Ernio Hernandez / Playbill]
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