Sunday, October 01, 2023

Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 11

Another week, another new Number One! On October 1, 1983, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (above) by Welsh singer Bonny Tyler became Number One for four weeks, only missing out being Number One for the entire month of October by one week. The song, Tyler’s most successful single, was the first single from her fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night. The album was produced by Jim Steinman, who also wrote "Total Eclipse of the Heart", something I didn’t know at the time, but that was really obvious once I found it out. Steinman is often associated with Meat Loaf (especially his ”Bat Out Of Hell” album), though he wrote or produced a lot more.

The music video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was directed by Australian film director Russell Mulcahy, and I remember I thought it was, um, interesting. Set in a boys’ boarding school, and with supernatural overtones, helped by the gothic building it was set in, it was visually interesting, but I also thought it was a little creepy because there seemed to be a sexual undercurrent to Tyler’s performance. The video was nominated for two Billboard Video Music Awards in 1983, including for “Most Effective Use of Symbolism”. So… maybe I just didn’t get it?

The video was filmed at Holloway Sanitarium, a Victorian former private mental hospital near Virginia Water in Surrey, England. The hospital was closed in 1980, and pretty much left abandoned, before a private developer turned the facility, including the heritage-listed main building used in the video, into a private residential development known as Virginia Park. I liked the song at the time (and still do), though many of the song’s Jim Steinman wrote can be exhausting to listen to—which could actually be why I liked this and other songs by Steinman. At any rate, I never bought this album, and, in fact, the only album of Tyler’s I ever bought was her second studio album, called It's a Heartache in the USA (the 1978 album’s original name was Natural Force), and I bought it because of the 1977 hit single ”It's a Heartache”.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" reached Number 1 in all the countries I write about: Australia (4x Platinum), Canada (Platinum), New Zealand, the UK (Platinum), and on both the USA’s “Billboard Hot 100” and Cash Box “Top 100”. The song was Platinum in the USA.

The album, Faster Than the Speed of Night debuted at Number One on the UK album chart, the first by a British female artist to do so. Since I mentioned that, I may as well include the album's chart performance in other countries, too: It reached Number 3 in Australia, 6 in Canada (2x Platinum), Number One in New Zealand (Gold), Number One in the UK (Silver), and 4 on the USA’s “Billboard 200” and 3 on Cash Box. The album was certified Platinum in the USA.

The next Number One Song in 1983 reached that mark on October 29, 1983, but I may have another post about “also released” songs of 1983 before that date this year.

Previously in the “Weekend Diversion – 1983” series:

Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 1
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 2
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 3
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 4
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 5
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 6
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 7
Weekend Diversion: 1983 – And also
Weekend Diversion: 1983 – And also more
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 8
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 9
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 10


Roger Owen Green said...

Somehow, I missed this post. It was the one for the weekend after I returned from LV, and I missed some other people's posts, including one in which Kelly from Buffalo mentioned me by name.

Arthur Schenck said...

I miss things all the time. Worse, I sometimes read something like a blog post and forget to comment—although, in my defense, that's usually because I read on a device and I comment only using my desktop Mac. I think that sounds pretty convincing—wait, did I say that part out loud?