When the late Jim Steinman originally wrote “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 1983, he had intended his close friend and long-time collaborator Michael Lee Aday – better known as Meat Loaf – to sing it. The song was supposed to be about vampires (the original title was “Vampires in Love”), building on the Bat theme Aday had carefully crafted over the previous six years. But once the tune touched Bonnie Tyler’s lips, it was completely transformed. Instead of a dramatic, theatrical version, the world was given one of the great power ballads of all-time and made Tyler the first Welsh artist to hit Number 1 on the US charts. Beyond the charts, Tyler’s version defined the ’80s – emotive, over-the-top, memorable, and enduring. Regardless of the decade a person was born, they know the song. They request it at karaoke and sing along when the radio station airs it.
While the original is undoubtedly a classic, could it be more romantic? Could it be more alluring and intoxicating? Could it be made more memorable? In the talented hands of Angie McMahon, the answer to all three questions is an unmistakable “YES!”.
The Melbourne-based singer-songwriter first appeared on the Australian music radar after being named as one of two winners of the Telstra Road to Discovery contest in 2013. Her reward was to open for Bon Jovi as he toured across Australia. Six years later, McMahon released her debut album, Salt, which was honest, thoughtful, and engaging. She applied these same qualities into her rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.
During her tour in support of Salt, McMahon often performed Tyler’s iconic number. But instead of a full band, she would stand alone on stage with her electric guitar in hand and deliver a heartfelt rendition. In 2020 with the support of AWAL and at the request of Amazon, she reworked her original take and turned the cover into a sultry, emotional, and quietly urgent affair. It was jaw-dropping gorgeous yet intimate. With her endearing, soulful vocal, it felt like McMahon was singing the song to you and you alone.
To further capture this feeling, McMahon shared the visuals to her interpretation two days ago. McMahon developed the concept and filmed it while Jaye Hutchison produced the video and Lewis Parsons edited the material. The result is a little piece of cinema that feels like it was made in the ’80s and could be shown in every karaoke bar on the planet. But instead of singing along, we would all just gaze at the monitors and be left in awe. We would be left wondering what if Angie McMahon had originally recorded the song 38 years ago and how even more remarkable the track could have been.
The single is streaming everywhere. Better yet, head to Amazon to pick it up.
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