a) Every now and then they get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by.
b) They're living in a powderkeg and giving off sparks.
c) Once upon a time they were falling in love, but now they're only falling apart.
d) All of the above.
In fact, the correct answer is d), because all of them have been responsible for foreign-language cover versions of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart. If you're a long-time reader, you may already be aware of my unapologetic love of this song (and its ninja-fuelled video). Imagine, therefore, how delighted I was to discover that it exists in a number of intriguing international incarnations, which may be well known (or not) elsewhere in the globe, but which nonetheless possess a shiny novelty value for yours truly.
Intrigued? Then join me for an impassioned run down the misty corridors of some Multilingual Eclipses of the Heart...
Spanish Eclipse of the Heart
Title: "Eclipse Total del Amor" (YouTube link)
Which means: "Total Eclipse of Love"
Sung by: Lissette Álvarez
Who?: According to Wikipedia, she's a legend in Cuba, and this was a hit in 1985 (a couple of years after the English version)
What's going on here, then?: There's no mistaking which decade we're in here. Big-haired backing singers looming out of the superimposed clouds, big perms (for both sexes), slow-motion hair swishing, pink blusher overload, passionate belting of the lyrics and the occasional pointy finger or stop-and-pose for added drama, Lissette is really giving this her all. The peak is probably her toss-head-and-close-eyes move on the "I really need you tonight" line. Shame about the part when she "eclipses" the spotlight: it's really not very flattering to the hip area, especially not in those trousers.
Bonus points for: The Spanish lyrics, which make a pretty decent stab at emulating the melodramatic thrust of the English version ("We're living trapped in a game of chance / Your love is a shadow over my freedom!"). And for attempting to emulate the "bright eyes" motif of the original video with the glowing glasses, even though the results look more like X-ray specs.
"Turn around, bright eyes": "Mira mis ojos" (Look into my eyes).
Powderkeg rating: 3 sparks!
French Eclipse of the Heart
Title: "Si Demain... (Turn Around)" (YouTube link)
Which means: "If Tomorrow... (Turn Around)"
Sung by: Kareen Antonn and Bonnie Tyler
Who?: Bonnie needs no introduction, but Kareen Antonn is a French singer who clearly decided that a power-ballad team-up with La Tyler was a good career move for both of them. And lo, this got to number 1 in France for 10 weeks in 2003. But by the looks of it, Kareen hasn't done a lot since then. (Bonnie probably hasn't either, but hey, she has nothing to prove.)
What's going on here, then?: The plot of the video involves Kareen leaving her oblivious boyfriend in bed (somehow he manages to sleep through her angst-ridden crooning in the kitchen) and departing for a pseudo-Sapphic shack-up with Bonnie in a winter wonderland filled with gratuitously fluffy dogs. No animals were harmed during the making of the film, but a wriggling puppy is clutched rather firmly while Kareen goes into the chorus.
Bonus points for: Bonnie doing something I've never seen in a video before: namely, having a cup of tea during the song, and singing between sips. I can't help thinking that it's not very rock'n'roll, but it's certainly an eminently sensible (and British!) thing to do during a cold snap, so well done.
"Turn around, bright eyes": "Je tourne en rond sans toi." (I turn around without you.)
Powderkeg rating: 5 sparks!
German Eclipse of the Heart
Title: "Totale Finsternis" (YouTube link)
Which means: "Total Eclipse"
Sung by: Jessica Kessler and Thomas Borchert
Who?: Two cast members from the musical Tanz der Vampire (Dance of the Vampires), which is apparently made entirely from recycled Jim Steinman songs, including this one. If you're wondering why such a
What's going on here, then?: A woman in a corset and a man in vampire make-up take it in turns to yell at each other, while a handful of unemployed extras from Sweeney Todd scowl ominously in the background. The German lyrics include lines such as "Total eclipse, a sea of feeling and no land", which leads me to believe that something may have been lost in translation (and then possibly lost again in re-translation). I apologize to fans of the musical, but all this bloodsucking palaver seems like overkill to me, especially when they could be sitting down and having a nice cup of tea, as Bonnie has already demonstrated so skilfully.
Bonus points for: Vampire Bloke somehow managing to sing around his fangs. Well, just about.
"Turn around, bright eyes": "Sei bereit, Sternkind" (Be prepared, star child). Umm, okay.
Powderkeg rating: 1 and a half sparks!
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And if you've heard of any other entertaining translations of popular power ballads, whether good, bad or cheesy, do let me know...