Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nicki French 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'

Chart Peak: 5 [54 in 1994]
Jim Steinman's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' was originally a No. 1 for Bonnie Tyler in 1983... Nicki's version was a Top 5 smash in January/February '95.
Not just a UK Top 5, but it went on to peak at 2 in the US, at a time when few big British acts were having major success over there. 19 years later, I have to wonder what on earth people were thinking. The selling point of the original Jim Steinman production was surely its very grandiosity, something audible even in the 7" edit that was on the very first Now That's What I Call Music. This version (the innacurately-titled "Full On Vocal Mix") offers only a cheap-sounding backing track of the sort that would soon be heard behind Robson & Jerome (Mike Stock worked with both acts) but at least in their case the success could be explained away by their non-musical fame.

Nicki French wasn't famous before this hit, although she was a well-established session and backing singer. To be sure, she is a good singer but she doesn't seem to be particularly interested in the song and everything about this release - including the video, where the backing singers don't resemble the voices on the track - sounds like the minimum possible effort. I can only presume that people were buying this for the many club remixes on various formats.

Available on: Total Eclipse of the Heart (Deluxe Edition)

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