I often talk about how the 1980s was the definitive decade for great movie soundtracks and Footloose is a prime example. The album gave us Kenny Loggins’ title track, Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It for the Boy and this week’s Saturday song, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero.
Written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford and reusing the instrumental break from an earlier Steinman song, Stark Raving Love, this is a thumping rock track which marries perfectly with Tyler’s husky, rasping vocal.
Holding Out for a Hero was the Welsh singer’s fourth and last top five UK single, and her biggest-selling song after 1983’s chart-topping Total Eclipse of the Heart. It peaked at number two here (after barely scraping into the top 100 on its initial release) and number 34 in the US.
The song was also used as the theme music for the short-lived 1984/85 TV action series Cover Up. The version used for the show was recorded by Elizabeth Daily, perhaps best known for appearing opposite Lisa Kudrow in an episode of Friends titled The One With Phoebe’s Ex-Singing Partner.
More notably the series, which has long since faded into obscurity except in the memories of the most ardent 1980s TV fanatics (yay, me), is most remembered for the accidental suicide of its male lead, Jon-Erik Hexum. While playing around during a break in filming, the actor placed a prop gun against his head and pulled the trigger, firing the wadding from the blank cartridge in the chamber into his skull. This resulted in massive and ultimately fatal hemorrhaging.
Hexum filmed just seven episodes of the show before his untimely death. He was replaced by Australian Antony Hamilton but the series was nonetheless cancelled after a single season.
Anyhow, here’s the TV version of the song.
And here is the Bonnie Tyler original.