Eternal Flame (song)

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For other uses, see Eternal flame (disambiguation).
"Eternal Flame"
Single by The Bangles
from the album Everything
Released February 17, 1989
Format Vinyl record (7"), CD single (3"), Cassingle
Recorded 1988; Ocean Way, Studio 55
Length 3:56
Label CBS
Writer(s) Susanna Hoffs
Tom Kelly
Billy Steinberg
Producer(s) Davitt Sigerson
The Bangles singles chronology
"In Your Room"
(1988)
"Eternal Flame"
(1989)
"Be With You"
(1989)

"Eternal Flame" is a ballad and love song by The Bangles from their 1988 album Everything. It became a hit single, when released in 1989, peaking at number one in the charts in nine countries, including Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was written by popular songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly and The Bangles' own Susanna Hoffs. With this song and "Walk Like an Egyptian", The Bangles became only the third girl group to score multiple number-ones in the United States, after The Supremes (twelve) and The Shirelles (two).

History[edit]

Unlike the rest of the more uptempo songs on their album Everything, "Eternal Flame" is a ballad. Co-writer Billy Steinberg describes it as "The Beatles meet The Byrds".

The song was inspired by two eternal flames: one at the gravesite of Elvis Presley that the Bangles saw when the band visited Graceland,[1] and one at a local synagogue in Palm Springs which Steinberg attended as a child.[2] Steinberg recalled to Songfacts: "Susanna was talking about The Bangles having visited Graceland, and she said there was some type of shrine to Elvis that included some kind of eternal flame. As soon as those words were mentioned, I immediately thought of the synagogue in the town of Palm Springs, California where I grew up. I remember during our Sunday school class they would walk us through the sanctuary. There was one little red light and they told us it was called the eternal flame."[3]

It spent one week at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, blocking Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" from reaching the summit position.[4] It was preceded at #1 on the Hot 100 by Mike + The Mechanics' "The Living Years" and succeeded by Roxette's "The Look". It also topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart for two weeks.[5]

The song debuted on the UK Singles Chart in February 1989 at number 81 and peaked at number one in April spending four weeks there and went on to spend twenty weeks in the chart and was the UK's third best-selling song of 1989.

The song also spent seven weeks at the #1 position in the Dutch Top 40. The song was Australia's 4th biggest selling single of '89 and was sent up on the Australian TV show Fast Forward.

The song is immensely popular in the Philippines and, like Daryl Hall and John Oates' "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," "Eternal Flame" has been played more than 2 million times in its lifetime there.

Track lists[edit]

Side Title Length
A "Eternal Flame" 3:56
B "What I Meant To Say" 3:20


"What I Meant to Say" is a non-album track, written by Debbi and Vicki Peterson and sung by Debbi.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification
United States Gold
Sweden Gold

Personnel[edit]

Preceded by
"Now You're in Heaven" by Julian Lennon
Australian Kent Music Report number one single
12 June 1989
Succeeded by
"Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
Preceded by
"Alles kan een mens gelukkig maken" by René Froger and Het Goede Doel
Dutch Top 40 number one single
15 April 1989 – 27 May 1989
Succeeded by
"Me Myself and I" by De La Soul
Preceded by

"Paradise City" by Guns N Roses
"When Love Comes To Town" by U2 feat. BB King
Irish Singles Chart number one single
6 April 1989 (first run)
20 April 1989 - 27 April 1989 (second run)
Succeeded by

"When Love Comes to Town" by U2 feat. BB King
"Far from Home" by Daniel O'Donnell
Preceded by
"The Look" by Roxette
Norwegian Singles Chart number one single
19 June 1989 – 26 July 1989
Succeeded by
"Licence to Kill" by Gladys Knight
Preceded by
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
Swedish Singles Chart number one single
31 May 1989 – 19 July 1989
Succeeded by
"Licence to Kill" by Gladys Knight
Preceded by
"The Living Years" by Mike + The Mechanics
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
April 1, 1989
Succeeded by
"The Look" by Roxette
Preceded by
"You Got It" by Roy Orbison
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
April 8, 1989 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"After All" by Cher and Peter Cetera
Preceded by
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
UK Singles Chart number one single
April 9, 1989 - April 29, 1989
Succeeded by
"Hand on Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue

Cover versions[edit]

Tomoya Nagase feat. 3T version[edit]

"Eternal Flame"
Single by Tomoya Nagase feat. 3T
Released 1997
Format CD
Recorded 1996
Genre J-pop, soft rock
Length 3:56
Label Universal Music Japan
Writer(s) Susanna Hoffs
Tom Kelly
Billy Steinberg
Producer(s) 3T
Tomoya Nagase feat. 3T singles chronology
"Gotta Be You"
(1996)
"Eternal Flame"
(1997)
"Stuck on You"
(2003)

In 1997 has been covered in Japanese language the song by Tomoya Nagase, the vocalist of the Japanese idol rock group Tokio, featuring 3T. This song was used as the theme song of the Nippon TV drama "DXD", in which Nagase played the main role. He also wrote the Japanese version lyrics. This version was released as a single in Japan under the name of "Tomoya with 3T".

Charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Oricon Japanese International Chart 12


Human Nature version[edit]

"Eternal Flame"
Single by Human Nature
from the album Counting Down
Released October 17, 1999
Format CD single
Recorded 1999
Genre Pop
Length 3:25
Label Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Records
Producer(s) Andrew Klippel
Certification Gold
Human Nature singles chronology
"Don't Cry"
(1999)
"Eternal Flame"
(2001)
"Be There With You"
(2000)

In 1999, Australian group Human Nature covered "Eternal Flame" and released it as the fifth single from their second album, Counting Down. It peaked at #8 and was certified Gold.

  • Australian CD Single 1 Cat. 667915 2
  1. "Eternal Flame"
  2. "She's So Gone"
  3. "Breaking me Down"
  4. "Don't Cry" (Discotheque Club remix)
  5. "Eternal Flame" Video Clip
  • Australian CD Single 2 Cat. 667915 5
  1. "Eternal Flame"
  2. "Shake You Outta My Head" from the "Happy Days" production
  3. "She's So Gone"
  4. "Breaking me Down"
  5. "Don't Cry" (Discotheque Club remix)
  6. "Eternal Flame" Video Clip
Chart (1999) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 8
Year Chart Position
End Of Year Chart 1999 Australian ARIA Charts 58[29]
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[30] Gold 35,000^

Atomic Kitten version[edit]

"Eternal Flame"
Single by Atomic Kitten
from the album Right Now (Re-issue)
Released July 23, 2001
Format CD single, cassette
Recorded 2001
Genre Pop
Length 3:17
Label Virgin
Producer(s) Ray Ruffin
Certification Gold
Atomic Kitten singles chronology
"Whole Again"
(2001)
"Eternal Flame"
(2001)
"You Are"
(2001)

Atomic Kitten subsequently recorded the song in 2001 and released as the sixth overall single and lead single from the reissue of the debut studio album, Right Now. It was the group's first single to feature new band member Jenny Frost. Their version was produced by multi-platinum singer producer Ray Ruffin.

Track listing[edit]

Australian CD
  1. "Eternal Flame" (Single Version) – 3:15
  2. "Right Now" (Jenny Frost version) – 3:35
  3. "Right Now" (K-Klass Phazerphunk Club Mix) – 7:22
  4. "Eternal Flame" (Blacksmith RnB Club Dub) – 3:55
  5. "Right Now" (video)
UK CD
  1. "Eternal Flame" (Single Version) – 3:15
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:30
  3. "Eternal Flame" (Blacksmith RnB Club Rub) – 3:54
  4. "Eternal Flame" (Love to Infinity Club Mix) – 3:54
  5. "Eternal Flame" (video)
UK cassette
  1. "Eternal Flame" (Single Version) – 3:15
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:30
  3. "Dancing in the Street" – 3:39

Official versions[edit]

  • Eternal Flame (Single Version) - 3:13
  • Eternal Flame (Album Version) - 3:37
  • Eternal Flame (Blacksmith R'n'B Club Rub) - 3:54
  • Eternal Flame (Love to Infinity Club Mix) - 7:14

Music video[edit]

The video begins with the band members walking up to the screen in a stylized pace, in plain white clothes and bare feet, with a dark background. This is shown often in the video, and is also how the video ends. Throughout the video, each of the band members do different poses and dance moves in time to the song, with the dark, cloudy background in place. Also in one of the scenes in the video, all three band members are seen in a line, with a glass floor and four metal posts with lights in the background that accompanies the perennial dark background. In this scene, the girls are seen doing a basic dance routine in time with the song. For Jenny's solo, she is seen lying down on the floor doing a sexy pose. However, Frost later claimed in the So Far So Good DVD, that she had tonsillitis for the video shoot, and was laying down due to being ill and couldn't stand up.[31] There is also a version of the video that contains clips from the movie The Parole Officer which was taken from the DVD "So Far So Good".

Chart performance[edit]

Atomic Kitten made the song another massive success; it entered the top twenty in every country it was released, except for Australia, where it peaked at number 47. It entered at number one in the UK, staying at the top for two weeks. On its first day, "Eternal Flame" sold 35,358 copies, and its closest rival was Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious", which sold 13,182 copies in its opening day. The song sold over 140,000 copies in its first week and 70,000 copies in its second week. The song sold over 400,000 copies in the UK, and was certified Gold. The single entered the top five in over ten countries. The single went to number two in the French singles chart, a huge success, and became one of the best selling singles by a girl group of all time in France. However, it was their only single to reach the top 20, making them one-hit wonders there. It was certified gold for sales of over 250,000 copies. Atomic Kitten's version charted higher in France than the original version by The Bangles.

Over a year later, the single appeared in the Canadian Singles Chart. "Eternal Flame" was Atomic Kitten's only single to chart over there. It debuted at number 20, and peaked at number 15. It spent twelve weeks in the top forty—five of which were in the top twenty, making the song a moderate success. The single was also a number-one hit in the Flanders region of Belgium, and Atomic Kitten's became their best-selling single there, subsequently lasting sixteen weeks on the chart; it became the 28th best selling single of 2001 in Belgium. It also spent one week at number one in New Zealand. "Eternal Flame" went on to sell over one million copies worldwide and was certified Gold in the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and New Zealand.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]
Preceded by
"Eternity/The Road to Mandalay" by Robbie Williams
UK Singles Chart number-one single
July 29, 2001 – August 11, 2001
Succeeded by
"21 Seconds" by So Solid Crew
Preceded by
"Tele-Romeo / Blub, ik ben een vis" by K3
Ultratop number-one single
September 8, 2001 – September 15, 2001
Succeeded by
"Let me blow ya mind" by Eve and Gwen Stefani
Preceded by
"19-2000" by Gorillaz
Recording Industry Association of New Zealand number-one single
September 23, 2001 – September 30, 2001
Succeeded by
"Eternity/The Road to Mandalay" by Robbie Williams

Other cover versions[edit]

"Eternal Flame"
Single by Rollergirl
from the album Now I'm Singin'... And the Party Keeps Rollin'
Released 2000
Recorded 2000
Genre Pop
Writer(s) Susanna Hoffs
Tom Kelly
Billy Steinberg
Rollergirl singles chronology
"Luv U More"
(1999)
"Eternal Flame"
(2000)
"Superstar"
(2000)
  • In 1991, jazz fusion/contemporary jazz guitarist Chuck Loeb offered Chuck's version from the album "Balance."[61]
  • In 1996 Japanese heavy metal band X Japan released a power ballad named Crucify My Love. The song featured 'sample' segments of the "Eternal Flame" musical chorus as well as heavily influenced melody and tempo from the original song.

In 1990, Hong Kong singer Angela Pang covered this song in Cantonese.

  • A Japanese rendition of "Eternal Flame" was also performed by Seiko Matsuda
  • The song has also been covered by Atomic Kitten (band) in 2001.
  • The song has been covered in 1999 by the Australian group Human Nature on the Counting Down album.
  • The song has been covered in 2000 by Rollergirl on the Now I'm Singin'... And The Party Keeps On Rollin' and released as a single which peaked at #87 in the Swiss Charts[62]
  • The song was covered in 2001 by the Argentine band Smitten on them Let me be album.
  • The song was covered in 2004 by Japanese pop singer Beni Arashiro on her Infinite... single.
  • The song was covered in 2005 by Jeremy Udden on his Torchsongs album.
  • The song was covered in 2005 by Japanese artist LISA on her Melody Circus album.
  • A cover version has been made in 2005 by the Filipino acoustic duo M.Y.M.P. on the Versions album.
  • Portuguese power metal band Oratory included a rendition of the song on their 2005 "Interludium" EP.
  • In 2006, the song was covered by former Deutschland sucht den SuperStar contestant Lena Hanenberg on the Love Songs album.
  • Bonnie Tyler and French singer Laura Zen recorded a version in 2011 which went to French radio stations on Monday August 29. The song was named "Eternal Flame (Amour éternel)".[63]
  • The song was featured in the movie Pitch Perfect.
  • The song was covered in the episode "Lassie Jerky" of Psych in 2013.
  • The song was featured in the The Crazy Ones, episode Sydney, Australia (season 1, episode 7).
  • This song was featured in the seventeenth episode of the final season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • The British musical comedy film Walking on Sunshine covered the song.

Solo and live performances[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, 500 Nr. 1 hits uit de Top 40, page 261, 9023009444
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  61. ^ "Balance overview". Allmusic. 
  62. ^ SwissCharts.com "Eternal Flame" (Rollergirl) page. Accessed: November 2, 2006 Archived October 23, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  63. ^ "Bonnie Tyler est de retour : elle reprend le hit "Eternal Flame"". Chartsinfrance.net. 2011-08-29. Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 

Additional sources used:

  • The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition)

External links[edit]