"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' 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).
The song was inspired by two eternal flames: one at the gravesite of Elvis Presley that the Bangles saw when the band visited Graceland, and one at a local synagogue in Palm Springs which Steinberg attended as a child. 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."
In the BBC programme "I'm in a Girl Group" Hoffs revealed she actually sang the studio recording of the song completely naked due to the producer Davitt Sigerson pranking her by telling her Olivia Newton John had done the same thing but he later told Hoffs he had been lying the whole time."
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.
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".
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.
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. 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".
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.