Holding Out for a Hero

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"Holding Out for a Hero"
Single by Bonnie Tyler
from the album Footloose: Original Soundtrack of the Paramount Motion Picture and Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
B-side"Faster Than the Speed of Night"
  • January 1984 (US)
  • April 1984 (UK)[1]
  • 6:21 (extended version)
  • 5:50 (album version)
  • 4:22 (single edit)
Composer(s)Jim Steinman
Lyricist(s)Dean Pitchford
Producer(s)Jim Steinman
Bonnie Tyler singles chronology
"A Rockin' Good Way (to Mess Around and Fall in Love)"
"Holding Out for a Hero"
"Here She Comes"
Music video
"Holding Out for a Hero" on YouTube

"Holding Out for a Hero" is a song recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for the soundtrack to the 1984 film Footloose. It later featured on her sixth studio album, Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire (1986). The track was produced by Jim Steinman, who co-wrote the song with Dean Pitchford and was a Top 40 hit in several European countries, as well as Canada and the United States. Its 1985 re-release in the United Kingdom reached number two (remaining there for three weeks) and topped the singles chart in Ireland.


Paramount Pictures asked Tyler to record a song for the soundtrack to the 1984 film Footloose. She agreed on the condition that Jim Steinman, who was her producer at the time through CBS/Columbia, could work with her on the project. Steinman wrote the song with Dean Pitchford, who co-wrote every song on the soundtrack album. Tyler was invited to the Paramount film studios in Los Angeles to watch the film rushes to see how "Holding Out for a Hero" would fit into the plot.[3]

"Holding Out for a Hero" shares numerous musical elements with "Stark Raving Love", a track from Steinman's solo album Bad for Good (1981), including the piano riff and vocal harmonies.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

In a retrospective review, The A.V. Club's William Hughes stated that the song "displays some of the worst of its decade's (and composer's) typical excesses: The lyrics are laughable, and the heavy-handed synths and piano riffs come dangerously close to cheese", but adds, "The sum of those parts transcends their limitations, hooking directly into pure emotional need like only the greatest of torch songs can."[5]

Writing in Metal Hammer, Paul Stenning described the song as "the ultimate pop anthem", stating "Only Jim Steinman can get away with such bombastic overtones, in this case the perfect coupling with Tyler's inimitable voice."[2]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Holding Out for a Hero" was produced by Jeffrey Abelson for Parallax Productions, directed by Doug Dowdle, with the concept by Keith Williams. It was filmed at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, and at Veluzat Ranch, California.[6] It was the second video released to promote Footloose while featuring no movie footage in the video.

The video sees Tyler escaping from a burning house; the video is set primarily in the vicinity of the burning house and on the edge of the Grand Canyon – interspersed with shots of angelic background singers in white dresses. Evil cowboys dressed in black, carrying neon whips appear before Tyler, threatening her; a cowboy hero dressed in white, brandishing a revolver, appears on horseback and the evil cowboys flee on horseback, with the hero in pursuit. As the song fades out, the hero cowboy appears in front of Tyler.

Tyler was later featured in a parody of the video by David Copperfield.

Live performances[edit]

Two recorded performances of "Holding Out for a Hero" have been released on Tyler's concert DVDs Bonnie on Tour (2006) and Live in Germany 1993 (2011), and their respective CD editions.

Re-recordings and media usage[edit]

Tyler released re-recordings of the song in 2004 and 2011. In 2013, she recorded a parody of the song for use in a Children in Need fundraising campaign.[7]

In 2004, Jennifer Saunders covered the song for the DreamWorks animated film Shrek 2, where the Fairy Godmother sings it in the film's climax.[8]

In 2021, the song was noted for its appearances in a trailer for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, another trailer for the Guardians of the Galaxy video game, and in the second episode of the Disney+ series Loki, all of which premiered in the same week.[9] This led to a significant increase in downloads and streams, and a placement atop Billboard’s Top TV Songs Chart.[10] A Japanese-language cover of the song was also featured in the climax of the 2022 action-comedy film Bullet Train. The song was also used in two separate video game films in 2023, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Tetris. In the former, it plays during a training montage as the titular character Mario tries to overcome the obstacles in Princess Peach's training course, and in the latter, it appears twice, in the form of Japanese and Russian covers of the song. Also in 2023's Shazam: Fury of the Gods, as a lady's car is playing this song, it begins to plunge off a bridge. Captain Marvel catches the car, and tells the woman, "No way, shut up! Did I just save you while you were listening to this song?"[11]

Track listings and formats[edit]

  • 1984 7" single
  1. "Holding Out for a Hero" – 4:22
  2. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
  • 1984 12" single
  1. "Holding Out for a Hero" (Extended Remix) – 6:19
  2. "Holding Out for a Hero" (Instrumental) – 5:15
  3. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
  • 1991 12"/CD single
  1. "Holding Out for a Hero" – 4:41
  2. "Faster Than the Speed of Night" – 4:40
  3. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – 6:49

Credits and personnel[edit]


Monthly charts[edit]

Chart (2021) Peak
US Top TV Songs (Billboard)[32] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[33] Gold 250,000
Portugal (AFP)[34] Gold 20,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Platinum 600,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


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  2. ^ a b Stenning, Paul (August 2005). ""Golden Gods 2005 Issue"". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on 2022-01-04. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  3. ^ Tyler, Bonnie (June 1986). "Bonnie's Secret Dreams". Tracks. No. 5. London, United Kingdom: Freetracks Publications Ltd. pp. 3–6.
  4. ^ Everley, Dave (21 April 2021). "The mad genius of Jim Steinman in seven glorious songs". Classic Rock. Archived from the original on 21 April 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  5. ^ Hughes, William (21 July 2015). "Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For A Hero" forces its way to greatness". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 3 November 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  6. ^ Zuckerman, Faye (21 April 1984). "Australian Firm Looks to Music". Billboard. New York City, USA: Lynne Segall.
  7. ^ Owen, Cathy (15 October 2013). "Bonnie Tyler revisits a classic for Children in Need". Wales Online. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  8. ^ Everson, John (6 May 2004). "'Shrek 2', 'Ella' soundtracks update past hits". Southtown Star. p. 88. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  9. ^ Ridgeley, Charlie (16 June 2021). ""Holding Out for a Hero" Trends After Being Used in Loki, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Masters of the Universe". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on 17 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  10. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (23 July 2021). "'Loki' Makes a Splash on Top TV Songs Chart". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 July 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  11. ^ Rai, Ashvaria (20 March 2023). "10 Best Quotes In Shazam! Fury Of The Gods". CBR. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 316. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. New York City, USA: Lynne Segall. 26 May 1984. p. 54.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6742." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Europarade – 5 October 1985" (PDF). Music Week. 5 October 1985. p. 32. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021 – via WorldRadioHistory.com.
  17. ^ "Music & Media Singles Hot 100" (PDF). Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  18. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "Bonnie Tyler". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 267. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 April 2023. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  19. ^ "Bonnie Tyler's Top 1 Selling Singles". Oricon News. Archived from the original on 25 December 2022. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  20. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts T". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". Singles Top 100.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  24. ^ "Bonnie Tyler Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 – Week ending April 21, 1984". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021.
  26. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Holding Out for a Hero". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  29. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
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  32. ^ "Loki Makes a Splash on Top TV Songs Chart". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Bonnie Tyler; 'Holding Out for a Hero')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  34. ^ "Portuguese single certifications – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 July 2021.