Holding Out for a Hero

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"Holding Out for a Hero"
Bonnie Tyler Holding a Hero.jpg
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"
  • 5:50 (album version)
  • 4:22 (single edit)
Songwriter(s)Jim Steinman, 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.

"Holding Out for a Hero" was a top 40 hit in several European countries, as well as Canada and the United States. It was a chart flop in the United Kingdom when first released in 1984, but a re-release in 1985 reached no. 2 (remaining there for three weeks) and topped the singles chart in Ireland.


As screenwriter for Footloose, Dean Pitchford co-wrote every song on its soundtrack. “Holding Out for a Hero” was written with Jim Steinman, who recommended Tyler for the vocals. She was invited to the Paramount film studio in Los Angeles to view the film rushes so that she could capture the urgency of the scene.

The instrumental break first appeared in "Stark Raving Love", a track from Steinman's solo album Bad for Good (1981).

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."[2]

Writing in Metal Hammer the song was described by Paul Stenning as "the ultimate rock anthem", stating "Only Jim Steinman can get away with such bombastic overtones, in this case the perfect coupling with Tyler's inimitable voice."[1]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Holding Out for a Hero" was produced by Jeffrey Abelson, and directed by Doug Dowdle, with the concept by Keith Williams. It was filmed at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, and at Veluzat Ranch, California.[3] 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 later featured in a parody of the video by David Copperfield.

Live performances[edit]

Two recorded live performances of "Holding Out for a Hero" have been released on her live albums Bonnie Tyler Live (2007) and Live in Germany 1993 (2011). Video performances have also been released on Tyler's DVDs, Bonnie on Tour (2007) and the DVD edition of Live in Germany 1993.

Cover versions and media usage[edit]

"Holding Out for a Hero" has featured in numerous commercials, film and television soundtracks, and the song has been covered by various artists. In 1984, E. G. Daily's version was used as the theme for the television series Cover Up. In 2004, Jennifer Saunders recorded a version of the song for Shrek 2. That version would later be used in the opening ceremony for the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics. Frou Frou also recorded a version for the credits sequence.[4] Ella Mae Bowen recorded a cover of the song for the 2011 Footloose remake.[5]

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.[6] This led to a significant increase in downloads and streams, and a placement atop Billboard’s Top TV Songs chart.[7]

Tyler has 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.[8]

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]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Stenning, Paul (August 2005). ""Golden Gods 2005 Issue"". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Zuckerman, Faye (21 April 1984). "Australian Firm Looks to Music". Billboard. New York City, USA: Lynne Segall.
  4. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (19 May 2021). "How Shrek Blew My Band Up". Vulture. Archived from the original on 26 May 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  5. ^ O'Connell, Sean (10 August 2011). "Footloose Soundtrack Mixes New Material With Songs From Original Film". CinemaBlend.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. New York City, USA: Lynne Segall. 26 May 1984. p. 54.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6742." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Europarade – 5 October 1985" (PDF). Music Week. 5 October 1985. p. 32. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  14. ^ "{{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Holding Out for a Hero". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". Top 40 Singles.
  19. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  20. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts T". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". Singles Top 100.
  22. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Bonnie Tyler Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Cashbox Magazine". Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  25. ^ "British single certifications – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 July 2021.