Guitar lesson for

Total Eclipse of the Heart

by Bonnie Tyler  •  Lesson #93

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll show you how to play a strum-along guitar version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. I’ll show you the chords needed, strumming pattern, tabs for the intro, and some advice for tackling the barre chords. Note I’m using no capo, but you’ll want to use a capo on the 1st fret in order to play along with Bonnie Tyler’s version.

Capo 1st fret

If you want to play along with Bonnie Tyler’s recorded version of the song, you’ll need to put a capo on the 1st fret and use all chords and tabs below. You could also not use a capo and use the chords - but note you’ll be in a different key than the album version of this song (which may not be a big deal unless you’re trying to play along with it).

Intro riff, simplified

Put your left hand in the A-minor position, and play the riff as follows. Note that you want to omit the high E-string, and accent the thinnest string (in each strum) to drive the melody notes home.

E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B –––––––1––0––––––––––1––0––––––
G –––––––2––2––2–––––––2––2––2–––
D –––––2–––––––2–––––2–––––––2–––   ...repeat as desired
A –––0–––––––––––––0–––––––––––––
E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Chords needed:

E –––0––––3––––0––––––––––––––4––––0––––2––––0––––2––––2––––
B –––1––––3––––1––––3––––8––––4––––0––––3––––2––––0––––3––––
G –––2––––0––––0––––3––––8––––5––––0––––2––––0––––2––––2––––
D –––2––––0––––2––––3––––8––––6––––2––––0––––2––––1––––0––––
A –––0––––2––––3––––1––––6––––6––––2–––––––––0––––2––––0––––
E ––––––––3–––––––––––––––––––4––––0–––––––––––––––––––2––––
     Am   G    C    Bb   Eb   Ab   Em   D    A7   B7  D/F#

Strumming pattern:

I keep the strumming pattern quite simple:

D = downstrum   U = upstrum

D       D   D U
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

That same pattern, as if spoken out loud, would be this (keep on repeating it):

Down... down, down up down... down, down up down... down, down up down...

Song structure

Quite simply, there are a lot of sections of this song. Here’s the high-level guide, with chord progression for each section:


"Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit lonely..."
Am . . . Am . . . G . . . G . . .   x2

"Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit nervous..."
C . . . C . . . Bb . . . Bb . . . x2

"Turn around, bright eyes..."
Eb . . . Ab . . . Ab . . . x2


"I need you now tonight, and I need you more than ever..."
G . . . Em . . . C . . . D . . . x3

"Together we can take it to the end of the line..."
C . . . D . . . Em . . . A7 . . . x2

"I really need you tonight, forever's gonna start tonight..."
G . . . D . G . C . . . D . . .


"Once upon a time I was falling in love..."
G . . . Em . . . B7 . . . C . . .

"Nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart..."
Am . . . D . . . G . . . Em . . . C . . . D . . .

Lyrics w/ chords

    Am                                   G
    Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round
    Am                                   G
    Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
    C                                    Bb
    Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by
    C                                    Bb
    Turnaround, every now & then I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes
    Eb          Ab
    Turnaround, bright eyes... but every now and then I fall apart
    Eb          Ab
    Turnaround, bright eyes... every now and then I fall apart

    G        Em             C            D
    ...And I need you now tonight, and I need you more than ever
    G             Em           C               D
    ...And if you only hold me tight, we'll be holding on forever
    G            Em                C                    D
    ...And we'll only be making it right, because we'll never be wrong
      C                            D
    Together we can take it to the end of the line
         Em                          A7
    Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
      C                             D
    I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
          Em                         A7
    We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
    I really need you tonight
       D/F#         G       C         D
    Forever's gonna start tonight, forever's gonna start tonight

    G                      Em                   B7                   C
    Once upon a time I was falling in love, but now I'm only falling apart
                Am                  D                    G     Em    C    D
    And there's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart
    G                          Em                    B7                           C
    Once upon a time there was light in my life, but now there's only love in the dark
    Am                   D                    G     Em    C    D
    Nothing I can say, a total eclipse of the heart

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you. Questions? Comments? Requests? Let me know!

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