"Coming Out of the Dark" is a single by American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan. It was released in 1991 worldwide as the leading and first single of the album, Into the Light, becoming the singer's third number one in the United States and second number one in Canada (solo and with Miami Sound Machine). This is the first single released after Estefan's accident on March 20, 1990—an 18-wheeler rammed her tour bus, nearly causing the singer's death—when her "Get on Your Feet Tour" was in progress. It is also the first song that Estefan performed publicly after recovering. The song is inspired by the near-fatal accident and also is dedicated to Emilio Estefan, Jr., Gloria's husband.
The song is a soul ballad which includes the use of a choir. Among the voices in the choir are Gloria's colleague, the Cuban singer Jon Secada, and the R&B singer Betty Wright (both had participated in backing vocals on Gloria's album, Cuts Both Ways as well as Into the Light). The title was inspired by a phrase her husband had written on a piece of paper as a helicopter transported her for delicate surgery to repair her broken back. Gloria explained to Billboard: "My husband had been in one of the helicopters traveling from one hospital to the other. It was really dark and gray, and he was traumatized. He got this ray of light that hit him in the face, and he got the idea for 'Coming Out of the Dark.'" SongFacts.com
Gloria was careful not to turn Into the Light into a pity party. "I hate pity," she told the Los Angeles Daily News. "I'm very self-reliant and independent, and I'm used to that role. I don't like people feeling sorry for me. So I wrote 'Coming Out of the Dark' to let the people around me know how important they are to me. But that was as far as I wanted to go with the accident. I didn't want this to become 'the album on the accident.' What am I going to sing - 'Oh, this bus hit me'?"
Bill Lamb from About.com described the song as a "gorgeous hit ballad." He added that "Coming out of the Dark" "is now considered one of the top inspirational pop hits of all time."AllMusic editor Jason Birchmeier highlighted the song in his review of Into the Light, calling it a "memorable" ballad. Maryann Scheufele from AXS noted that Estefan "truly has been blessed with an inspirational voice." The Daily Vault's Mark Millan picked the song as one of three "real hits" of the album with "Live for Loving You" and "Seal Our Fate". Pip Ellwood-Hughes from Entertainment Focus described it as "one of the most poignant songs" from Estefan's career. Bill Wyman from Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Coming Out of the Dark" is a "pretty song about Estefan's recovery. It starts out slow, then brings its point home with a gospel-like chorus reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". It's hard not to be sympathetic — the song is an anthem to hope and indomitability, and someone who's endured Estefan's pain certainly deserves room to talk about it." Another editor, Leah Greenblatt described the song as a "poignant gospel-tinged ballad". Mario Tarradell from Knight Ridder labeled the song as a "gospel-tinged showpiece".Music & Media noted that with a "comeback in glory after a heavy tourbus accident, Estefan shines in this gospel type of song. Inspired by the strong backing vocals, she climbs her way back to the top. Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits said the song "starts off slow, then perks up a touch and cracks along at a lively pace for the rest of the song."
The song was a number one hit on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts (and her last to date on both charts). The song was also a hit in Canada, Spain and Japan. However, the song didn't have as much impact in the rest of Europe, where Estefan had always been popular. In Ireland, the single only reached the Top 20; and in UK reached the Top 40, a very low position in comparison to other singles.
Estefan also recorded the Spanish version of the song, called "Desde la Oscuridad". The song was released to Latin-American radio stations and the considerable airplay it received took the song to the Top Five of the Hot Latin Songs chart.