Thursday Night Music Byte
Bonnie Tyler (born as Gaynor Hopkins, 8 June 1951) is a British singer, most notable for her worldwide hits in the 1970s and 80s including “It’s a Heartache” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.
In 1976, Tyler was spotted in “The Townsman Club” in Swansea by the songwriting and producing team of Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe; who became Tyler’s managers, songwriters and producers.
Following the Top 10 success of her 1976 song “Lost in France”, Tyler released her first album in 1977 entitled The World Starts Tonight. A further single from the album, “More Than a Lover”, made the UK Top 30, and the follow-up single, “Heaven”, reached the Top 30 in Germany.
In 1977, Tyler was diagnosed with nodules on her vocal cords that were so severe that she needed to undergo surgery to remove them. After the surgery, she was ordered not to speak for several weeks to aid the healing process, but she broke her doctor’s orders. This caused her voice to take on a raspy quality. At first, this made her believe that her singing career was ruined, but to her surprise, her next single, “It’s a Heartache”, made her an international star. The song reached #4 in the UK, #3 in the US, #2 in Germany, and topped the charts in several countries (including France and Australia). Tyler’s second album, Natural Force, was also retitled It’s a Heartache for the U.S. market and certified Gold there.
Though further global success was elusive during this era, Tyler did have some regional hits: “Here Am I” made the German Top 20 in spring of 1978; “My Guns Are Loaded” peaked at number 3 in France in 1979; and she scored a minor UK Top 40 hit with “Married Men” in summer 1979 (the theme to the film The World Is Full of Married Men). Tyler released the albums Diamond Cut in 1979 and Goodbye to the Island in 1981. The track “Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean” was the Grand Prix winner of the 1979 Yamaha World Song Festival held in Tokyo.
Her next album, Faster Than the Speed of Night, was released in Spring 1983 and included the power-ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, which was written by Steinman. The song was a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in the UK, France, Australia, and in the United States where it remained at the top for four weeks. Faster Than the Speed of Night entered the UK album chart at number 1, and also became a Top Five bestseller in the US and Australia. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” also brought Tyler a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 1984, she performed the track at the Grammy Awards, and received another Grammy nomination as Best Rock Female Vocalist for “Here She Comes”, a song that was part of the soundtrack for the 1984 restoration of the film Metropolis. She also released the singles “A Rockin’ Good Way”, a duet with fellow Welsh artist Shakin’ Stevens, which made #5 in the UK, and “Holding Out for a Hero”, for the Footloose soundtrack, which made the U.S. Top 40 and later peaked at number 2 in UK in the summer of 1985. “Holding Out For A Hero” (written by Steinman and Dean Pitchford) was also used as the main theme for the 1984 US television series Cover Up, though the version heard on the TV series was not Tyler’s original but performed by a Tyler sound-alike.
The following albums Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire (1986), and Hide Your Heart (1988), both failed to continue the global success of Faster Than The Speed Of Night, but achieved some success in France, Switzerland, Scandinavia, South Africa, Australia and other countries. One of the single releases, “If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)”, became another Top 10 hit in France in 1986 and was certified Silver. In 1987, Tyler recorded the song “Sem limites pra sonhar/Reaching for the Infinite Heart” with the Brazilian singer Fábio Junior. The same year, she sang the title song for Mike Oldfield’s album Islands. Tyler also sang with Cher for the song “Perfection” on Cher’s self-titled 1987 album, and “Emotional Fire” on Cher’s 1989 album Heart Of Stone.