Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bonnie Tyler, The #98 Female Artist of the Rock Era*

Bonnie Tyler (real name Gaynor Hopkins) began her career as a local singer in Swansea, Wales.  In 1969, she entered a talent contest at age 17, singing Mary Hopkin's "Those Were The Days" and the Ray Charles hit "I Can't Stop Loving You".  She finished second, and later became a backup singer for Bobby Wayne & the Dixies.  Two years later, she formed her own group called Imagination and performed at pubs in southern Wales.  She originally adopted the stage name "Sherene Davis".    

In 1975, Roger Bell, a talent scout for Chapel Music, went to a club in South Wales to see some musicians, but came in on the wrong floor to find Davis singing "Nutbush City Limits".  Bell invited her to London to record some demos, and a few months later, RCA called and she had a recording contract.  Upon signing, she changed her stage name to Bonnie Tyler.

"Lost In France" was a #9 hit in the U.K. but success was contained there.  While promoting the song, Tyler's vocals began developing a raspy quality and she was diagnosed with large vocal nodules.  However, she failed to observe the necessary six weeks of vocal rest that were advised, and her voice was left with the permanent husky sound that became her trademark.
In 1978, she broke through with the release of her single "It's A Heartache", which was a bit hit on both sides of the Atlantic (#2 in Germany, #4 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S.).

"My Guns Are Loaded" was a #3 hit in France and #10 in Canada.  Tyler's "Sitting On The Edge Of The Ocean" captured the Grand Prix at the 1979 Yamaha World Song Festival.  But Tyler became increasingly dissatisfied with the management at RCA, who were trying to market her as a pop-country music artist.  After seeing Meat Loaf on the television show The Old Grey Whistle Test, Tyler hired Jim Steinman as her new producer. 

  Tyler visited Steinman at his apartment a few weeks later, where Steinman and Rory Dodd presented "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" to her.  The song was a worldwide smash, hitting #1 in the United States, the U.K., Australia, France and Ireland and its sales now exceed nine million copies.  The song continues to rank high in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.

Tyler's album Faster Than the Speed of Night became her best.  The single was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the album for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1984 Grammy Awards and she received two American Music Award nominations (Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Single).  She received another nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance the following year for her song "Here She Comes", featured in the movie Metropolis

One of Bonnie's songs ("Holding Out For A Hero") was included for the blockbuster Soundtrack to 'Footloose', and it proved to be an underrated song, only reaching #34 in the U.S., but #2 in the U.K. (more like it!)

Tyler received airplay from the album in France, Spain and the U.K. but did not achieve worldwide success.  Throughout the 1990's, Tyler's success was limited to Europe.  Because of that European success, Tyler continues to record and perform.  She recorded the song "Believe In Me" after agreeing to a BBC request to represent the United Kingdom at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.  But "Holding Out For A Hero" turned out to be her last worldwide Top 40 hit.   

Tyler sold 1.5 million albums in her career, and had three worldwide Top 40 hits, but two of them, "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and "It's A Heartache", were smashes in multiple countries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.