Bonnie Tyler - International First Lady of Rock

Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer. Her real name is Gaynor Hopkins. She spent seven years performing in pubs and clubs around South Wales before being signed to RCA Records in 1975. Tyler is known for her distinctive husky voice, resulting from an operation to remove vocal nodules in the mid-1970s. Her singing has been compared to Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes, and she has been referred to as the 'International First Lady of Rock'.

Bonnie Tyler first achieved major chart success in the 1970s with "Lost in France" and "It's a Heartache". She achieved further chart success in the 1980s with the two hit singles "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Holding Out for a Hero". Both "It's a Heartache" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" are among the best-selling singles of all time, with sales in excess of six million. Her 1983 album Faster Than the Speed of Night debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, earning her a Guinness World Record for being the first female artist to do so. Her work has earned her two Grammy Award nominations and three Brit Award nominations, among other accolades.

Making a comeback in 2003, she released "Si demain..." with Kareen Antonn, which was a number one in France for ten weeks. Her latest album Rocks and Honey has had moderate success in Europe, with her single "Believe in Me" being used as the UK's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Following the contest, Tyler received two Eurovision Song Contest Radio Awards for Best Song and Best Singer, making her the first UK representative to win the award.

In April 1969, aged 17, Hopkins' aunt entered her in a local talent contest. She sang the Mary Hopkin hit "Those Were the Days" and the Ray Charles song "I Can't Stop Loving You", finishing in second place (losing to an accordionist), and won £1. She later successfully auditioned to join Bobby Wayne and the Dixies as a backing singer after finding an advert in a local newspaper. Two years after auditioning for Bobby Wayne and the Dixies, Tyler formed her own band called Imagination, and performed with them in pubs and clubs around southern Wales. It was then that she decided to adopt the stage name of "Shereen Davis", taking the names from her niece's forename and favorite aunt's surname. Despite the two name changes, her family and friends still know her as Gaynor.

In 1975, Roger Bell, working for Chapel Music at the time, visited a music club in South Wales to see some record contract hopefuls, but came in on the wrong floor to find Hopkins singing "Nutbush City Limits" with Imagination. She was invited to London to record a handful of demos, and months later she received a phone call from RCA Records asking to sign her to a record contract. Before signing, another name change was recommended. She compiled a list of surnames and Christian names and settled on "Bonnie Tyler".

After her contract with RCA Records ended in 1981, Tyler found a new manager in David Aspden and after seeing MeatLoaf perform "Bat Out of Hell" live on The Old Grey Whistle Test, approached Jim Steinman and asked him to be her producer. Tyler visited Steinman in his apartment in New York in April 1982 with her manager, where she was presented with two tracks — "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" and "Goin' Through the Motions". She stated that had she not liked the songs Steinman played for her, he would have rejected Tyler. She returned to his studio apartment weeks later, where Steinman and Rory Dodd presented "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to her. He also hand-picked the recording band for the song.

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" had to be shortened for radio play. Tyler did not believe that the song was radio-friendly at its full length; the song was reduced from seven minutes and two seconds to four minutes and thirty seconds.

Steinman said in an interview with Playbill, "with Total Eclipse of the Heart, I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song. Its original title was Vampires in Love because I was working on a musical of Nosferatu, the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in dark..." He also told People magazine that he thought Tyler sounded like John Fogerty, and wrote the song "to be a showpiece for her voice." Tyler described the song as "a challenge [to sing]," stating that she "[doesn't] like songs that anybody can sing. I like songs that need a lot of energy." After Steinman presented her with the song she told The Times, "I just had shivers right up my spine... ...I couldn't wait to actually get in and record it."

The power ballad remains Tyler's most successful song.

Here it is: Total Eclipse Of The Heart

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