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Bonnie Tyler (born as Gaynor Hopkins, 8 June 1951) is a Welsh singer. She is recognisable by her distinctive, husky voice.

Early life

She was born in Skewenmarker, Neathmarker, Walesmarker to a family that included three sisters and two brothers. Her father worked in a coal mine and her mother (an opera lover) shared her love for music with her children. She grew up listening to Motown music and female artists like Janis Joplin and Tina Turner.

In 1970, at age 19, she entered a talent contest, singing the Mary Hopkin hit "Those Were the Days", but only came in second place. She then was chosen to sing in a band with front man Bobby Wayne and were known as Bobby Wayne & The Dixies. Two years later, she formed her own band called Imagination and performed with them in pubs and clubs all over southern Wales. It was then that she decided to adopt the stage name of Sherene Davies (she took these names from her niece and favorite aunt).

In 1973, she married Robert Sullivan, a real estate speculator. In 1975, she was discovered by Roger Bell, who arranged a recording contract for her with RCA Records. Before signing, she was asked to choose a different stage name, a process through which she finally became known as Bonnie Tyler.


In 1976, Tyler was spotted in "The Townsman Club" in Swanseamarker by the songwriting and producing team of Ronnie Scott (not the famous jazz musician) 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, whereas 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 surgery was required. After the surgery, she was ordered not to speak for several weeks, but she broke her doctor's orders which caused her voice to take on a raspy quality. At first this made her believe that her singing career was over, but (to her surprise) her next single made her an international star, "It's a Heartache" made #3 on the US chart and became a hit worldwide; it topped the charts in several countries (including France and Australia) and peaked at #2 in Germany and at #4 in the UK. The Natural Force album 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; one year later, the country-influenced "My Guns Are Loaded" peaked at number 3 in France; she scored a minor UK Top 40 hit with "Married Men" in 1979, the theme to the film The World Is Full of Married Men. Tyler released the albums Diamond Cut (1979) and Goodbye to the Island (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.

Tyler released four albums for RCA from 1977 to 1981. Over time she became dissatisfied with Scott and Wolfe's management, as they were trying to lean her closer to the country music market. When her contract with RCA expired, she signed with David Aspden Management and sought help from songwriter Jim Steinman to give her music a rock style. She signed with Columbia Records in 1982.

Her next album, Faster Than the Speed of Night, was released in Spring 1983 and included the ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart," written by Jim Steinman. The song was a worldwide hit, reaching no. 1 in the UK, France, Australia and in the United States (where it remained for four weeks). Faster Than the Speed of Night entered the UK album chart at no. 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" from the film soundtrack Footloose which made the Top 40 in the U.S., and peaked at #2 in UK in the summer of 1985. The track 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 sung by Tyler but by a Tyler sound-alike.

The following albums Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire (1986) and Hide Your Heart (1988) failed to continue the global success of Faster Than The Speed Of Night, but achieved 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, recorded with the Brazilian singer Fábio Junior the song "Sem limites pra sonhar/Reaching for the Infinite Heart". In this same year, she sang the title song for Mike Oldfield's album Islands. Tyler sang with Cher for the song "Perfection" on Cher's self-titled 1987 album, and "Emotional Fire" on Cher's 1989 Heart Of Stone album.

In the early 1990s, Tyler switched to BMG German label, Hansa. Her first album on her new label was Bitterblue in late 1991. This album went quadruple-platinum in Norway, platinum in Austria, and gold in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, amongst other countries. Tyler followed this up with the album Angel Heart in late 1992, which repeated the success of Bitterblue. The next album, Silhouette in Red, and the compilation The Very Best of Bonnie Tyler (#3 and platinum in Germany), with her hits from all three decades put together for the first time, were both released in 1993. Also in 1993, Tyler won Best International Female Vocalist at RSH Gold Award, the Award “Goldene Europa”, the and ECHO Awards in 1994. In 1999 Tyler was part of an ensemble vocal unit for Rick Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the Earth CD.

In 2003, Kareen Antonn approached Tyler to record a duet. "Si demain... ", a French language version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", was released in December 2003 and went to No. 1 in France (for ten weeks), as well as Belgium and Poland, selling a total of two million copies. The follow-up, "Si tout s'arrête (It's A Heartache)", another French language remake with Kareen Antonn, also made the French Top 20.

In September 2006, Tyler made her first appearance on U.S. television in many years, as she sang a duet of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with actress Lucy Lawless on the American show Celebrity Duets.

In 2007, a new Greatest Hits collection, From the Heart, was released. A new studio album is also in the works. Also in 2007, Tyler contributed a track, "I Don’t Know How to Love Him", to the charity record Over the Rainbow. Tyler mentioned in a recent interview that she will be working with Jim Steinman again for her next album.

Tyler recently made a guest appearance in the UK late night edition of Channel 4 teen soap Hollyoaks, Hollyoaks Later, where she sang her hit "Holding Out For a Hero". The episode was broadcast on Friday 2nd October 2009. She is also set to record a new version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with Welsh male voice choir Only Men Aloud!, due out in October 2009.


Awards and Nominations

  • Music Retailer Magazine 1978 (USAmarker)
    • Most Promising Newcomer
  • Daily Express 1978 (UKmarker)
    • Best New Artist
  • Bravo Otto 1978 (Germanymarker)
    • Golden Otto Best Singer
  • Goldene Europa 1978 (Germany)
    • Best Singer
  • Yamaha Prize 1979 (Japanmarker)
    • Grand Prix International "Sitting On The Edge Of The Ocean"
  • Academy Country Music 1979 (USAmarker)
    • Best New Artist "It's A Heartache" (nomination)
  • Brit Awards 1984 (UKmarker)
    • Best singer (nomination)
  • American Music Awards 1984 (USA)
    • Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist (nomination)
    • Favorite Pop/Rock Single "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (nomination)
  • Goldene Europa 1983 (Germany)
    • Comeback Of The Year

  • Grammy Award 1984 (USA)
    • Best Pop Vocal Female "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (nomination)
    • Best Rock Vocal Female "Faster Than The Speed of Night" (nomination)
  • Variety Club of Great Britain Award 1984 (UK)
    • Best Recording Artist Of The Year "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
  • Grammy Award 1985 (USA)
    • Best Rock Vocal Female "Here She Comes" (nomination)
  • Brit Awards 1986 (UK)
    • Best Singer (nomination)
  • RSH-Gold Award 1992 (Germany)
    • Erfolgreichste deutschproduzierte Interpretin bzw. Ohrwurm des Jahres
  • Bravo Otto
    • Best Singer of 1992, 6th place
  • Echo Award 1993 (Germany)
    • Best International Singer "Angel Heart" (nomination)
  • Bravo 10 Best Singer of 1993
    • 6th place
  • Bravo 10 Best Shows of 1993
    • 8th place
  • Bravo 10 Good Looking Singer of 1993
    • 8th place

  • Bravo 10 Best CDs of 1993
    • "Very Best of Bonnie Tyler Vol. 1", 8th place
  • Bravo 10 Best CDs of 1993
    • "Silhouette In Red", 9th place
  • Goldene Europa 1993 (Germany)
    • Best International Singer
  • Echo Award 1994 (Germany)
    • Best International Singer, The Very Best Of/Silhouette In Red
  • Radio Regenbogen Award 1999 (Germany)
    • Lifetime Award
  • Writs Welsh Music Awards 2001 (Wales)
    • Best Singer "Greatest Hits" (nomination)
  • Royal Welsh College Of Music & Drama 2002 (Wales)
    • Honorary Fellow in recognition of outstanding achievements within the fields of music.
  • Les Hits de Diamant 2004 (Francemarker)
    • It's A Heartache & Total Eclipse Of The Heart
  • Steiger Award 2005 (Germany)
    • Lifetime Award

See also


  1. Bonnie Tyler Official Biography Retrieved 21 September 2009
  3. Wakeman CD

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