Welsh singing legend Bonnie Tyler is planning a return to the UK charts next month with a new version of Total Eclipse of the Heart, but as she explains to PinkNews.co.uk, she has never been away from the music scene.
Love is love, Bonnie Tyler declares when asked on her view on gay equality.
Tyler’s discography reads like a biopic of the last 30 years of gay life; heartbreak, tension, and striving against all odds.
Her booming voice, her style and passion make her a definitive gay icon. The Welsh-born singer’s best known hits, including Holding Out For A Hero, Total Eclipse of the Heart and It’s a Heartache, can be found in most gay men’s record collections.
She even boast to having two gay family members, Tyler told PinkNews.co.uk: “My niece married her girlfriend on the same day as Elton John had a civil partnership with David Furnish.
“I also have a gay nephew but him and his partner are not planning on getting married yet. Love is love, a heart is a heart.”
At 55, Tyler is still going strong, and it’s the gay appeal of camp videos and passion-filled hits which seems to have kept her in the minds of the gay community.
She is one of a long list of successful Welsh vocal artists, among them Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, and more recently Charlotte Church.
But Tyler warns that these talents don’t apply to the whole country, “People like Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones are ultra talented, people always say all Welsh people can sing, but you haven’t heard my sister in law.”
The young Bonnie, at that stage plain Gaynor Hopkins, started singing aged nine, and at 16 she was spotted in a talent contest in a local pub. She came second and won £1, a bit different to modern day reality music shows like X-Factor.
“It’s bad that they are chewed up and spat out and left to deal with the consequences,” comments Tyler, lamenting for the many forgotten stars of reality pop shows.
But she heaps praise on current X-Factor contestant Leona, “She’s amazing, these people are really singing live!
“I think she will win, but maybe coming second would be better.”
Tyler recently appeared on a US reality show Celebrity Duets , where she performed Total Eclipse of the Heart with Xena actress Lucy Lawless.
Once again, she didn’t win. “That show was amazing, Gladys Knight won, Lucy was not the strongest singer, but it was great to see all these stars from the 70s and 80s,” she says.
Tyler’s musical partnership with Jim Steinham, which began in 1983, is generally seen as the turning point in her career. It has gave her worldwide success with songs such as Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding Out for a Hero.
But she is keen to point out that she is still busy with other projects.
This year she released her first DVD as well as an album, and she is currently touring, with two dates in London, where she will appear alongside I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here star David Gest.
She also has a new single out in March 2007.
“I’m working constantly, I have two bands, a British and French one, that is how busy I am.
“People in the UK can be forgiven for thinking that I don’t sing that often, I am always in some country with my band.”
Her songs are guaranteed to fill the dancefloor in gay bars and clubs across the land.
Crowds have been known to go silent in gay venues when that strange video for Total Eclipse of the Heart begins to play, with people asking, “What is this video about??”
It features Bonnie in some sort of haunted school where the pupils have glaringly bright eyes.
Even she doesn’t know what it is about, “Don’t ask me what it means,” Tyler says.
“Jim Steinman wrote the storyboards, it must have been good as it was nominated for a Grammy Award.”
She will be back the public eye in her native country next year when a punk rock version of Total Eclipse of the Heart is released by upcoming band BabyPinkStar.
This new version, released on January 29 2007, uses Tyler’s unique vocals, but adds guitar riffs and disco beats, ensuring it is club classic in the making.
Tyler even appears at the beginning of the video in an acting performance which will not win her any Oscars, but at least shows her support for the song.
“When I first heard it I thought, are you serious?
“I kind of liked it, I sent it to Jim Steinman, he loved it and suggested they crank up the guitars.”
The new video begins with Tyler stuck in an airport, which looks more like her front room. She phones the BabyPinkStar manager to tell him she cannot make the shoot, leaving a poor assistant with the task of starring in the video.
Whereas the original video has all the hallmarks of the 1980s, slow motion fades, crazy hair, costumes and a mini storyline, this new video is very much made for the MySpace generation.
The video looks like it was planned in a pub and the choreography was the last item on the agenda. The band perform a Macarena type dance while the disco riffs and beats of the song are played on top. It all looks a bit amateur, but this only adds to the humour of the song, and after all, how can anyone beat the original video.
This isn’t the strangest scenario that the song has featured in, as Tyler has performed the song at solar eclipses and at the opening of the Welsh Assembly in 1999.
Tyler explains that it has also been used in an advert for yoghurt in Germany. It features members of the public turning around as they go about their daily business, in synchronicity with the infamous Turn Around” lyrics.
“This is the strangest place I have seen the song used, I wonder if we should have been paid for it?” Tyler says.
The future continues to be bright for Tyler, with this new cover and her current tour. She commutes with her husband of 33 years between the Algarve in Portugal and their beachfront home in Swansea.
“I am trying to get a tour together in this country, I do want to slow down and concentrate on live shows. I’m working all the time because of my past work, I will never get tired of singing Total Eclipse of the Heart.
“I do want to slow down and concentrate on live shows.”
The beauty of her career is that Tyler already has a legacy set up, she will always be remembered for her hits, whether it’s her or someone else singing them, leaving her to concentrate on doing what she loves best.
Not bad for a talent contest runner-up.
For more information on Bonnie Tyler, her releases or latest tour visit www.bonnietyler.com
More information on BabyPinkStar can be found at www.babypinkstar.com