Bonnie Tyler (born Gaynor Hopkins on 8 June 1951) is a Welsh singer, most notable for her hits in the 1970s and 1980s including "It's a Heartache", "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
Tyler was born in Skewen, Neath, Wales 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", and finished 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 (not related to the 1980s British dance band of the same name), 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', taking the names from her niece and favourite aunt.
In 1973, she married Robert Sullivan, a real estate agent and Olympic judoka. 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, settling on Bonnie Tyler.
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 her 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 six weeks to aid the healing process, but she accidentally screamed out in frustration one day. This caused her voice to take on a raspy quality. At first she believed 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.
Full article ▸