‘The Best Is Yet To Come’: Indomitable Songstress Bonnie Tyler Discusses Her Uplifting New Album
With a career that spans five decades and includes upwards of one-hundred-million in record sales, multiple Grammy and Brit award nominations as well as the grit and ubiquitous influence of her vocal on songs like “It’s A Heartache,” “Total Eclipse of The Heart,” and “Holding Out For A Hero,” Bonnie Tyler has secured her place as one of the biggest artists in music history.
Now, the indomitable Welsh songstress is set to release her brand-new studio album, The Best is Yet To Come. A twelve-song collection that reunites Tyler with producer David Mackay and features songs from heavyweight writers like Steve Womack and Desmond Child.
Notable songs from the album including “When The Lights Go Down” and “Dreams Are Not Enough,” conjure up memories of a simpler time, while tracks like “Stronger Than A Man” and “Call Me Thunder,” are infectious female-empowering anthems. The album also features Tyler’s infectious takes on Donovan’s “Catch The Wind” and 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love.”
The Best Is Yet To Come can easily be described as one of Tyler’s best. An uplifting, musical jaunt that takes her unique sound, passion and energy and moves it well into the 21st century.
I recently spoke with Bonnie Tyler about The Best Is Yet To Come and more in this exclusive new interview.
How would you describe the new album in terms of its sound and maybe how it relates to some of your previous work?
Bonnie Tyler: It’s uplifting, energetic and, in many ways, feels like a young album. I had such a joy making it and working with David Mackay again. He’s the guy who started off my career in the beginning with “It’s A Heartache” back in 1978. The songwriters I’ve got, like Steve Womack and Desmond Child, are amazing. Steve’s tracks are very much in the vein of Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart. I’ve also got backing vocals by Miriam Stockley. Her credits for other artists is huge. It’s a great complement to have her on the album.
What can you tell me about the first single, “When The Lights Go Down?”
I love that song. Just the idea of being on the back porch with the radio on and dancing real slow. It keeps the spirits high and makes me think of things my mother and father had to go through when they were younger. They had a hard time but it’s things like this that pull you together in so many ways.
What made you decide to a cover of Donovan’s “Catch The Wind?”
I’ve always loved Donovan, and that song in particular. The lyrics are just beautiful. I also do a version of the 10cc song “I’m Not In Love.” I made it my own by doing a completely different arrangement.
Are there any other songs on the new album that stick out to you as special?
Of course, I love them all but I particularly like “Call Me Thunder” and “Dreams Are Not Enough. I also remember asking Desmond Child to write something for me and he came up with “Stronger Than A Man.” I never found that to be a problem. I’ve been in the business for so many years, competing against the big rock bands. I’ve done pretty well against them. It’s a great song from a hall of fame songwriter.
You’ve often told the story of how you had to overcome vocal issues early on in your career. Was there ever a moment where you were concerned about how your voice was changing?
Oh yes, I was very concerned. At one point I couldn’t get anything out of my voice. It was so bad that I had to have surgery to have the nodules removed. Normally you’re supposed to be quiet for six weeks afterwards, which was impossible for me [laughs]. It ended up taking a bit longer to recover and my voice became a lot huskier. That was when I went back into the studio to record “It’s a Heartache” and it became a massive hit in America.
Can you share the story behind “Total Eclipse of The Heart” and did you have any idea of how iconic the song would become when you recorded it?
I had gone to CBS to find a new deal and Muff Winwood asked me what direction I wanted to go in and who I would want to work with. I told him that on the taxi to the office I’d heard Meat Loaf on the radio and that I wanted to work with whoever was behind that. He said, “Are you crazy? That’s f#cking Jim Steinman! He’d never do it.” I said, “So? Would you please ask him? You don’t know if you don’t ask.” Well, they did ask him and Jim wanted me to go to America to meet him, and I did. Three weeks later he finished a song he’d started years earlier, “Total Eclipse of The Heart.” He handed me the lyrics and Rory Dodd sang it by the piano while Jim played it. [Dodd can be heard singing on the final track with Tyler]. It moved me so much that I was in tears. I recorded it with Rick Derringer on guitar and Bruce Springsteen members Max Weinberg on drums and Roy Bittan on piano. We ended up doing nine takes and Jim took the reels home and listened to each of them to see which one he liked best. Then he gave me a cassette and asked me to do the same. We both ended up choosing the same one, the second take, and threw everything we had at it.
My only concern was that it might never get played because it was nearly eight minutes long. It pained him to do it but Jim edited down the single, but the radio stations ended up playing the album version anyway. It went to #1 for four weeks in the singles charts and three weeks at #1 for the album (Faster Than The Speed of Night). It was amazing.
Bonnie Tyler’s new album, The Best Is Yet To Come will be released on February 26.