Bonnie’s Last Hurrah?

Through bits and pieces on YouTube, and because the album won’t be released in North America until the fall (which will be the first release of a studio album of hers here since 1996) but has been released in most of Europe already – I’ve heard Bonnie Tyler’s most recent album, Between The Earth And The Stars. Since I seem to be one of the few “Bonnieologists” out there on this particular continent, I’d thought I’d give a review – as I did back in 2013 with Rocks And Honey.

In short, I think this was one of her better studio albums of the 17 she’s released since 1977 – with probably only 1983’s Faster Than The Speed Of Night rivaling it. (I’d give it an 8.5 on a 1 to 10 scale if you’re keeping score.) If what Bonnie has said recently in the European media a few times is true, I’m suspecting this will likely be (at almost two months shy of 68) her last studio album in a career that spanned half a century. I certainly don’t want that to be the case – but the clock eventually catches up to all of us sooner or later, right?

I’ve always thought Tyler might have one more hit over here in the US, as evidenced when the solar eclipse in August of 2017 briefly made her a thing once again in the United States, remembering how “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” was a big hit worldwide in 1983. A “best of” album briefly charted in Billboard’s Top 200 albums around that time, which ended a gap of over 31 years since Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire made the lower end of the charts in the spring of 1986. After that, I thought perhaps that was the “one more hit” that I had envisioned for her and not any new material that could come along.

But then again, when I had these dreams of Bonnie having that one last hit in America over the years, I kept seeing a year with a 9 in it. First I thought the 9 meant 19-something as in the previous century, then 2009 – and now, here we are in 2019. Perhaps, this will be her time.

“Hold On” was easily the best song on the newest album, though if the album is released here in the fall as planned – her new label, earMUSIC, will probably push her duet with Rod Stewart. “Battle Of The Sexes” kind of disappointed me – both put in their usual good vocal work and by no means is it a terrible song, but it didn’t seem there was any chemistry between them within the song itself. If “Battle” is released as a single and charts (and that might not be the big “if” it would have been a few years ago), Bonnie and Rod could break some of the elder age records on Billboard, and that’s probably where the money is to be made publicity-wise if anywhere.

If this indeed winds up being Bonnie’s last studio album (I do think she’ll continue on and do tours into the 2020’s – and oh by the way, North America gets another total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024), it’s not a bad capper for her. I’ll get it when it comes out over here, for sure – it could wind up being somewhat of a collector’s item.

Flashback: “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart

Word broke out last week that Rod Stewart is considering doing an album of duets with one of my favorite singers, Bonnie Tyler. (I guess Bonnie’s solo album that was going to be produced by Johnny Cash’s son hit a snag – it has still yet to come out.)

Naturally, that got me thinking as to what my favorite Rod Stewart song is. He’s had a lot of hits all over the years, but I always liked this hit from 1984 – reaching #6 on the Billboard charts during the year.

As for the Rod and Bonnie collaboration, it will either be a very good album or a total bust. I think it will all depend on whether or not Bonnie has that one hit left in her that I’ve suspected all these years she might have.

Those Savage Curtains Again

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I did feel a bit like Kirk and Spock dealing with Abraham Lincoln (or a facsimile thereof) on Thursday.

You’re not going to believe this one. More importantly, I don’t believe this one.

I exchanged direct messages on Thursday with 80’s pop singer Bonnie Tyler or more likely, someone who had hacked into her Twitter account. More plausible it was the latter scenario if I had to guess because the Welsh singer doesn’t use her Twitter account all that frequently. Plus, the dates of recent tweets had been altered to appear more recent than they actually were.

No, I didn’t ask her a lot of questions. She was too busying asking me everything under the sun, which had me immediately dubious about the authenticity of talking to the real Bonnie. It kind of reminded me of that Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk encounters the facsimile of Abraham Lincoln, and the crew is quickly cynical of it all. Social media breeds a similar kind of cynicism, I suppose.

It didn’t make sense to me that someone who has peddled millions of records over four decades would be that engaged with this one fan, so I broke off contact the next day after humoring “her” for a day.

I’m pretty sure it was fake news, as our President often says. We’ll see.

(EDIT, 4/5/2018: I didn’t realize this until the day after I blogged it, but the Twitter account that DM’ed me was @BonnieTylerOfficial. The real account of Bonnie’s is @BonnieTOfficial. Color me duped.)

 

The Eclipse And The Nostalgia File

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For a couple of minutes at various times across a swath of the country here in the United States on Monday, time stood still. It didn’t matter whether or not you liked President Trump, what your worldview is on racism or Russia, or whether or not you were a Republican or a Democrat. You took those fleeting moments out of your time and you viewed nature’s universal wonder: the first total eclipse seen in the USA since 1979.

Someone had a pretty good day on Monday, and if you know this blog, you know this made me happy.

Only an astronomical event could explain why Bonnie Tyler was on American TV more times in a seven-hour span than she’s been in the past thirty years combined. But there she was, on ABC twice, plus The Weather Channel, NBC, and CNN. (If you thought she appeared drunk on her last ABC appearance around 2:40pm or so, I’d have to agree.) I was under the impression she’d perform her 1983 mega-ballad “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” with Joe Jonas and the DNCE Band during those few minutes of totality when the sun disappears and it gets, well, totally dark. For some reason, that didn’t pan out as I had thought. Maybe the whole BMI/ASCAP royalty rights thing was an issue, but that’s just my amateur guess.

With “Total Eclipse” hitting number one on the iTunes charts Monday, some people on the Internet are wondering if this will this lead to a comeback of some sort.  Do I see Tyler getting another album released in the States as was the case in 1996 (the year after Nicki French’s remake of “Eclipse” went to #2 on the charts) with an album called Free Spirit? Yes, because she does have an album coming up for release in the next few months. (She’s had 16 studio albums to this point, but many of them weren’t released in America once her popularity waned here in the late 80’s.) Do I think such an album would do well? No, though I hope I’m wrong on that score. I just base that on how much of a dud her ’96 album was, but with other changes in the music industry such as downloadable music, maybe the right time for a comeback has arrived.

Nevertheless, the day of the eclipse was a day to remember for many reasons, but mainly because it should be a reminder to us all how little we matter in the grand scheme of things within the universe. We have to remember we all live under the same sky sometimes. Looking forward to our next eclipse in 2024, Lord willing.

Flashback: “It’s A Heartache” by Bonnie Tyler

This is one of the first songs I could remember word for word when I was 6, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of its first release in late 1977.

The one thing that drew me back to the song many years later is the drum track, performed by the late Mike Gibbins of the group Badfinger. Try and listen to that “boomp, boomp, boomp, ba-boomp” sound as Bonnie lays down the vocal.

While this song put Bonnie (born Gaynor Hopkins) on the global radar (she already had two hits in Europe in late ’76 and early ’77: Lost In France and More Than A Lover), her voice is much more huskier than it was on her debut album, The World Starts Tonight. That was due to damaged vocal cords, requiring surgery to remove nodules in the cords. It gave her that vocal delivery that often reminded me of a left-handed baseball pitcher that just so happens to throw knuckleballs.

In the US, the song went to #3 on the pop charts and #10 on the country charts in the spring of 1978. The song has been covered scores of times, from everyone to David Johansen (anyone have that track?) to Gene Pitney to the country group Trick Pony, and still holds up well today. In the here and now, Bonnie is still at it at 66 years of age come June, with an album slated for release late in 2017 produced by John Carter Cash. Yep, June Carter and Johnny Cash’s son.

Looking forward to how that one sounds…

Flashback: “Turtle Blues” by Janis Joplin

Time for this week’s flashback, and much like when I flashed back to Janis’s version of “Piece Of My Heart” three months ago, this has a predictable story.

I first heard this song done by, you guessed it if you’ve been following this blog closely, Bonnie Tyler, off of her 1988 album that was called “Notes From America” here in the United States, “Hide Your Heart” in other parts in the world. Despite bombing in the US charts, it had a lot of songs that were covers (Don’t Turn Around, To Love Somebody), or would wind up being covers (The Best, Save Up All Your Tears, Hide Your Heart) for other artists.

Janis’s original version of “Turtle Blues” does a good job of capturing what was (or simulated to be) a jam session, with Joplin vamping as only she can. Lovely little song no matter who does it.

Life Imitating Song

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The year hasn’t been all that kind to the music I grew up on.

David Bowie, Merle Haggard, and Prince have died, with Prince’s death being just as mysterious as Michael Jackson’s in 2009.

Ozzy Osbourne and Sinead O’Connor each went missing for a spell, with Ozzy currently being treated for sex addiction, reportedly in Mississippi. O’Connor was reported missing a couple of days ago, but was found safe.

With all of that going on, it was easy to miss that one of my favorite singers, Bonnie Tyler (who turns 65 in June), has made a rare (if not unprecedented) appearance in the National Enquirer, among other tabloids. The story sounds like a few of Bonnie’s songs that brought her to prominence in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

It turns out that one of Bonnie’s biggest fans, 25 year old French woman Meghann Pernot, had an affair with Bonnie’s husband, multi-millionaire property developer Robert Sullivan, 67. Sullivan often texted (with one message from Sullivan reportedly reading: “Please tell me something dirty so I can play.”) and had sex with Pernot near where Robert and Bonnie have a home in Portugal, with Meghann often organizing the trysts at nearby Portuguese hotels.

There may also be some kind of management shake-up because of this (obviously), because the website Bonnie’s team has been running for years is inoperable, and her Twitter page hasn’t been updated for months.

If you have to sleep with the husband of a well known singer to get notoriety, you’re probably doing your life wrong, though it sounds to me that Sullivan is a bit of an opportunist in this as well. After all, Pernot had him “dead to rights” on the text messages. But what a mess!