In Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a veteran artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: Queen of the Power Ballads, Bonnie Tyler.
“Before we start, I can tell you rock’n’roll definitely doesn’t kill brain cells, darling!”
1: Which band did you perform ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ with in 2017 onboard a cruise ship during an actual solar eclipse?
“Oh yeah! Oh God…The Jonas Brothers.”
CORRECT. Close enough – it was Joe Jonas’ band DNCE.
“(Laughs) It was great fun to do. I’d heard of them. My younger family members knew all about them – I didn’t know too much to be honest!”
For a bonus half-point, Taiwan’s version of Susan Boyle, Lin Yu Chun, once performed a duet of ‘Total Eclipse…’ with which Star Trek captain?
WRONG. It was William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk.
2: You competed in Eurovision in 2013. Which other former UK Eurovision entrant had her biggest hit with a cover of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’?
“Ooh! Bloody hell! Was it a girl? Was it a dance version of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’? I can’t remember her name. Aggghhh.”
WRONG. It was Nicki French, our Eurovision representative in 2000, and whose cover of ‘Total Eclipse…’ reached number 5 in 1995.
“That’s right! Sorry, I didn’t get that one! (Laughs) Did I hear her cover version? Yeah, it was completely different. But I think it suits being a ballad more than a dance track.”
What was Eurovision like?
“Well, it was an experience! But I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance before I even did it. It was just a case of it being good exposure for the album I had out at the time called ‘Rocks and Honey’. In actual fact, I quite enjoyed it. The atmosphere over there is electric, but it’s not about the best song anymore is it? It’s all about politics. I’m glad I did it though.”
3: You appeared in Hollyoaks in 2009 as part of which character’s dream sequence?
“Oh! Holly something? Holly Oaks? No, that’s the name of the program! (Laughs) I don’t watch it so I don’t know.”
WRONG. It was Carmel McQueen.
“Ah! (Laughs) You know, I’m not into that sort of thing at all. So yeah: it looks like rock’n’roll does affect brain cells! I’m not getting these answers right!”
Have you been offered many acting roles?
“I’ve been asked to do a few, like Blood Brothers in the West End and Hairspray. But I’m a singer not an actress.”
4: You covered Tina Turner’s ‘Don’t Turn Around’ on your 1988 album ‘Hide Your Heart’. But which other song on your record did she later have a massive hit with?
“I did the original version of ‘Simply The Best’.”
“But ‘Don’t Turn Around’ was first of all recorded by me and then Aswad had a number one with a reggae version of it.”
“I didn’t know Tina Turner did ‘Don’t Turn Around’! I did the original version of ‘Simply The Best’ and the original of ‘Don’t Turn Around’.”
Anyway…how did you feel when Tina Turner’s cover of ‘The Best’ became a success?
“It gave me my confidence back in my choice of material, because I just knew it was a hit record.”
5: You won the World Popular Music Festival for the UK in Tokyo in 1979. Which pop megastar’s mother represented the USA?
“Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy.”
“It was awesome! Whitney was only a young girl with pigtails and she asked me for an autograph. She was with her mother and she was only about 13, with a big pair of reading glasses on. When I saw the massive star she became, it was like: ‘My God! I remember you when you were a very shy little girl!’”
6: A range of ‘80s-inspired cheeses were released this year that included Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Cheddar Of Mine’. What’s the Bonnie Tyler cheese called?
“(Laughs) Auch, somebody showed me that and it just went over my head. Pfff! I haven’t got a clue!”
WRONG. It’s Total Eclipse of the Havarti.
“(Laughs) Oh well! I’ve already forgotten what you said!”
Has anyone ever given you anything stranger than Bonnie Tyler-branded fromage?
“Someone once travelled over from Australia on her sister’s forged passport. She turned up at my house and gave me a Mother’s Day present – she was convinced that she was my child and that I’d given her away all those years ago. Completely absurd! She gave me a weird green pinafore dress. And she was insistent I had given her away! Unfortunately, she wasn’t well, but she’d travelled all the way to Wales and started turning up at my mother and friends’ houses. Bizarre!”
7: Which two bands did you perform between when you played Reading Festival in 1988?
“Meat Loaf was one. (Laughs) I can’t remember the other one!”
CORRECT-ISH. HALF A POINT. You were between Meat Loaf and Gene Loves Jezebel.
“Oh I didn’t know that one! They were throwing bottles and all sorts. My band tried to run off the stage, but I don’t get frightened off so easily so I said: ‘Stay here boys, they’re bad shots!’ (Laughs) And after they broke Meat Loaf’s nose with a bottle, everyone was chanting ‘Bonnie come back!’ because he’d chickened out and walked off!”
8: On RuPaul’s Drag Race, which two queens lip-synched to ‘Holding Out For A Hero’?
WRONG. It was Aja and Kimora Blac.
“The gay clubs made that song a big hit for me because they played it all the time. It spent six weeks at number two in the charts. I did a show in New York in The Saint – which is a massive gay club – to thousands upon thousands of men.”
Ever seen any good Bonnie Tyler drag queens?
“Not really – I don’t really go to the kind of places where you’d see them! (Laughs) But I’m sure there’s some absolutely amazing ones out there – they’d have a lot to work with! (Laughs)”
9: Which Hollywood couple’s wedding did you sing ‘It’s A Heartache’ and ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ at?
“Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.”
“It was an incredible wedding but it was about 19 years ago. The only thing is, I never drink before I sing so I missed out on all the vintage champagne and wine all day because I was holding out for after I sang. I made up for it then! Oh, it was a star-studded affair – Goldie Hawn, Jack Nicholson and oh! Danny DeVito! You know, Spartacus is his father! [Kirk Douglas]. It was in The Plaza hotel in New York and was full of the beautiful smell of flowers everywhere.”
10: According to a list of 50 moderately amusing music jokes, why is a Bonnie Tyler satnav the worst Christmas present ever?
“‘Cos it keeps telling you to (Dramatic power ballad singing) TURN AROUUUUUUND! (Laughs)”
“(Singing) EVERY NOW AND THEN IT FALLS APARRRRRRRTTTTT!”
What’s your favourite joke?
“Two eggs in a saucepan and one says to the other: ‘Bloody hell, it’s hot in here!’. And he says: ‘Hey, you’re better off in here – when you get out, they smash your head in!’ (Laughs)”
The verdict: 5.5/10
“I feel terrible about that! (Laughs) Five out of ten?! I had more right than that!”
Bonnie Tyler’s new album, ‘Between The Earth And The Stars’, is released March 22 on earMUSIC.