Back in 2017, Cherry Red's Cherry Pop imprint compiled Bonnie Tyler's Remixes and Rarities, a 2-CD collection drawing on the singer's Columbia/CBS, Epic, RCA, and Hansa recordings originally released between 1979 and 1994. Now, Cherry Pop is picking up the Bonnie Tyler story with a new 3-CD set. The EastWest Years 1995-1998 brings together her two albums for the Warner imprint plus a disc of single versions, edits, and remixes.
By the time she joined East West, the distinctively raspy-voiced Tyler was already a music veteran. Born Gaynor Hopkins, Bonnie Tyler was actually her second stage name after Sherene Davis. She scored her first big hit with "Lost in France" on the RCA label in 1976. Two years later, "It's a Heartache" established Tyler in America, but she moved beyond her blue-eyed soul sound when she signed to Columbia Records. After seeing a performance by Meat Loaf on television, she asked to meet the songwriter behind Meat's solo debut Bat Out of Hell, Jim Steinman. That meeting proved fruitful, and Steinman went on to produce two albums for Tyler. The first, 1983's Faster Than the Speed of Night, contained Tyler's signature song "Total Eclipse of the Heart." In 1984, Tyler recorded another of her biggest hits with Steinman: the urgent "Holding Out for a Hero," co-written with Dean Pitchford for the soundtrack of Footloose. Desmond Child (Bon Jovi, Cher) helmed Bonnie's third Columbia long-player, and in 1991, she moved to Germany's Hansa label to concentrate on Europop. She recorded three albums for Hansa (all of which went platinum in one or more European countries) with Dieter Bohlen among the producers. She then decamped for EastWest's European office, with the albums arriving on Atlantic in America.
1995's Free Spirit continued the trend of having multiple producers on one album including ELO's Jeff Lynne ("Time Mends a Broken Heart," a Lynne/Kiki Dee co-write with Lynne's familiar guitar and drum sound of the era), David Foster (a cover of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), Stuart Emerson ("Driving Me Wild," "Sexual Device," and more) and Humberto Gatica and Simon Frangien ("You're the One," "Nothing to Do with Love"). But it was most notable for reuniting Tyler with Jim Steinman who supplied new productions with Steven Rinkoff for two of his most famous songs: Meat Loaf's 1977 hit ballad "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and Air Supply's 1983 smash "Making Love (Out of Nothing at All)." Ironically, the latter stalled at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, kept from the top spot by (you guessed it) Bonnie's "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Bonnie made both Steinman songs her own, her voice well-suited to Steinman's explosive brand of power balladry. But both also got major makeovers. For "Making Love," the songwriter-producer amended the lyrics of one verse and turned up the song's inherent operatic quality by musically quoting a Puccini aria as sung by Tyler's mother. On "Two Out of Three," Steinman and Tyler transformed the dramatic slow-burner into a throbbing disco track, likely inspired by Nicki French's then-current hit dance revival of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Though Free Spirit didn't match the success of the Hansa LPs, it charted in Austria, Norway, and Switzerland, and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" became Tyler's first hit single in the U.K. since "Holding Out for a Hero."
Bonnie followed it up with the eclectic All in One Voice in 1998. This time, the producers were Jimmy Smyth, Harold Faltermeyer and Gernot Rothenbach, Mike Batt, and Graham Laybourne. It was an eclectic LP, with Faltermeyer and Rothenbach's "He's the King" a tie-in to the German television program Der König von St. Pauli on which Tyler performed it. Elsewhere on the LP, she covered Chip Taylor ("Angel in the Morning," a hit for both Merilee Rush and Juice Newton), Screamin' Jay Hawkins' (a Batt production of "I Put a Spell on You" which also appeared on the producer's LP Philharmania), Amanda McBroom (the Bette Midler chart-topper "The Rose"), and even "Silent Night." To capitalize on her popularity in Germany, she performed "Silent Night" for television there. Guitarist Smyth brought a Celtic influence to his tracks, adding an organic feel that complemented Tyler's voice. But despite its adventurous sound, All in One Voice failed to attract an audience; it remains the only album of Tyler's career to date to not chart anywhere in the world.
The two EastWest albums are joined on the third CD by fourteen bonus singles including multiple versions of "Making Love (Out of Nothing at All)," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," non-LP single "Limelight" (the Alan Parsons/Eric Woolfson song), and "He's the King," as well as one remix of "Heaven." These collectively represent most, but not all, of Tyler's single remixes and edits from this period. Unfortunately, discographical annotation is missing.
Everything is packaged in an eight-panel digipak, and fans will be happy to see that the two proper albums have added protection in the form of inner sleeves adapting the original album artwork for each title. The bonus disc is housed in a pouch. The 16-page booklet contains Malcolm Dome's new liner notes with quotes from Tyler, Stuart Emerson, Jimmy Smyth, and All in One Voice songwriter Per Andreasson. Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham have remastered.
Bonnie Tyler's The EastWest Years 1995-1998 is out now from Cherry Pop. You'll find the track listing and order links below!
CD 1: Free Spirit (EastWest 0630-12108-2, 1995)
- Nothing to Do with Love
- You're the One
- Making Love (Out of Nothing at All)
- Given It All
- What You got
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- Time Mends a Broken Heart
- Driving Me Wild
- Sexual Device
- Make It Right Tonight
- All Night to Know You
- Forget Her
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
- Sexual Device (The Vari Mix)
CD 2: All in One Voice (EastWest 3984-25658-2, 1998)
- Like an Ocean
- Soon Will Be Too Late
- You Always Saw the Blue Skies
- We Can Start Here
- Angel of the Morning
- The Reason Why
- Return to Blue
- You're Breaking My Heart Again
- I Put a Spell on You
- I'll Never Let You Down
- The Rose
- He's the King
- Silent Night
CD 3: Singles and Bonus Tracks (1995-1998)
- Making Love (Out of Nothing at All) (Radio Version) (EastWest single 0630-12044-2, 1995)
- Making Love (Out of Nothing at All) (Long Version) (EastWest single 0630-12044-2, 1995)
- Making Love (Out of Nothing at All) (Shnauzer Plus) (EastWest cassette single EW010C, 1995)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Radio Version) (EastWest single 0630-14746-2, 1995)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Kobe Edit) (EastWest single 0630-14746-2, 1995)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Ralphi's Soft Dub) (Atlantic single 0-85502, 1996)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Ralphi's Cha-Cha Dub) (Atlantic single 0-85502, 1996)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Ralphi's Extended Vox) (Atlantic single 0-85502, 1996)
- Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (Ralphi's Tribal Beats) (Atlantic single 0-85502, 1996)
- Limelight (Radio Version) (EastWest single 0630-15241-2, 1996)
- Limelight (Overture Mix) (EastWest single 0630-15241-2, 1996)
- He's the King (Radio Version) (EastWest single 3984-21823-2, 1997)
- He's the King (Acoustic Mix) (EastWest single 3954-21823-2, 1997)
- Heaven (Chamber Mix) (EastWest single 3984-22837-2, 1998)