Quick Quiz: People familiar with pop culture from the 70’s and 80’s have almost certainly heard a song or two by Gaynor Hopkins. Have you?
If your mind went to a version of Anthony Hopkins singing “I Will Survive” or a photo of Gloria Gaynor wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask, I apologize for the imagery.
Perhaps Gaynor Hopkins’ stage name will ring a bell. Bonnie Tyler – the Welsh-born, smoky-voiced singer of such classics as “It’s a Heartache” (1978) and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983 – as if you couldn’t tell it was MTV’s early years by the baffling music video).
In 1975, music producer Roger Bell discovered her and made her change her name. She
chose Bonnie Tyler. It was a good choice, but it wasn’t the only time that Tyler benefited from good luck.
In 1977, she was diagnosed with vocal cord nodules and had them surgically removed. She wasn’t supposed to talk for 6 weeks, but one day she screamed out in frustration before the 6-week period was over, and this gave her voice a permanently raspy quality. She thought her singing career was over, but it turned out that her new voice was a hit. Her next single, “It’s a Heartache” made her a worldwide star, and propelled her career to the point where she’s known as the smoky-voiced chanteuse Bonnie Tyler and the name Gaynor Hopkins hardly rings a bell.
Here is perhaps her finest work, which led to dozens of “literal video” spoofs that you can search for on your own time.