WITH her trademark husky vocals, big hair and soft rock singles, singer Bonnie Tyler was synonymous with the 1980s.
Now, the 61-year-old is to be thrust back into the limelight as the face, and voice, of the UK at this year’s Eurovision song contest.
The veteran, whose hits include Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding Out for a Hero, will perform a song called Believe In Me at the event in Malmo, Sweden, in May.
The song was written by Desmond Child, who has worked with Tyler throughout her career, and has penned hits for rock bands Kiss and Bon Jovi.
Tyler will be looking for a better result than fellow veteran Englebert Humperdink, who represented the UK last year. Hopes had been high when the 76-year-old opened the show in Baku, Azerbaijan, with ballad Love Will Set You Free. But his performance appeared to have been forgotten by the time voting started, 25 songs later, and he finished with just 12 points, second last above Norway.
Tyler was upbeat about her selection: “I am truly honoured and delighted to be able to represent my country at Eurovision and especially with such a fabulous song. I promise to give this everything that I’ve got for the UK.”
The competition on 18 May will be broadcast live on BBC1 with commentary by Graham Norton and on Radio 2, with commentary from Ken Bruce.
Katie Taylor, BBC controller of entertainment and events, added: “Bonnie Tyler is truly a global superstar with a fantastic voice, and we are delighted she will be flying the flag for the UK in Malmo.”
Tyler’s selection as the UK entry represents a late peak in a career that was almost over before it started.
In 1976, she had surgery to remove nodules from her vocal cords – a condition suffered by Rod Stewart, Freddy Mercury and Whitney Houston. But later that year Tyler scored her first hit with her second single, Lost In France. The singer, who was born in South Wales, credits the operation with helping develop her trademark husky vocals.
Peter Robinson, editor of online music website Pop Justice, said that he was sceptical about Tyler’s suitability as a Eurovision contestant, adding that he also felt the song was wrong for the singer: “This isn’t what you even want for Bonnie Tyler. You want a Holding Out for a Hero song, that sort of thing.”
The reception was mixed on social media sites yesterday.
On Twitter, Miss D wrote: “I like Bonnie Tyler but I don’t think this is a good idea”. Lee Harper Tweeted: “Already heard Eurovision entry three times today and its still rubbish. Nil points yet again this year.”
However, Andy Thompson tweeted: “Good Lord, are we starting to take Eurovision seriously? Bonnie Tyler could be well worth dusting off the flags for”. Louise Frederick shared that enthusiasm, tweeting: “ I love Bonnie Tyler’s UK Eurovision entry. Our best entry in years.”