If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)

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"If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)"
Single by Bonnie Tyler
from the album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
B-side "Under Suspicion"
Released May 1986
Format
Recorded 1986
Genre
Length 5:15
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Desmond Child
Producer(s) Jim Steinman
Bonnie Tyler singles chronology
"Loving You Is A Dirty Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It"
(1985)
"If You Were a Woman and I Was a Man"
(1986)
"Band of Gold"
(1986)

"If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" is a song recorded by Bonnie Tyler for her 1986 rock album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire. It was written by Desmond Child and produced by Jim Steinman. Child has since stated that the song was re-written as "You Give Love a Bad Name" for Bon Jovi after he was dissatisfied with "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)"'s chart success. Tyler re-recorded the song on her 2004 album Simply Believe.

The song was successful in Europe, reaching number 6 in France and sold over 200,000 copies. The song also reached number 77 on the US Hot 100, and has since been Tyler's last hit single in the country.

Background and composition[edit]

After the success of Faster Than the Speed of Night in 1983, Tyler went on to work with Jim Steinman on a second album. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" was released as the second single from Tyler's 1986 album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire after the international success of "Holding Out for a Hero", which was originally released in 1985 from the soundtrack to the film Footloose. Steinman recruited Desmond Child for two tracks (the other being "Lovers Again"). Steinman told Child that he wanted a song about androgyny. "I want a special song. The verses have to sound like Tina Turner, the B Section has to sound like The Police, U2, or Hall & Oates, and the chorus has to sound like Bruce Springsteen," he continued.[1]

After he had completed his work on Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire and the single had peaked, Child went to work with Bon Jovi a few months later. He co-wrote "You Give Love a Bad Name" with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and made the song a hit. "I was sore at the record company for not pushing that song ["If You Were A Woman (And I Was a Man)"], and I said, "I'm going to prove that that song's a hit!" So we wrote it again."[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire received generally positive reviews from music critics. People magazine described the album as "bombastic", and that "most of the time the bombast is kept within tolerable limits."[2] Allmusic complimented "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)", though described the whole album as a substandard to Faster Than the Speed of Night for lacking "a cranium-blasting "Faster Than the Speed of Night" or chart-busting "Total Eclipse of the Heart"."[3]

The song was described as a "typical Bonnie Tyler ballad" by Paul Speelman of The Age. He said that the song has "a good, solid arrangement."[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon its release, "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" debuted at number 42 in France, rising to number 6 two months later. It was certified Silver by the SNEP with sales of over 200,000 copies in France.[5]

Elsewhere in continental Europe, "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" was a hit in Switzerland and Germany, where it peaked at number 16 and 32 respectively. The song failed to significantly impact the UK charts, however, spending three weeks in the chart, peaking at number 78. Across the Atlantic, the song peaked at number 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 99 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart.

Music video[edit]

In conjunction with the single release, Tyler recorded a music video for "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)". Two versions of the video were published. The original version opens with a monologue spoken by a woman depicting Bonnie Tyler at an old age,[6] and the second version omits this opening.[7]

Synopsis[edit]

In the longer version, the opens with no music, just an elderly woman (representing an old Bonnie Tyler) describing her work as a singer at a club (known as "The Dive") that she owned in war time England. As the music begins, the female stage manager at the club runs into Tyler's dressing room, telling her that "the show" is about to start. The video then cuts to a woman in a red gown escorting the viewer round the club, presenting the colours-only room, and the room of black and white. In the black and white room, Tyler begins singing as she descends from a platform onto the stage. The video occasionally cuts to scenes outside as the bombs begin to strike the streets outside. As women surround a pit of mud which contains four men fighting, another man crosses the club on a zip wire, landing on a raised platform. He turns to see Tyler and a crowd of women raising Venus symnbols at him, which transform him into a woman. The woman then blows a kiss to Tyler before leaving the club.

The shorter version cuts out the opening monologue and begins with the woman in red welcoming the viewer to The Dive.

Live performances[edit]

"If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" was performed live in Zaragosa, Spain, in 2005. The performance was recorded and released on Tyler's album Bonnie Tyler Live (2007) and the accompanying DVD Bonnie on Tour (2007).

Track listing and formats[edit]

7" single[8]
  1. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" — 4:00
  2. "Under Suspicion" — 4:20
12" maxi[9]
  1. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" (extended version) — 4:46
  2. "Straight from the Heart" — 3:38
  3. "Under Suspicion" — 4:20

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France Silver 1986 200,000[5] 271,000[5]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 78
France (SNEP)[11] 6
Germany (Media Control Charts)[12] 32
Australia (ARIA)[13] 77
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 77
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[15] 20
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 16
Canada RPM Top Singles (RPM)[17] 99

Re-recordings[edit]

As well as making regular appearances on compilation albums, Tyler has re-recorded the song multiple times. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" featured on her 2004 album Simply Believe and on her 2005 EP Bonnie Tyler.[18][19] In conjunction with the release of Wings in 2005, Tyler performed in Saragosa, Spain, and the concert was filmed for her DVD Bonnie on Tour and CD Bonnie Tyler Live, which include the song on the track list.[20]

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by Robin Beck for her 1989 album Trouble Or Nothin', produced by Child and his longtime collaborator Sir Arthur Payson.[21] The album also features other songs written by Child originally recorded by Tyler, including "Hide Your Heart" and "Save Up All Your Tears".

RuPaul recorded the song for her album Foxy Lady (1996). The album received a negative review from AllMusic, opining that the album was "an attempt to expand RuPaul's pop culture phenomenon status into a genuine career," but that it lacked any catchy songs.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Curtis Child (15 August 2013). "Desmond Child Special". YouTube. Google Inc. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Hiltbrand, David; Shaughnessy, Mary; Small, Michael; Novak, Ralph; Levin, Eric (2 June 1986). "Picks and Pans Review: Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". People Magazine. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Stone, Doug. "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams & Forbidden Fire – Album Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Speelman, Paul (19 June 1986). "Janis Ian: her idea of slashing time". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Bonnie Tyler's certifications and sales See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les certifications depuis 1973" => "TYLER Bonnie" Infodisc.fr . Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  6. ^ "If You Were a Woman (and I Was a Man) [Version C] by Bonnie Tyler". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) [Version D] by Bonnie Tyler". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  8. ^ If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) (7-inch single). Bonnie Tyler. CBS Records[disambiguation needed]. 1986. B00400WJM8. 
  9. ^ If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) (12-inch single). Bonnie Tyler. CBS Records[disambiguation needed]. 1986. B006M0FI5O. 
  10. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  11. ^ "Lescharts.com – Bonnie Tyler – If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Bonnie Tyler – If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Bonnie Tyler Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Bonnie Tyler. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Bonnie Tyler – If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  17. ^ "RPM 100 Singles". RPM. 10 May 1986. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Simply believe by Bonnie Tyler". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Bonnie Tyler by Bonnie Tyler". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Bonnie Tyler Live by Bonnie Tyler". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "Robin Beck – Trouble or Nothin'". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "RuPaul – Foxy Lady – Album Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 September 2014.