Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire

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Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
Studio album by Bonnie Tyler
Released 3 May 1986
Recorded 1984–1986
Genre Rock, Wagnerian rock, pop rock, new wave
Length 59:09
Label Columbia
Producer Jim Steinman, Roy Bittan, John Jansen, Larry Fast, John Rollo
Bonnie Tyler chronology
Faster Than the Speed of Night
(1983)
Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
(1986)
Hide Your Heart / Notes from America
(1988)
Singles from Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
  1. "Holding Out for a Hero"
    Released: 13 April 1984
  2. "Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It"
    Released: 1985
  3. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)"
    Released: May 1986
  4. "Band of Gold"
    Released: 1986
  5. "No Way to Treat a Lady"
    Released: 1986
  6. "Rebel Without a Clue"
    Released: October 1986
  7. "Lovers Again"
    Released: 1986

Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire is the sixth studio album by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler. It was released on 3 May 1986, by Columbia Records, as the follow-up to her fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night (1983). Three years in the making, the album was produced by Jim Steinman, who also produced Tyler's previous album. Seven singles were released from the album, with "Holding Out for a Hero" originally being released two years ahead of the album on the Footloose soundtrack. The album features collaborations with songwriters guest artists including Desmond Child and Todd Rundgren.

Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire received generally negative reviews, with music critics criticizing the length of the tracks and Steinman's production. The album was a commercial success, reaching number one on the Norwegian Album Charts.

Background and release[edit]

Tyler and Steinman had already seen international success with Faster Than the Speed of Night (1983) and its highest charting single "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Steinman wrote four new songs for Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, two of which were released as singles. The first song to be released was "Holding Out for a Hero", released in 1984 for the Footloose soundtrack. The other, "Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It", was released as a collaborative single with Todd Rundgren in 1986.

Steinman recruited a number of other songwriters for the album, including Desmond Child. 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] Child used the verbal guide to write "If You Were a Woman (and I Was a Man). He also wrote "Lovers Again".

"Ravishing" was originally written by Steinman as an instrumental track on The Wrestling Album (1985), titled "Hulk Hogan's Theme". Tyler also recorded "Under Suspicion" during the album's recording. It was written by herself, her brother Paul Hopkins, and Peter Oxendale. The song was used as the B-side to "Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It".

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[2]
Deseret News 3.5/5 stars[3]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[4]

Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire received generally negative reviews from music critics, with much of the criticism being aimed at Jim Steinman. Steven Wine criticized the length of the tracks, stating that "only Bonnie Tyler's parents would want to listen to her sing the same song for six minutes, but three of the eight tunes on [the album] exceed that span." He went on to describe the album as a "bombastic bore," only crediting one of Steinman's penned songs, "Ravishing".[5] Tom Ford of Toledo Blade stated that "although Tyler proves able to do some interesting things, she is outdistanced by the tiresome ponderousness of the material," concluding that "the prissy, self-indulgence here is just too much to stand."[6] Paul Speelman of The Age opined that Tyler and Steinman were "deeply entrenched in a rut", and found the music to be excessive. "There are banks of synthesizers, layers of percussion, dramatic electronic gimmickry and huge production: no wonder poor old Bonnie had to yell to be heard above that lot," he said, praising Tyler's voice. "The fact that she manages to salvage at least a few tracks attests to her vocal fortitude." He argued that the album was a case of over-indulgence, noting the eight minute and thirty-five second length of "Rebel Without a Clue".[7]

The album did receive some positive reviews. Jerry Spangler of Deseret News described the album as "a fine collection of tunes with good musical variety and a lot of energy."[3] Doug Stone of AllMusic stated that the album "depicts a cool portrait of '80s pomposity," but argued that with the album lacking songs like "Faster Than the Speed of Night" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from her previous album, Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire becomes substandard to Faster Than the Speed of Night.[2]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Holding Out for a Hero", was originally released two years ahead of the album for the Footloose soundtrack (1984). Initially, the song charted highest in Austria, Canada, Germany and Sweden, peaking at No. 19 in each country, and only No. 96 in the United Kingdom. The song was re-released in 1985 and charted at No. 1 in Ireland, and No. 2 in the United Kingdom, where it was certified Silver by the BPI, with sales of over 250,000 units.[8]

"Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It", a duet with Todd Rundgren, was released as the second single in 1986. The song did not repeat the success of "Holding Out for a Hero" or Tyler's Grammy-nominated previous single "Here She Comes" (1985), but made the Top 40 in Switzerland, France and Belgium.

"If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" was released as the third single from Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire. The song was most successful in France, where it peaked at No. 6 and was certified Silver by the SNEP, with sales of over 200,000 units.[9]

"Band of Gold" was released as the fourth single from the album, and the final charting single, reaching No. 81 in the United Kingdom.

The last three single releases, "No Way to Treat a Lady", "Rebel Without a Clue" and "Lovers Again" failed to chart worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Ravishing"   Jim Steinman 6:24
2. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)"   Desmond Child 5:15
3. "Loving You's a Dirty Job but Somebody's Gotta Do It" (with Todd Rundgren) Steinman 7:47
4. "No Way to Treat a Lady"   5:17
5. "Band of Gold"  
5:49
6. "Rebel Without a Clue"   Steinman 8:35
7. "Lovers Again"   Child 4:32
8. "Before This Night Is Through"  
  • Beppe Cantarelli
  • Adrienne Anderson
5:21
9. "Holding Out for a Hero"   Steinman 5:48
Total length:
59:09

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[10] 23
US Billboard 200[11] 106
Canada RPM Top Albums (RPM)[12] 94
French Albums (SNEP)[13] 15
German Albums (Official Top 100)[14] 24
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[15] 45
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[16] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[17] 6
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[18] 3
UK Albums (OCC)[19] 24

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic:[20]

Technical and production

References[edit]

  1. ^ Curtis Child (15 August 2013). "Desmond Child Special". YouTube. Google Inc. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Stone, Doug. "Bonnie Tyler Secret Dreams & Forbidden Fire review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b Spangler, Jerry (25 April 1986). "Pop records: a mixed bag of hits and misses". Deseret News (Deseret News Publishing Company). Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Dickson, Dave (29 May 1986). "Bonnie Tyler 'Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire'". Kerrang! 121. London, UK: United Magazines ltd. p. 18. 
  5. ^ Wine, Steven (28 May 1986). "Records In Review". Syracuse Herald-Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Ford, Tom (12 June 1986). "Recordings – Reviews by Blade Staff Writers". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Speelman, Paul (19 June 1986). "Janis Ian: her idea of slashing time". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "British album certifications – Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 August 2014. Enter Holding Out for a Hero in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  9. ^ Bonnie Tyler's certifications and sales See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les certifications depuis 1973" => "TYLER Bonnie" Infodisc.fr . Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  10. ^ "Bonnie Tyler - Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Bonnie Tyler Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Bonnie Tyler. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  12. ^ "RPM 100 Albums". RPM. 3 May 1986. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Bonnie Tyler | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Bonnie Tyler – Secret Dreams & Forbidden Fire Album Personnel". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 24 August 2014.