For my latest album I very carefully selected the songs for it with Jim Steinman, my producer, who wrote three of them, starting with one called 'Ravishing', which he wanted to use as the album title. But I thought it would be a bit hard to live up to so I changed it to 'Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire.' We threw out loads of songs that we were given. We sifted through about a hundred or so (for the first album we sifted through about four or five hundred).
The first track that I recorded was 'No Way To Treat A Lady' by Bryan Adams. I did one song of his on the last album called 'Straight From the Heart', so we asked him if he had any songs for this album. He gave this one to me and came along to the studio to have a listen and told me he loved the way we'd done it. I'm a big fan of Bryan Adams myself, you know. I think he's got a tremendous voice. Love the duet he did with Tina Turner. I wouldn't mind doing a duet with him, but there we are. It's been done now, with the best: Tina Turner. I heard through the grapevine that he'd also given the song to Bonnie Raitt. So he did write it for Bonnie, but which Bonnie we don't know. Well, I've got it on my album, I don't think she's done it.
I've been planning this album since I finished the promotion work on 'Faster Than The Speed Of Night.' I'd been getting songs together for about a year and I asked Jim if he could produce the album. By that time he was committed with another band, so rather than get someone else in I waited for Jim. I like working with Jim, he brings out the best in me and of course, there are his songs. If somebody else produced the album I'm not going to get his songs. He wrote all the songs for "Bat Out Of Hell' by Meat Loaf and he's worked very closely with Todd Rundgren who produced that album. By the way, 'Bat Out Of Hell' has been in the British album charts now for five years. All the songs on it are brilliant and I just thought that if he produced me (he'd never produced anyone else before I'd asked him), then, hopefully, he'd write me songs like those. He did, and the first single that I released off the old album was called 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart.' It was No. 1 for three weeks in America and England and No. 1 all over the world, and I became the first female British artiste to go straight into the album charts at No. 1 on the day of release.
We do a cover version of the old Freda Payne song 'Band Of Gold,' but it sounds nothing like the original. We've got a load of synthesisers on it, and a drum machine - even though we used Bruce Springsteen's drummer Max Weinburg on all the tracks, a drum machine seemed to work better on 'Band Of Gold.' Freda Payne had a No. 1 with it years ago, so let's hope I'm as lucky with it.
We went over to New York with all the different songs, booked a rehearsal hall for three weeks and rehearsed a lot more songs than we chose, just to see which ones worked best. We used the same studios we recorded 'Faster Than The Speed Of Night' in: the Power Station, and I worked with Roy Bittan and Max Weinburg of the E Street Band, Larry Fast on synthesisers. We used Rick Derringer on the last album and we used him a little bit on this one, but we also used three other guitarists as well. Eddie Martinez in particular, did a brilliant guitar solo on 'Rebel Without a Clue.' Oh, it's just ...you know, it's like ecstasy, you can imagine making love to it, it's incredible. There's a lot of overdubbing on the guitar, but it's absolutely tremendous. Do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to be really naughty to myself and do a bit of home taping. I'm going to put that solo, not the whole song, just the solo, on the complete side of the tape, and I'm going to keep playing it and playing it, I love it so much. There's not only the guitar on that track that's tremendous, in the instrumental break that's there, Roy Bittan does some fabulous keyboards.
The backing vocals were done with Todd Rundgren. He arranged all the backing vocals and sang them with two other boys. Todd is a great songwriter and singer and Jim wrote the song 'Loving You Is A Dirty Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It' as a duet. So, being as Todd was already working on the album doing the backing vocals, we asked him if he'd do the duet, which he did. Even though that was the first single released off the album, it didn't make it in this country, but I know for a fact that it will sell, it will be a hit. It's one of those occasions where eighteen months will pass after the release and suddenly it's a hit. It's got to be a hit, it's too gorgeous not to be, he's got a beautiful voice and the song is gorgeous. I'll eat my hat if it's not a hit here - in two years!
The song has a typical Jim Steinman lyric. It's really about two people who love each other so much that it's a kind of: 'can't live with you, but can't live without you' sort of thing. In the end it's so intense: they love each other so much and yet they fight.
VIDEO BY POPE
My manager David Aspden and I were wondering about ideas for the video for this track. We got four different video companies interested in it and they sent four storyboards over to us. I didn't like any of them really. Tim Pope's was the best, but I still wasn't all that fussy on it, so Tim rang up and asked to meet me to talk about it. He's a hell of a nice guy and he really took the time and trouble to work it all out. He'd made sketches of each shot as it was going to be, what he had in his mind, what would be happening. He was really going through the motions and his story suddenly came to life. Up until that point I'd never enjoyed making videos at all. I didn't enjoy them one bit. I used to wish that videos had never been invented because, until then, I just thought it was such hard work making videos. When I worked with Tim he changed all that for me because he was so helpful, in every way. He'd go through it, he'd do it, and I could see what he wanted. Then I'd do it and I felt much more comfortable doing something after seeing somebody else do it first, rather than trying to make something up for myself. I'm not an actress, I'm a singer.
So I really enjoyed working on it. The only problem about the video, if anything, was that Todd wasn't available to be on it cause he was on tour in America and he couldn't get out of any of his dates. So rather than have somebody in silhouette, as three of the companies had suggested, Tim suggested having a well-known actor. Then everyone would know it wasn't Todd. So we picked on Hywell Bennett and he was tremendous. You'd swear he was singing it, he's really good. It's a hit in other countries but, as I said, not in this one.
Desmond Child wrote 'Love Is A Game'. He also wrote the track 'If You Were A Woman And I Was A Man.' I love these two songs. I'm only sorry that all of a sudden he's gone to live in one of those Buddhist places. Anyway, I hope he's not going to forget writing songs. 'Love Is A Game' is a slow ballad and it's very romantic. It's about a couple who have split up or whatever and all of a sudden she sees his picture in the paper with someone else, but she's absolutely convinced that someday they're going to be lovers again. It's a matter of time till he sees that she is the one that's there waiting for him. The other Desmond Child song 'If You Were A Woman And I Was A Man' is no. 16 in the alternative charts at the moment. The alternative charts being the clubs, you know, mostly gay clubs and things. It's doing well there, but when I heard it, that's not how I thought of it. When I first heard the song, to me it meant: if you were a woman and I was a man things might be a bit different around here now and then, you know, that sort of thing. Not that I want to be a man or something like that, cause I'm quite happy being a woman, to be honest.
'Holding Out For A Hero' happened when Paramount Studios phoned my manager and asked it I'd be interested in doing a song for the film 'Footloose'. I said: yes, I would do it if Jim could produce it. They said fair enough, but he'd have to work with Dean Pitchford. He co-wrote the song and Jim produced it. Before we did it we went into the Paramount studio and had a sneak preview of the part where the song was going to be. A city boy's father died so the mother wanted to move into the country where she had some family. He met this girl and, of course, she was already going out with a country boy. So the song happens where they are having a competition. Whoever could stay on a moving tractor longest would win the girl. The two tractors and coming along this narrow ledge and they're going hell for leather towards each other. The city boy can't get off his tractor because his shoe is caught, but the country boy doesn't know that and ends up jumping off and abandoning his tractor. So the city boy won. There's a lot of tension there, so that's what the song was about. It was released as a single of the 'Footloose' album. There were four hit records off that album, none of which were mine. So we forgot about it. Then eighteen months later they began to play my song as the theme to the American Football programme every Sunday. Then, every Thursday people were also hearing it on another American TV soap called 'Cover Up.' Because they were hearing the song twice a week they were going into the shops and asking where they could buy it, so the record label had to re-release it because of the big demand. It became no. 2 for three weeks and the only thing that kept it off no. 1 was the fact that Mick Jagger and David Bowie were no. 1 with 'Dancing In The Street.'
'Before This Night Is Through' is a track which is not on the album, but it's included on the cassette and CD. This was the song that Tina Turner was going to do but at the last minute she didn't do it, so I had it offered to me them. She kept a hold on it, she was going to do it but in the end she didn't. Another track on the cassette and CD is 'Under Suspicion.' They could only manage to get eight songs on the album because Jim's songs are so long, you know. They're about six or seven minutes each. They have to be edited down to about half their length when they're released as singles. I wrote 'Under Suspicion' with Peter Oxendale and Paul Hopkins. It's got some really good riffs on it. It's about: I've got my eyes on you, don't go pulling the wool over my eyes, I know what's going on! Peter, who plays keyboards with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, came up with the title and the basic idea of the music. We worked from the title them, because it says a lot and you find lyrics for that pretty easy then.
'Ravishing' was a tremendous song to do. It's real powerful song, like 'Rebel Without A Clue.' In America, wrestling is very popular there and there are a lot of Rock fans following wrestling at the moment. One of the biggest names in wrestling over there is called Hulk Hogan. He had a listen to 'Ravishing' and loved it so much he wanted it to be his theme song, which used to be 'Eye O The Tiger.' It's a really powerful song, so every time he goes into the arena to the roar of the crowd, it's fantastic. This mountain of a man, he's really golden brown, this guy, he's got long blond hair and he's about seven foot. He's huge and he strides through the crowd with my song in the background. It's great, love it.
He came to the studio as he wanted a slightly different version. We didn't want to go straight into the lyrics for what they play when he's in the arena. He wanted some chants at the beginning of it, so all through the intro we were in the studio chanting 'Hulk! Hulk! Hulk!' on the beat. Jim's lyrics in it are tremendous. 'The wind is like a finger tracing patterns on your chest...it's so ravishing.' You can just imagine it, the wind blowing through his hairy chest.
I'm pleased they've used a full face on the sleeve. When I buy albums, especially if it's a woman, I think you want to see the eyes. I always think that it's very important to see a person's face close up. There should be some contact there. Like Tina Turner, for instance. When I'm listening to her album you know, I look at her album cover and see her there. I want to see the singer, I'm not interested in seeing anything else and I tend to hope that's the way other people think. Obviously, CBS have their own art department and they are left to decide. You give them an idea of what you'd like. They come up with the ideas and you leave it to the people who know what they're doing. It's experience more than anything. I've been very lucky. 'Faster Than The Speed of Night' had full face and this album is a full face.
I do all the promotion. I'm bloody hard-working, I am. I do everything, but I don't mind doing it, see. I mean, I really think I'm lucky to be doing something I really enjoy doing anyway. To turn around and say you're not even going to work (which isn't work cause you enjoy it), you're cutting off you nose to spite your face. I don't think: I've done my bit now, let everybody else do theirs. You're not saving anyone's life, like, you're only singing for a living.
I do all the TV's. I find it very important to do TV cause you get across to more people than doing gigs -- even though that's my No.1 priority now. My tour, which has been delayed, unfortunately, was supposed to be starting on May 23rd, but it's been delayed because 'If You Were A Woman And I Was A Man', the single at the moment, hasn't taken off yet. It's too late to run into summertime because people are on holiday in the summer, so I'm going to wait till after summer to do a tour.