I'm gonna be strong, I'm gonna be fine...
Bonnie Tyler-Don't Turn Around The first cover
Aswad-Don't Turn Around The first version to be a hit
Neil Diamond-Don't Turn Around Cover in the same vein of the original
Ace To Base-Don't Turn Around Includes the iconic spoken bit "I Will Survive..without you"
Owen Grey-Don't Turn Around South London star Owen pays tribute to Aswad/Ace to Base with this spikey cover
Ace To Base-Don't Turn Around(Groove Extended Mix) Poptastic extended mix by the Swedish 4.
Its amazing to think that Don't Turn Around was originally a brilliant power ballad written by Diane Warren when considering the famous versions of the songs are miles apart from its original form. Originally recorded for Tina Turner the record company left it as a b-side for her single Typical Male in 1986. Despite a Bonnie Tyler cover in 1988(seeing an ironic pattern here?) the song was gaining dust amongst the flurry of bigger and better power ballads that has now pretty much shaped the 1980s. Ironic you say...why? Well, Bonnie Tyler covered Don't Turn Around on the LP Notes From America which contained Tylers original version of Simply The Best. I can imagine Turner hearin' about Tylers cover of Don't Turn Around, popping down to her local HMV in Zurich, buying the LP, finding Simply The Best and immediately ringing up those at Parlophone demanding a recording session of that song asap.
However in that year it wasnt Tylers version that brought the song to the attention of many in the UK. It was Aswads lite-reggae mix of Don't Turn Around that has now become the definitive version of the song. Indeed, when a Swedish band(we'll come to them later) covered the song many presumed they'd covered Aswad and not Tina Turner.
As you can hear in this tiny little snippet with Ace of Bace they themselves seem to think it was originally by Aswad. Of course it had already been released in the U.S. By Bonnie Tyler and Tina Turner! In fact, the song had already been a single in the US when the rnb act Luther Ingram released it who takes the prize as the first act in the world to have the aforethought to consider the song worthy as a single. Turner left the song as a b-side while Tyler gave it album-track status.
But hey, thats the magic of PopEatsPop...it works in funny ways.
Aswad launched their career with the song and even to this day its still played on radio stations like Magic. It was a hit in most countries and again realises the brilliance of Bonnie Tyler to spot a good track and record it but is alas let down by surrounding circumstances. With Aswads version of Don't Turn Around dominating the charts and radio, Tylers recording was dropped as a possible single in favour of releasing Simply The Best which sadly bombed but would later be released with massive success by the original singer of Don't Turn Around, Tina Turner. But you guys knew that right...
Moreover if u happened to catch the previous post you'd see Bonnie Tylers 1988 album Notes From America contained three songs that would later become monster hits for other acts in the late 1980's. Of course theres Turner with The Best, Don't Turn Around for Aswad/Ace of Base and Cher with Save Up All Your Tears. It also included Bonnie's stunning version of the Bee Gees 60's hit To Love Somebody; a version that would be copied and later made into a hit by Michael Bolton. All of which means Tyler could be one the most unluckiest singers of all time. That album can claim to be the iconic album that just wasnt meant to be for it included so many future hits. Imagine if, say Rachel Stevens, had released an album in 2000 with original versions of Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Toxic, Sound of The Underground and Leave Right Now and you get the drift. Bonnie's LP contained 4 songs that would later be huge hit singles for other acts and if it wasnt for her record company - CBS - messing it up, Notes From America might have just become one of the biggest albums of the 1980's. It is because of this I think Bonnie, sadly, deserves to win the tragic title of Queen of PopEatsPop as theres no act in the history of pop whose been so close to having a hit but yet so far.
So now to Ace To Base who used the Aswad template of the song rather than the Turner/Tyler power ballad framework. Their version added something quite dark and sinister but very '1994' to the release. I'd also say they had the most success with the song as it recieved Gold Status from the American RIAA. This means its sold over 500,000 units in the US alone. Its world chart positions overshadow that of Aswads with the Ace to Base single landing at no.4 in the US, no.5 in the UK, no.1 in Canada and no.2 in Sweden. Thus quite huge. As the last single from their The Signs/Happy Nation LP it secured platinum status around the globe for the album which, er, sold, er a massive 25 million!
So today we have the original Turner version, the Bonnie Tyler version, the Aswad cover, the famous Ace To Base poptastic hit, the Neil Diamond cover and a brillian version by Owen Grey who smothers it with Culture Club spices. I love the fact that a song by an American hit writer Diane Warren with its thick slabs of power ballad cheese has evolved into a reggae anthem with cultural references firmly based in the context of black South London. And from the Brixton/Electric Avenue over to Stockholm and the rest of the world. Talk about bridges and multi-multiculturism...and all in the name of pop!