If Cyndi Lauper had only had one great musical moment in time, her song Girls Just Want to Have Fun would be enough. Its an evergreen hit that both embodies the 1980s and remains fresh and relevant.
I was hoping it would make people happy, says Lauper, 60, three decades after the song became a hit. I was glad to be a part of a song that was about entitlement for women.
They kept saying, Make it an anthem. Make it an anthem! And then I thought, Well, lets make it about a song about entitlement – that you are entitled to have a joyful life, no matter where youre from, no matter what color you are, no matter whatever-looking you are, youre allowed to be delightful and alive. Its a call to the wild side of everyone.
Currently on tour celebrating the release of her breakthrough album Shes So Unusual, Lauper has had plenty of time to think about the legacy of that album and its biggest song, although it also contained She Bop and Time After Time.
Its obvious from Laupers first sentence that her Betty Boop-like voice is natural and not a put-on. While it seemed at the time that Lauper had come out of nowhere, the Queens, N.Y.-raised singer had been working for a long time, and Shes So Unusual was not an immediate success.
She says she was encouraged to commit acts of outrageousness, and thus Lauper became a wrestling manager and feuded with wrestler/manager Lou Albano and used Hulk Hogan for a bodyguard. It was called the Rock N Wrestling Connection and it was perfect for the fledgling MTV. When it was time to create a video for Girls Just Want to Have Fun, wrestling buddy Albano played Laupers father and the girls were a multicultural mix.
I wanted to make sure when we were making a video that every little girl could see herself, not just white girls, not just black girls, but as many different types of people I could fit in. Im grateful for the women who were in videos for me, because they represented for those little girls watching that any little girl could feel joyful.
Lauper says shes trying to perform that album and sound exactly what the record sounded like, which is a first for her, but she really enjoys how happy it makes people. She says the encores each night change, although she always ends with True Colors.
In between, though, it could be anything. You want it still to be a live show. I dont like setlists! I dont like when people expect something, because then you know theyre not gonna change it. I dont want everything predictable.
Lauper says Rob Hyman (who co-wrote Time After Time with Lauper) performed with her on stage recently.
To sing Time After Time with him, the sound of his voice, I just kind of went back to that time, you know?
After the 1980s, some of Laupers best work took an underground route to success.
Laupers 2001 album Shine was recorded for an independent label that folded just as the album was supposed to be released. The full album only found release in Japan. The title cut, however, found its way to listeners everywhere.
Everywhere I go, people know Shine! That was the first time I realized the power of the Internet and the power of the people.
Lauper also works as an actress and, more recently, became a successful Broadway composer with the hit musical Kinky Boots.
Well, surround and conquer, babe! she says.