Cyndi Lauper Biography

Cynthia Anne Stephanie Lauper, 22 June 1953, Queens, New York City, New York, USA. Starting her career as a singer in Manhattan’s clubs, Lauper began writing her own material when she met pianist John Turi in 1977. They formed Blue Angel and released a self-titled album in 1980 which included raucous versions of rock classics as well as their own numbers. She split with Turi and in 1983 began working on what was to become her multi-million-selling solo debut, She’s So Unusual. It made number 4 in the USA and provided four hit singles - the exuberant ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ (US/UK number 2), which became a cult anthem for independent young women despite being originally written by male songwriter Robert Hazard (Lauper changed the gender perspective from male to female); ‘Time After Time’ (US number 1/UK number 3, later covered by Miles Davis on You’re Under Arrest and by the jazz duo Tuck And Patti), ‘She Bop’ (US number 3, which broached the unusual subject of female masturbation) and ‘All Through The Night’ (US number 4, written by Jules Shear). The album also featured Prince’s ‘When You Were Mine’. At the end of 1984 Billboard magazine placed Lauper first in the Top Female Album Artists and she was awarded a Grammy as Best New Artist. Her image was one that adapted, for the American market, something of a colourful ‘punk’ image that would not offend parents too much but at the same time retain a sense of humour and rebelliousness that would appeal the youth. Pundits in the UK claimed to have seen through this straight away, yet they acknowledged Lauper’s talent nonetheless. True Colors did not have the same commercial edge as its predecessor, yet the title track still provided her with an US number 1 and a Top 20 hit in the UK. The follow-up, ‘Change Of Heart’ (written by Essra Mohawk and featuring the Bangles), reached US number 3 in November 1986. In 1988, Lauper took a role as a beautician in the poorly received film, Vibes. She made a brief return to the charts in 1990 with the US/UK Top 10 single ‘I Drove All Night’ from A Night To Remember. Another lacklustre film appearance in Off And Running was not seen in the UK until two years later.

Seen in some quarters as little more than a visual and vocal oddity, Lauper has nevertheless written several magnificent pop tunes (‘Time After Time’ is destined to become a classic) and, in 1985, boosted her credibility as a singer when she performed a stirring duet with Patti LaBelle at LaBelle’s show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Lauper was joined by her former writing partners Ron Hyman and Eric Bazilian for Hat Full Of Stars, a successful mix of soul, pop and hip-hop with a smattering of ethnic sounds. A reworked version of her biggest hit, retitled ‘Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)’, reached number 4 in the UK charts in September 1994. The singer gave birth to a baby boy on 19 November 1997. The following year she recorded the seasonal album Merry Christmas … Have A Nice Life. A lengthy hiatus ensued before the release of the covers collection At Last in 2003.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.