Jul 2, 2009
Cyndi Lauper is one of my heroes. I saw her a few years ago and even though she was around 45 at the time, she had the energy of a teenager. Her style has changed over the years, but it is as unique as ever. If you get the chance to see Cyndi live, do it. She’s an amazing performer with an excellent voice.
That being said, I was excited to write about Cyndi for the Music Tidbits today. It’s in a new format that should make it a bit more fun and readable. Hope you like it!
She Keeps it Real
Or at least, her name is real. Unlike other pop stars, Cyndi Lauper was born in New York in 1953 and was named Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper.
Cyndi Does it All
Image Via danorbit. [Flickr]
While she’s best known for singing, she can also play guitar, write lyrics and act. She started writing songs and playing guitar at only twelve years old. She’s acted in quite a few movies and tv shows, including Mad About You, the Ron Howard movie Vibes and Life With Mikey beside Michael J. Fox. Her role in Mad About You almost turned into a spin off, but network executives thought the show concept was too out there.
She’s always Been So Original
When she was only a middle-schooler, she was already dyeing her hair crazy colors and wearing her weird clothing styles she’s known for. Speaking of her wardrobe, it actually became a problem during the1985 taping of “We Are the World,” when a weird clacking noise showed up on the tape. Audio engineers finally tracked the noise down to her jewelry bonking against itself.
Doctors Said She’d Never Sing Again…Then She Did
In 1977, Cyndi severely damaged her vocal cords. Three different doctors told her she would never sing again. But she didn’t give up and started seeing vocal coach Katir Agresta, who helped Cyndi recover by teaching her a series of vocal exercises.
She’s Got High Standards
In 1978, she started a music group, Blue Angel, with saxaphonist John Turi, where they performed original music. When labels started showing interest in Cyndi’s vocal abilities (she can sing in four octaves and has perfect pitch), they wanted to sign her as a solo artist. She refused to sign with any labels until Polydor Records opted to take on all of Blue Angel.
Photo Via t_a_i_s [Flickr]
When Cyndi signed as a solo artist with Portrait Records, the label wanted her to sing all only their pre-written pop songs. Cyndi changed most of these songs to suit her personality, which also let her claim co-writer credits and royalties later on. The most well-known song she did this to was “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which was originally written for a male singer. Cyndi thought the original lyrics were a little misogynistic, as it was all about a woman pleasing a man.
Although the label didn’t trust her writing abilities, the record producer decided they needed one more song on her first album and convinced the label to let her write a song. She co-wrote Time After Time with Rob Hyman. The song ended up being the biggest single of 1985 and has since been covered by over 100 artists. The title came from a 1979 sci-fi movie starring Malcolm McDowell.
Girls Just Want to Have Trivia
In the video for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Cyndi’s mother was played by her actual mother. Also in the video was Cyndi’s dog and pro-wrestler Lou Albano. Cyndi’s famous red dress in the video was from the boutique she was working at between being signed for Blue Angel and her solo career. The video won the first ever award for Best Female Video at the MTV Music Awards. The album it was on was so popular that she became the first female artist to have four consecutive Top 5 hits from a single album.
The World Wrestling Foundation Loved Cyndi
And vice versa. Aside from having Lou Albano appear in her first video, Cyndi had frequent interactions with the stars of the WWF. Her video for the Goonies included a number of wrestling greats, including Andre The Giant and when she recieved her first Grammy Award, Hulk Hogan appeared with her, pretending to be her bodyguard. She also made quite a few appearances at WWF events, the most famous event was at the Inaugural WrestleMania event. She appeared as the manager of Wendi Richter and entered the area to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
She Hates The Goonies
Or rather, the song she wrote for the album, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” It doesn’t have too much to do with the song itself, she was just traumatized by the physical exhaustion she suffered during the taping of the video. The director was too much of a perfectionist and ran the entire crew ragged. She left the song off of her best of album and only started singing it at concerts again back in 2003.
PeeWee’s Playhouse Lied To You
Cyndi wrote and performed the theme song for PeeWee’s Playhouse, but was credited as Ellen Shaw for some reason. When Cyndi was married, PeeWee (aka Paul Ruebens) was at her wedding, along with Little Richard, John Tuturo and other celebrities. Although Cyndi threatened to show up dressed as a Christmas tree, she wore a traditional white gown.
Cyndi Loves Guest Appearances
Throughout her recording career, Cyndi featured a number of guest stars on her albums, including Billy Joel, The Bangles, Rick Derringer, Bootsy Collins, Eric Clapton, Shaggy, Ani DiFranco, Jeff Beck, Paul Reubens (PeeWee Herman), Sarah McLachlan, The Hives and more. In her recent 2008 tour, she had appearances from Joan Jett, Rosie O’Donnell, The B52’s, Indigo Girls, Regina Spektor, Wanda Sykes, Sarah McLachlan and more. Lastly, although it may not count as a guest appearance, Julia Stiles, appeared as young Cyndi in the video for “Sally’s Pigeons” before she was a famous actress.
She’s Heterosexual, but Once Wished She Was Gay
Lauper is considered a gay icon, but she is heterosexual. Her sister and many of her close friends are gay and she has been performing at gay pride events since 1994. In fact, for a while, she thought herself to be a lesbian. She told The Times, “My sister was gay, my best friends were gay, so I figured I had to be gay. So I did everything they did. I tried kissing girls. But it didn’t feel right for me and eventually I was forced to come out as a heterosexual.”