Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Long time readers will know that in addition to posting rare videos, ERV also likes to highlight covers, particularly ones that fit in the category of "songs that you didn't know were covers."  That is how a totally non-rare song, such as "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"  (or "Bette Davis Eyes" or "I Love Rock 'n' Roll") can show up on the blog.

So try this one on for size:  Cyndi Lauper's breakout hit is a cover.  "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was originally written and recorded by Philadelphia local hero Robert Hazard and the Heroes in 1979.  When Lauper was putting together her first album, 1983's She's So Unusual, the record label provided her with a bunch of material.  At that time, the label (Portrait / Epic) was interested in Lauper for her voice, but did not have confidence in her songwriting, so they relied on other material (this perception changed after the success of the Lauper co-written hit, "Time After Time").

To her credit, Lauper re-worked the lyrics to suit her, and changed the style of "Girls," making it much more upbeat.  And, undoubtedly some of the success was due to the video, which went on to win the 1984 MTV VMA for Best Female Video.

The song, of course, became a smash, peaking at #2 on the charts -- the first of 4 consecutive top 5 hits from She's So Unusual.  That album, in turn, peaked at #4 and sold 6 million units in the U.S. (16 million worldwide), launching Lauper's career.

Robert Hazard, on the other hand, never had that hit, and is another in a long list of artists who wrote strong material but never found commercial success.  For readers who are so inclined, Mr. Hazard's "Escalator of Life" is also up on the blog (click on the link to see it).  I will also point out that the original version of "Girls" is very good, in your author's opinion.

The famous Cyndi Lauper Version:

And the Robert Hazard version:

Cool trivia fact:  Rolling Stone ranked She's So Unusual as the 75th greatest album of the 1980's.

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