Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper Thornton, dite Cyndi Lauper, est une chanteuse américaine née le 22 juin 1953 à Brooklyn, New York.
Cyndi grandit à New York, dans les quartiers de Brooklyn, élevée à partir de l’âge de cinq ans par sa mère divorcée. Celle-ci plaça Cyndi, ainsi qu’Ellen et Fred, sa sœur et son frère, dans un pensionnat alors qu’elle connaissait de graves problèmes financiers.
Dès l’âge de douze ans, elle commence à écrire des chansons et à jouer de la guitare. Dans le même temps, elle prend goût à porter toutes sortes de vêtements extravagants qui feront d’elle une fille déjà populaire à l’adolescence. Très vite, elle se consacrera de plus en plus en la musique, montrant un désintérêt pour l’école.
Dans les années 1970, elle chante dans de nombreux groupes new-yorkais. Il s’agit en fait surtout de reprises, dont par exemple la chanson You Make Lovin’ Fun, chantée à l’origine par Fleetwood Mac. Mais, en 1977, elle s’endommage les cordes vocales, l’empêche de chanter pendant près de deux ans.
En 1979, après un coaching intensif sous la direction de Guy Hauray, Cyndi retrouve sa puissance vocale et monte le groupe Blue Angel avec le musicien John Turi. De cette collaboration naîtra un album, sobrement intitulé Blue Angel. Cet album contient notamment I’m Gonna Be Strong, dont elle fait une interprétation surprenante, ainsi que la première version de Maybe He’ll Know. Malheureusement, cet album, au son résolument années 70, est un échec commercial : le groupe s’endette et doit inévitablement se disloquer. C’est alors qu’elle commence à chanter dans des clubs et restaurants new-yorkais.
Sa carrière débute vraiment en 1983, lorsqu’elle obtient un contrat avec Portrait Records. She’s So Unusual,le premier album solo de Cyndi, sort en fin d’année et connaît un grand succès : près de cinq millions de disques vendus aux États-Unis. Aux côtés du populaire Girls Just Want To Have Fun, acidulé et sautillant, se trouvent Time After Time, repris ensuite par Miles Davis et Eva Cassidy, She Bop, qui passe pour une sorte d’apologie de la masturbation, et All Through The Night. Cet album, accueilli de façon mitigée par la critique lors de sa sortie, sera pourtant acclamé beaucoup plus tard.
Cyndi Lauper marquera l’image de la chaîne MTV aux États-Unis (Music Television). Elle fut la première femme à profiter de la force du vidéoclip et elle y sera en forte rotation de 1983 à 1985. Cyndi est la première femme dans l’histoire du rock à avoir placé 4 chansons d’un même album au Top 5 du Billboard 100 aux États-Unis ( Time After Time #1, Girls Just Want To Have Fun #2, She Bop #3 et All Through The Night #5 ).
Le succès acquis, Cyndi passe la majeure partie des années 1984 et 1985 en tournée mondiale. En 1985, elle interprète la bande originale du film Les Goonies, de Richard Donner (The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough). Jusqu’à cette période, Cyndi conservera une image de fille exubérante et décalée.
C’est cette image qu’elle cherchera à effacer avec la sortie de l’album True Colors en 1986, qui est, une fois encore, un succès. Le titre phare, True Colors, deviendra plus tard un hymne de la communauté gaie et lesbienne, et sera repris par Phil Collins puis remixé par le DJ Junior Vasquez. D’autres titres, tels que Change Of Heart et What’s Going On (reprise de Marvin Gaye) seront également des hits. Cet album représente également une étape dans la carrière de Cyndi, puisqu’elle co-écrit une grande partie des textes et qu’elle y révèle sa sensibilité (Boy Blue, Calm Inside The Storm).
Après être apparue dans le film Vibes et avoir interprété Hole In My Heart… All The Way To China, Cyndi revient en 1989 avec son album A Night to Remember, aux sonorités plus rock. Six singles en seront tirés, mais connaîtront un succès moindre, à l’exception de I Drove All Night, repris en 2003 par Céline Dion.
S’ensuit alors une période plus calme pour la chanteuse, qui décide de se retirer quelque temps de la musique. En 1990, elle rencontre David Thornton pendant le tournage du film Off And Running, dans lequel elle interprète le rôle d’une actrice de second plan. Elle l’épousera l’année suivante à New York. Dans le même temps, elle interprète The World Is Stone, pour la comédie musicale Tycoon, version anglophone de Starmania.
En 1990 également, elle participe au concert gigantesque The Wall Live In Berlin, organisé par Roger Waters, ancien membre de Pink Floyd et auteur du concept-album The Wall entièrement rejoué ce soir-là devant 300 000 personnes au lendemain de la chute du Mur. Elle y interprète un des plus célèbres titres de Pink Floyd, Another Brick In The Wall Part.II.
1980 : Blue Angel
1983 : She’s So Unusual (#4 US, #16 UK)
1986 : True Colors (#4 US, #13 France, #25 UK)
1989 : A Night to Remember (#9 UK, #15 France, #37 US)
1989 : The Best Remixes
1993 : Hat Full Of Stars (#9 France, #112 US)
1994 : Twelve Deadly Cyns… And Then Some (#2 UK, #6 France, #81 US)
1996 : Sisters Of Avalon (#188 US)
1998 : Merry Christmas… Have A Nice Life
2003 : At Last (#38 US, #85 France)
2004 : Shine
2006 : The Body Acoustic (#112 US, #190 France)
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Cynthia Ann Stephanie « Cyndi » Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American Grammy Award-winning singer and Emmy Award-winning film, television and theatre actress. She became a household name in the mid-eighties with the release of the album, « She’s So Unusual » and became the first artist in history to have five top ten singles released from one album. Cyndi has released 11 albums, over 40 singles, and has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. She continues to tour the world in support of human rights.
Early life and pre-fame
Arguably the biggest star of the early MTV Era, Lauper was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in a rough area of Queens. Her parents are Fred Lauper and Catrine Dominique. Her father was of German and Swiss descent and her mother was Italian American (Sicilian, precisely). She has a sister (Elen) and a brother (Frank/Butch).
At the age of five, Cyndi’s parents divorced, and her mother took the three children and moved them to, « Ozone Park » which was at that time a poor neighborhood in Queens, New York. Cyndi had gone to a Catholic school but was kicked out after they found out her parents were no longer together. Cyndi was sent to another Catholic school in upstate New York that was more of a convent. Cyndi claims that the new school was very abusive. She says that she was scratching the back of another girl one night, and a Nun physically attacked her and called her a, « lesbian. » Cyndi left the convent after six months, returning to a local public school near her home.
Cyndi’s mother had remarried and divorced again, and went to work as a waitress trying to support three children. It was during this time that Cyndi saw how women can be suppressed, and how things aren’t always equal in this world. Cyndi knew this was a situation she wanted to get out of, and she found hope through music. She began listening to artists like Judy Garland, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Beatles to name a few. Her mother always wanted her to be independent, even though Cyndi always felt like an outcast.
At the age of 12, Cyndi learned how to play a guitar that she had inherited from her sister. Cyndi started to write her own lyrics during this time. Cyndi had a great love of art and music, and tried to find ways to express herself. Even at the early age of 12, Cyndi started dying her hair different colors, and wearing clothes that most people would find unusual.
Cyndi was accepted in a special public high school for students with talent in the visual arts, but she was held back, and eventually dropped out and earned her GED sometime later. At the age of seventeen she left home planning to study art. Her journey would take her to Canada, where she spent two weeks in the woods with her dog, « Sparkle » trying to find herself. She eventually wound up in Vermont where she wound up taking art classes near Stowe. She supported herself by working various odd jobs. Feeling homesick, she eventually returned to Ozone Park.
In the mid-seventies Lauper performed as a vocalist with various cover bands (such as « Doc West » and « Flyer » who still perform under the names « Gap Wilson Band » and « Red,White and Blues ») in the New York metropolitan area, singing hits by bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company. Even though Cyndi was now performing onstage, she wasn’t happy singing, cover songs.
In 1977, Cyndi damaged her vocal cords, and took a year off. She was told by three doctors that she would never sing again. Cyndi’s friends told her to see a vocal coach, which led her to (Katie Agresta), who helped Cyndi regain her voice by teaching her proper vocal exercises.
In 1978, after Lauper regained her voice, she met a saxophone player by the name of John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. John and Cyndi became writing partners and formed a band called, « Blue Angel. » They decided to put everything they had into making an album of original material.
A few demos were recorded and the tape found it’s way over to Roger Massarky, who was managing, « The Allman Brothers Band. » Massarky said the tape was horrible, but he was attracted to Cyndi’s voice. Massarky eventually started managing the band after buying their contract out. Many people wanted to sign Cyndi, as a solo artist, but this was something Cyndi didn’t want to do. Polydor Records eventually signed them as a band.
In 1980, they released a self-titled album on Polydor Records. The album charted #38 in Austria with the single I’m Gonna Be Strong. In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine included it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers. Cyndi hated the cover often saying they made her look like, « Big Bird. »
Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly (or « went lead, » as Lauper says), and the band broke up. Polydor Records had a regime change, and the label wouldn’t let the band back into the studio unless they had a hit. The members of, « Blue Angel » had a falling out with Massarky and he filed an $80,000 suit against them. This forced Cyndi into bankruptcy.
Lauper started working in retail stores such as at the New York high-end thrift store « Screaming Mimi’s » to make ends meet, but continued to sing cover songs.
Although New York City music critics who saw her perform with Blue Angel thought Lauper had star potential—-she had a wide singing range (4 octave), perfect pitch, and a vocal style all her own—-she still had not achieved stardom. Cyndi was also older than most women singing at the time. She was in her late twenties and had yet achieved the success she had dreamed about. When asked about her age, Cyndi usually got defensive saying, « What am I a car? »
Then in 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who had given her a ride home that night, and saved her the hassle of taking pubic transportaion. The two fell in love, and eventually moved in together.
David took over as her manager and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. David had been working with a band called, « Arc Angel. » He introduced Cyndi to CBS executive Lennie-Petze, who in-turn introduced them to producer Rick Chertoff.
She’s So Unusual
On October 14, 1983, She’s So Unusual was released, and became a worldwide hit. With the help of Rick Chertoff, Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) as her primary studio musicians, « She’s So Unusual »‘s popularity spread like wildfire. At the time, Lauper became very popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image.
Cyndi knew she could write songs, but the record company had a lot of material they wanted her to record. A lot of the songs that were thrown her way, she altered, often changing the lyrics to suit her.
The song. « Girls Just Wanna Have Fun » was written by Robert Hazard, a Philadelphia singer/songwriter who had a band called Robert Hazard and the Heroes. Hazard recorded his demo of the song in 1979. Cyndi says the original lyrics of the song dealt more with a girl pleasing a man, therefore she changed the lyrics, wanting the song to be more of an anthem.
Other hits from the album included the ballad (co-written by Hyman) « Time After Time. » Cyndi wrote, « Time After Time » when producer, Rick Chertoff, suggested to the band that the album could use one more song. The record label didn’t have much faith in Cyndi as a songwriter, but they gave her the chance to prove herself.
« She Bop », was a song about masturbation. Cyndi claimed in a 1993 interview with Howard Stern that she recorded the vocals naked.
« All Through the Night », was written by Jules Shear, who also wrote The Bangles hit « If She Knew What She Wants. »
The album also includes a cover of The Brains’ New Wave track, « Money Changes Everything ». She’s So Unusual also included « When You Were Mine, » a cover of Prince’s song that was later released as a promotional single in 1985.
Cyndi spent 1984 touring and promoting She’s So Unusual. By the end of the year, she was the first female to have four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top-five hits from one album, that stayed in the Top 40 charts for more than 65 weeks and sold 16 million copies worldwide.
Cyndi came up with the title for, « Time After Time » while reading TV Guide. « Time After Time » was the name of a 1979 science fiction movie starring Malcolm McDowell as a man who invents a time machine. She has also stated that the apartment that she shared with David had a very loud alarm clock, and that’s where the lyrics, « the clock ticks and I think of you » come from.
The original title of She’s So Unusual was She’s So Wonderfull.
Lauper started 1985 by participating on USA for Africa’s famine-relief fund-raising single, « We Are the World. » Recording came to a halt due to Cyndi’s loud jewelry.
The video for, « Girls Just Wanna Have Fun » made Cyndi an MTV staple. The video ran constantly on MTV, and featured wrestler Captain Lou Albano as Lauper’s father. It won the first ever award for Best Female Video at the 1984 Video Music Awards. The video featured many of Cyndi’s family members and dog, « Sparkle. »
Cyndi appeared on the cover of, « Rolling Stone Magazine » in May of 1984. The photo on the cover had been reversed to make room for the title.
The video for, « Money Changes Everything » was shot during a concert at the, « Summit » in Houston, Texas. The concert was broadcast over the radio and fans were told to show up wearing white t-shirts.
At the beginning of the video for, « Time After Time », Lauper is watching the 1936 film Garden of Allah.
She also appeared on the cover of « Time Magazine » and « Newsweek » with the headline, « Women In Rock ». Cyndi was voted by « Women Magazine » as one of it’s women of the year.
During the She Bop video shoot, Cyndi meticulously dabbed tint in the hair of some 20 dancing extras, color coordinated from eye shadow to outfits.
Cyndi’s mother has the stagename, « Catrine Dominique. »
Cyndi always claims that David was a major fan of wrestling and it was his idea to get her involved with the WWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation). The WWF television show had a massive audience, and David thought that he could sell more albums if she appeared on the show. The idea worked, but Cyndi’s image as a songwriter and artist would be tarnished. David setup a cross-promotion deal with the WWF. The wrestlers would be promoted through her videos and special appearances, and Cyndi would be featured on the WWF program.
In 1985, Cyndi won a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category. At the event, she appeared with WWF Superstar Hulk Hogan, who played her « bodyguard. » In return, she made many appearances as herself in a number of WWF’s « Rock and Wrestling » events, where she was supposedly the manager of Wendi Richter. Their entrance music was « Girls Just Want to Have Fun. »
Cyndi and David had a long drawn out storylines involving WWF wrestler, « Rowdy Roddy Piper. » Cyndi appeared on, « Piper’s Pit » which was Rowdy Piper’s segment on the WWF show. The story involved Captain Lou Albano, who came out during Cyndi’s segment claiming that he had given Cyndi her start, and that he was the one that discovered her. Cyndi became outraged, flipping over a table, and hitting the Captain over the head with her purse.
On December 28th, 1984 at Madison Square Garden, an award was being presented to Captain Lou Albano by Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff. Rowdy Roddy Piper turned on Lauper and started attacking her music. Roddy climbed into the ring, slammed the award over Captain Lou’s head, and during the confusion, Roddy kicked Cyndi, knocking her back about two feet. Roddy then picked up David Wolff slamming him down in the ring. Hulk Hogan came to Cyndi’s resuce but Piper ran away.
The event made for good television, and Roddy’s story is conflicting as to whether or not the kick was intentional ot staged. On his most recent DVD, « Born To Controversy », Piper claims he was asked to kick her. In 2007, during an interview at a GI-Joe convention in Atlanta, Piper claims it wasn’t intentional (You Tube).
A small riot insued, and Piper became the sworn enemy of, « Hulk Hogan. » He and Hogan wound up in a match that took place a few weeks later called, « The War to Settle the Score. » Celebrities like Dee Snider and Little Richard filmed segments for the WWF taking about, « Cyndi » and, « Roddy Piper. »
In February of 1985, « The War to Settle the Score » was aired live on MTV. The event would feature Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Piper. Paul Orndorff jumped into the ring to help Piper attack Hogan. Cyndi was standing near the ring screaming at them, when they decided to come after her. Mr. T, who was sitting in the front row, came to her rescue. Paul Orndorff and Piper ganged up on Mr. T while Hogan was down, but when Hogan came to, Piper and Orndoff ran out of the ring. This was the event that started, « Wrestlemania. »
The WWF wrestlers recorded an album in 1985 with David Wolff. Lauper contributed to « The Wrestling Album », under the pseudonym « Mona Flambé » as guest backing vocals. She later described the period as fun, but it became an increasing distraction to her musical ambitions. The album also led to a collaboration with, « Rick Derringer. » Rick wrote, « I Am a Real American » which featured Cyndi on backing vocals. Rick and Cyndi would write, « Calm Inside The Storm » for her, « True Colors » album.
Steven Spielberg had asked Cyndi to be the musical director of his latest film, « The Goonies » a children’s film about lost treasure. Cyndi had the power to choose who she wanted on the soundtrack, so she tried to make the album very diverse. The Bangles were just one of the bands that contributed to the soundtrack. Cyndi thought the band was very raw and fresh.
Cyndi worked so hard on the soundtrack that she wound up in the hospital. Cyndi states in a 1986 interview that she had been working 12 hour days and had gynaecological problems. Cyndi had a minor operation and spent some time in the hospital. Her doctors told her that she needed some rest.
Cyndi scored another hit with the single, « The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough », which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for the film The Goonies. The video featured many guests including WWF Wrestlers such as The Iron Sheik, Captain Lou Albano, Roddy Piper, André the Giant, « Classy » Freddie Blassie, The Fabulous Moolah & Nikolai Volkoff, the Goonies cast as well as the Bangles. The video was split up into two acts, making Cyndi the very first artist to have a two-part video. Steven even allowed her access to the set pieces from the film.
Cyndi stopped performing « The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough », in concert around 1987. It was at a show in Baltimore on Cyndi’s 2006 tour that she finally played it again. The crowd was chanting, « Goonies » and she sang the song, « acapella » to an estatic crowd. She finally agreed to play the song again on her, « True Colors » tour in 2007.
During the video commentary for, « The Goonies » actor, « Sean Astin » can be heard thanking Cyndi for the song. He says that they all appeared tired on the set of the video, due to the rigorous shooting schedule, but they really did love the song. Sean apologizes to Cyndi again in footage that can bee seen in the upcoming, « Goonies Documentary. »
Cyndi also wrote the song, « What a Thrill » for the soundtrack.
Lauper released her second album True Colors on September 15, 1986. It reached number four on the Billboard 200. For this album, she increased her involvement both in production and songwriting. Guests on the album included Nile Rodgers, Aimee Mann, Billy Joel,The Bangles, Eric Clapton, Bootsy Collins and Rick Derringer. Cyndi co-wrote most of the album with Christina Amphlett of the DiVinyls, Desmond Child, Diane Warren, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly.
Although the album was not as commercially successful as its predecessor, it contained three high-charting singles, including the title track (which become her second platinum number-one hit), « Change of Heart » (#3) and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s « What’s Going On » (#12).
Cyndi can also be heard singing the theme song for the series « Pee-wee’s Playhouse » the same year, though she was credited as « Ellen Shaw. » The theme song is sped up making Cyndi’s voice sound a bit distorted. Playhouse star Paul Reubens appeared on the True Colors album track, « 911 » as an emergency operator. The album sold nearly 12 million copies.
The album also featured an older song called, « Maybe He’ll Know » which was on Cyndi’s Blue Angel album.
The 4th single from the album Boy Blue became cyndi’s first non top 40 song. The proceeds of for the song were donated to the AIDS-research.
True Colors was licensed to Kodak for use in their commercials. Cyndi had no control over the song which was written by, « Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. »
In 1986, Cyndi appeared on the, « Billy Joel » album, « The Bridge » on a song called, « Code of Silence. »
In 1987 David Wolff produced a concert film for Cyndi called, « Cyndi: Live in Paris. » The concert was broadcast on HBO that same year.
Cyndi made her film debut in August of 1988 in the quirky comedy Vibes, alongside Jeff Goldblum, Julian Sands, Rosie Pena and Peter Falk. Cyndi played a psychic in search of a city of gold in South America. The film was produced by Ron Howard and David Wolff acted as the film’s associate producer.
To prepare for the role, Lauper took a few classes in finger waving and hair setting at the Robert Fiance School of Beauty in New York and studied with a few Manhattan psychics. The film was poorly received by critics and commercially flopped. Cyndi contributed a track called, « Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China) » but the song was not included on the soundtrack. A video was released, which was meant to be a high energy, hysterically funny action/adventure romp through a Chinese laundry. The song hit #54 on the US charts.
Cyndi was often compared to, « Madonna » during this period, who had also starred in a movie called, « Shanghi Surprise » which had also failed miserably at the boxofice.
Comedian Dan Akroyd was slated to star in, « Vibes » instead of Jeff Goldblum.
A Night to Remember
A Night to Remember, her third album, was released on May 23, 1989. Though critically well-received, it was not as big a commercial success as her previous albums. The album spawned only one big hit, « I Drove All Night », originally penned for Roy Orbison, although his version was not released until 1992, three years after Lauper’s version and four years after his death. She also wrote and produced most of the album.
On July 21st, 1990, Lauper joined many other guests for Roger Waters’ massive performance of The Wall in Berlin, performing « Another Brick in the Wall, Part II ». Cyndi wore a school girl outfit performing to over 300,000 people. The concert was watched live by over five million people worldwide.
Cyndi had become close friends with Yoko Ono. In 1990 she took part in a John Lennon tribute concert in Liverpool, England performing the Beatles song, « Hey Bulldog » and the John Lennon song, « Working Class Hero. » The concert was aired on the, « Disney Channel. » Cyndi also took part in The Peace Choir that performed a version of John Lennon’s « Give Peace a Chance » later that same year. The reworked, « Give Peace a Chance » was written by Sean Lennon.
At the beginning of 1988, Lauper traveled to the former Soviet Union as part of a project to collaborate with Russian songwriters. Her trip resulted in the song « Cold Sky »,a duet with Russian superstar Igor Nikolaev, which appeared on the album Music Speaks Louder Than Words. Cyndi says she was unhappy about the way the album was mixed.
The song, « Hole in My Heart » was released on the Japanese edition of, « A Night to Remember. »
In 1990, Cyndi co-wrote the song, « Paper Heart » (a song about drug addiction) with Go-Go’s alumna Jane Weidlin. The song appeared on Jane’s CD Tangled.
Lauper received an honorary diploma from Richmond High School, Queens, in 1988.
The video for « My First Night Without You, » released in 1989, and was one of the first to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
Love and Marriage
In 1991, Cyndi broke up with long time manager and boyrfriend, « David Wolff. » Pictures were published in a tabloid magazine that showed Cyndi dancing with what appeared to be a male stripper on the dancefloor of a cruiseship. People in the crowd said that David was upset, and grabbed Cyndi telling her that she was embarassing him. Cyndi told him that, « She didn’t belong to him anymore. »
Cyndi worked on movie called, « Moon Over Miami » which later became, Off and Running with David Keith, Richard Belzer and David Thornton, whom she started seeing. Cyndi claims that Miami was a great place to fall in love. The film was released in Europe but never made it off the ground in the US market. (David Wolff was the music supervisor for the film.)
Cyndi was married on Christmas Day at the 205-year-old Friends Meeting House at 15th St. and Rutherford Place on Stuyvesant Square in Manhattan, New York. Cyndi, who was 38 married actor David Thornton. Little Richard, who at one time gave up rock ‘n roll to become a minister – and still is one, performed the ceremony. Patti LaBelle sang « A Whiter Shade of Pale, » and Cyndi’s grandma served as the maid of honor.(Patti and Cyndi remain good friends, and Patti eventually became her son’s Godmother). Other guests included Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) and « Barton Fink » star John Turturro. Cyndi had threatened to dress like a lighted Christmas tree, but settled on a traditional white wedding dress.
In 1992, Lauper contributed two tracks to the European film « Tycoon ». She scored another Top 20 hit in Europe (it went to #2 in France, earning a 2x platinum certification there) with « The World Is Stone », penned by Tim Rice, Michel Berger, and Luc Plamandon. It was quoted that Tim Rice and Luc Plamandon would only work on the song if Cyndi would record it. Neither the film nor the songs were released in the U.S., though the two tracks did see the light of day stateside with the quiet release of a compilation in 2000.
In 1992, Cyndi recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra through the magic of studio editing. « Santa Claus is Coming to Town » was released on the Very Special Christmas II album. Sinatra’s vocals had been taken from his original recording, and were mixed with Cyndi’s vocals in the studio.
Hat Full of Stars
In May of 1993, Cyndi released her critically acclaimed fourth album Hat Full of Stars. With a smooth new R&B sound, world music instrumentation, and production by Junior Vasquez, she tackled such topics as spousal abuse, racism and abortion. Despite the critical significant accolades, sales were poor (just 4 million copies worldwide), largely because the album suffered from a severe lack of promotion.
Tommy Mottola, president of CBS Records (married to Mariah Carey), told Cyndi to go out and make her own, « Graceland » (Referring to Paul Simon’s offbeat critically acclaimed album). Cyndi wanted to write her own material and stop doing cover songs. She decided to write a few songs on the album with other people including, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ailee Willis, and the Hooters.
Cyndi appeared on the Howard Stern Show in 1993 to promote the album. Cyndi claims that she was molested as a child, and raped as a young adult. She also claimed to have recorded, « She Bop » in the nude.
Cyndi says the song, « A Hat Full of Stars » was written as a message to David Wolff.
The video for, « Who Let in the Rain » features a chalk drawing of David Wolff on the sidewalk.
Cyndi recorded Boys will be Boys with The Hooters, and another duet called, »Private Emotion. » (The Hooters dedicated this song to Cyndi).
Both songs appeared on the Hooter’s CD, « Out of Body. »
Cyndi returned to acting in 1993, playing Michael J. Fox’s ditzy secretary in 1993’s Life with Mikey, which also starred Nathan Lane.
12 Deadly Cyns
Twelve Deadly Cyns…and Then Some, was released worldwide in 1994 (except in the U.S., where it was held back until the summer of 1995). The album was a greatest hits compilation that included two re-recorded tracks, « I’m Gonna be Strong », first recorded with her band Blue Angel, and a reworking of her first big hit, newly christened « Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun). »
The album was released under a number of different titles, and had different packaging and track listings for certain countries. Twelve Deadly Cyns sold over 6 million copies worldwide and Cyndi began a world tour to promote the album. Twelve Deadly Cyns was especially popular in the UK, reaching number two on the music charts, while the new « (Hey Now) Girls Just Want to Have Fun » hit number four. The song includes special appearances by Snow and Patra. Due to the success of the album, Cyndi’s next studio album was delayed.
The album outsold Michael Jackson’s, « His-Story. »
« The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough », was not included on the CD or the VHS video that followed.
Cyndi won a Emmy Award for her role as Marianne on the sitcom Mad About You. The network setup a production deal for a sitcom featuring Cyndi, but the show she proposed seemed too radical for the times.
A 12 Deadly Cyns VHS tape was eventually relased. A DVD was released in 2000.
Sisters of Avalon
In 1997 Lauper announced that she was expecting a child. Declyn Wallace Thornton Lauper was born on November 17th of that year, he was named after Elvis Costello, whose first name is Declyn. He was born while Cyndi was putting the finishing touches on her new album.
Her fifth album, Sisters of Avalon (released in Japan in 1996 and everywhere else in 1997) brought her moderate success, but only sold 1 million copies worldwide. The album was quickly embraced by the gay community for its dance and club stylings. The topical themes of the album also contributed to its « pink » appeal. The album was written and produced with the help of Jan Pulsford (Cyndi’s keyboard player) and Producer Mark Saunders. Guest musicians include, « Bush » lead guitarist Nigel Pulsford on You Don’t Know and Love To Hate. The album was written and recorded in Tennessee and Connecticut and finished in an old mansion in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., where she lived and worked at that time.
The song, »Ballad of Cleo and Joe » addressed the complications of a drag queen’s double life. Cyndi started writing the song around 1994. « Brimstone and Fire » painted a portrait of a lesbian relationship, and « You Don’t Know » showed Lauper flexing more political muscle than on her previous albums. The song, « Say a Prayer » was written for a friend of hers that had died from aids. The song, « Searchin » was used in one of Baywatch’s episodes. Unhook The Stars was made into a movie of the same name starring Marisa Tomei, Gerard Depardieu, Gena Rowlands and David Thorntorn.
Cyndi’s sister Ellen had, « come out » and Cyndi considered her to be a role model. Ellen was doing a lot of charity work for the gay community, and was working out of a clinic, helping people who were suffering from AIDS.
Lauper began performing as a featured artist at gay pride events around the world. She also served as the opening act for Tina Turner’s summer tour, which was one of the highest grossing tours that year.
Lauper churned out her last album for Epic in late 1998. « Merry Christmas, Have A Nice Life, » as the title implies, was a Christmas collection of original material and standards. It is a combination of folk-rock, cajun and celtic music. Her version of, « Silent Night » was used in a, « Pamper’s » commercial.
Rob Hyman co-wrote the album opener, « Home On Christmas Day, » and provides accordion and organ accompaniment on a number of tracks. Producer William Wittman, who has been behind a mixing board for Cyndi since her debut album, « She’s So Unusual », wass once again in a co-producing and mixing role. Most significantly perhaps, Cyndi is ably assisted by more-soulmate-than-bandmate Jan Pulsford, the keyboardist who tours with Cyndi and co-produced her last disc, Sisters Of Avalon.
The Christmas album was recorded at Cyndi’s home in Connecticut. Cyndi vocalized in a cedar closet that not only had great acoustics but apparently had enough of a Riverdance vibe that Cyndi was inspired to do some clog-dancing there, the sound of which can be heard on a not-quite traditional take of « Three Ships. » She also stepped outside her back door to get the right vocal sound for « First Lullaby. » What she and Jan ultimately captured was the sound of home, the best place to spend, or at least remember, the holidays.
Declyn, was the major inspiration on Merry Christmas, « December Child » was written for him. Declyn makes his vocal debut on « First Lullaby »: Jan tickled him, grabbed the mike, and the results are now on tape. His proud mother notes that his wails were all in pitch, not surprising given his lineage.
Cyndi reprises two holiday-themed tracks for previous albums that blend seamlessly with the newer material: « Feels Like Christmas, » a Cajun-spiced tune from Hat Full Of Stars and « Early Christmas Morning » from Sisters of Avalon. She closes the album with a stark rendition of « Silent Night » in memory of the later Peter Wood, the close friend and musician to whom Cyndi dedicated her hits compilation, Seven Deadly Cyns…And Then Some. Wood, who Cyndi recalls as a « magical musician, » was a keyboardist who toured with the singer and performed in the studio on many of her best-loved tracks.
Cyndi recalls another old friend on « Minnie and Santa, » a not-quite-naughty tale of a woman with her sights set on seducing Santa. Cyndi based the tune, which sounds like some long-lost holiday drinking song, on a deceptively sweet elderly co-worker from Cyndi’s days at a downtown Brooklyn five and dime who delighted in shocking her younger colleagues with her salty wit.
On January 17th, 1999, Cyndi appaeared on, « The Simpsons. » Cyndi appeared on the show as herself singing the, « National Anthem. » The episode was called, « Wild Bart’s Can’t Be Broken. »
In 1999, Cyndi co-headlined a tour alongside Cher. The tour was called the, Do You Believe? Tour. Cyndi and Cher performed, « Turn Back Time » on Vh1 Divas.
Cyndi contributed a cover version of The Trammps’s classic « Disco Inferno » to the soundtrack for the film A Night at the Roxbury. The remixed version became a club hit and received a Grammy nomination that year for Best Dance Recording. The single was released as an EP, featuring several remixes.
She also garnered critical plaudits for her roles in several independent films including « Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle »,and The Opportunists (with Christopher Walken)where was nominated in the best supporting actress category for the said role.
In 2000, Cyndi contributed a song called, « I Want A Mom That Will Last Forever » for the children’s movie, « Rugrats in Paris. » the song was written with, « Mark Mothersbaugh. »
Lauper prepared her seventh album in 2001, Shine, which saw her returning to her early pop/rock sound. Just weeks before the album’s scheduled release on September 11, 2001, her label, Edel America Records, folded, and the tracks were leaked to the public.
Although a five song EP of the same name was made available through her website and at Tower Records, the full-length album concept was scrapped. The five song EP was released in June of 2002, and was made available at, « Best Buy. » An album of, « Shine » remixes was eventually released through, « Tower Records. »
On October 12th, 2000, Cyndi took part in a television show called, « Women in Rock, Girls With Guitars. » Cyndi performed the, « Paul McCartney » hit, « Maybe I’m Amazed » with, « Ann Wilson' » of, « Heart. » A CD was issued that contained the studio versions of some songs performed during the concert. The only live song on the disc was, « Maybe I’m Amazed » but unfortunately the version is edited. Cyndi’s part remains intact, but the entire verse by Ann was removed, totally skipping her first verse and going into her second. This CD was exclusively released to, « Sears » stores from September 30 to October 31, 2001. The CD cost CD $4.99, and $1.00 went to breast cancer research. The CD was released as a, « Sony Music special product. »
Cyndi toured with, « Cher » on her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour in 2002.
Lauper’s former label, « Sony » issued a new best-of CD entitled The Essential Cyndi Lauper. She re-signed with Sony/Epic Records and a cover album tentativley called, « Naked City » was in the works.
The complete, « Shine » album was released on April 21, 2004, exclusively in Japan. The album has become a collector’s item often selling at high prices on places like, « Amazon.com. »
In 2004, Cyndi contributed two tracks to the, « Creole Bred » CD, which was a tribute to, « Cajun and, « Zydeco » music. The album was released on May 11, 2004
In November 2003, an album of covers was released entitled At Last (formerly Naked City), which became a Top-40 hit in the U.S. and Australia.
Cyndi was nominated in 2005 for a Grammy Award in the category of, « Best Instrumental Composition Accompanying a Vocal. » The nomination was for her interpretation of the song « Unchained Melody ».
At Last became Cyndi’s best selling album since « Twelve Deadly Cyns », with 4.5 million copies.The album was also voted as the best cd of covered songs beating those of Rod Stewart,K.d. Lang and Tony Bennet. The success of the cd prompted Sony-Bmg to release the dvd « Live… At Last » which became gold in less than a year.
Cyndi took part in, « VH1 Divas Live » with Patti La Belle, Jessica Simpson, Debbie Harry, Ashanti,Sheila E., and the Pussycat Dolls.
2005–2007: The Body Acoustic & other projects
Under new contract with Sony Music, Lauper released The Body Acoustic, an album that featured acoustic reinterpretations of tracks from her back catalog. Two new tracks were also written and recorded, one of which « Above the Clouds ». Guests on the album included Shaggy, Ani DiFranco, Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday, Jeff Beck, Puffy AmiYumi, Sarah McLachlan,and Vivian Green.
Though she hasn’t released an album of new material since 1997’s Sisters of Avalon, Lauper has remained busy over the years. Appearing on Showtime’s hit show, Queer As Folk in 2005, making her Broadway debut in The Threepenny Opera in 2006 (where she won as best actress in a broadway by an internet poll), and directing a commercial for Totally 80’s edition of the board game Trivial Pursuit.MTV’s Decades Rock Live honored her with a musical special that featured several artists who were influenced by her music.These includes Shaggy, Scott Wieland of Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots, Pat Monahan of Train, Ani di Franco,and Hooters among others.
On October 16, 2006, she was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2007, she sang « Beecharmer » with Nellie McKay on Nellie’s « Pretty Little Head » album, and, « Letters To Michael with Dionne Warwick.
In September 2006, Lauper served as the vocal coach of the Top 8 contestants in the Canadian Idol. Eventual winner Eva Avila recorded her version of Lauper’s, « This Kind Of Love. »
In June 2007, Lauper headlined the True Colors Tour 2007 for Human Rights through the United States and Canada which also included Deborah Harry, Erasure, The Dresden Dolls, and Gossip, with Margaret Cho as MC and special guests in different cities. The tour, sponsored by Logo, the MTV Networks channel targeting gay audiences, provided information to fans who attend, as well as purple wristbands with the slogan « Erase Hate » from The Matthew Shepard Foundation. A dollar from every ticket sold was earmarked for the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.This October the Matthew Sheppard Bill was passed into a law by the US Congress largely due to the great success of the True Colors Tour.
In September of 2007, Cyndi performed “The Lady in Pink” for Nickelodeon’s hit preschool series The Backyardigans, for their first hour-long, primetime TV movie called Super Secret Super Spy.
2007-2008: Savoir Faire
Cyndi has recorded an album of all new material, entitled « Savoir Faire, » that she says will be released early 2008. She has described it as a mainly dance album with good rhythm. She has performed some of the songs at her concerts.
It is not yet known if the following songs will be on the album: « Still with Me » , « The Other Side Of Here » , « Edge of the Earth ».
However, « Set Your Heart » and « Grab A Hold » are two new songs which she performed live in Singapore in August 2007, where she referred to live performances as the « best Petri dish of the live experience » for musicians.
The first single has been confirmed as ‘Set Your Heart’ which is inspired by the disco era.
Cyndi visited England and France during summer 2007 to write for the album and has written songs with dance legends Basement Jaxx and Digital Dog as well as other artists yet to be named.
1983 – She’s So Unusual
1986 – True Colors
1989 – A Night to Remember
1993 – Hat Full of Stars
1996 – Sisters of Avalon
2001 – Shine
2008 – Cyndi Lauper’s forthcoming seventh studio album
1989 – The Best Remixes
1994 – Twelve Deadly Cyns…and Then Some
1996 – Wanna Have Fun
1998 – Merry Christmas…Have a Nice Life
2001 – Shine (EP)
2003 – The Essential Cyndi Lauper
2003 – The Great Cyndi Lauper (Three CD Hits Compilation)
2003 – At Last
2005 – The Body Acoustic
2005 – Hey Now! (Remixes & Rarities)
1985 We Are The World
1985 The Goonies
1985 WWF Wrestling’s Biggest Smallest Strangest Strongest
1987 Cyndi Lauper In Paris
1987 The Videos
1987 Rolling Stone Presents Twenty Years of Rock & Roll
1988 Wrestle Mania
1989 Compilation Video
1990 The Legend of Zelda-The Missing Link
1990 Mario Brothers – Cartoon (With Captain Lou Albano)
1990 The Wall Live In Berlin (Roger Waters)
1990 Shelly Duvall’s Rock ‘N’ Rhymeland
1990 Big’s Rock Around The World Vol. 2
1990 Mother Goose Rock ‘N Rhyme
1991 Give Peace A Chance
1991 The World’s Greatest Artists Sing LENNON: a tribute
1991 Off And Running (AKA Moon Over Miami)
1992 The World Is Stone
1993 Life with Mikey
1994 12 Tracks Compilation
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
1994 Twelve Deadly Cyns… And Then Some
1994 The Crazy World Of Cyndi Lauper
1994 Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)
1998 WWF – Wrestle Mania: The Legacy
1999 The Simpson’s Season 10 – Wild Bart’s Can’t Be Broken (Herself)
1999 Best of the Meldrum Tapes
1999 The Opportunists
1999 « Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child »
2000 WWF – Wrestle Mania
2002 VH1’s – Cyndi Lauper – Behind the Music
2002 Come Together-A Night for John Lennon’s Words and Music
2004 Live… At Last
2004 Higglytown Heroes
2004 There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly…and More Stories That Sing – (Narrator)
2005 That’s So Raven – Disguise the Limit
2006 VH1’s Decades Rock Live! Cyndi Lauper & Friends
2005 Queer as Folk
2006 The Naked Brothers Band – The Movie
2006 Born To Controversy – The Roddy Piper Story
2006 From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans
2008 Here and There
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