Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American Emmy- and Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress in film, television, and theater. She became a household name in the mid-1980s with the release of the album, She's So Unusual and became the first artist in history to have four top-five singles released from one album. Lauper has released 11 albums and over 40 singles, selling more than 55 million albums worldwide. She continues to tour the world in support of human rights.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life and pre-fame
- 1.2 Blue Angel
- 1.3 She's So Unusual
- 1.4 The WWF
- 1.5 The Goonies
- 1.6 True Colors
- 1.7 Late 1980s
- 1.8 A Night to Remember
- 1.9 Love and marriage
- 1.10 Tycoon and a duet with Sinatra
- 1.11 Hat Full of Stars
- 1.12 12 Deadly Cyns
- 1.13 Sisters of Avalon
- 1.14 Merry Christmas
- 1.15 Shine
- 1.16 At Last
- 1.17 2005–2007: The Body Acoustic and other projects
- 1.18 2008: Bring Ya to the Brink
- 2 Discography
- 3 Tours
- 4 Filmography
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Biography[edit | edit source]
Early life and pre-fame[edit | edit source]
Lauper was born to Fred and Catrine Lauper in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in a rough area of Queens. Her mother uses the stagename, "Catrine Dominique" for the music videos in which she has appeared. Her father was of German and Swiss descent and her mother was Italian American (from Campania). She has a sister named Ellen and a brother called Fred (nicknamed Butch).
When Lauper was five, her parents divorced, and her mother moved with the three children to Ozone Park, Queens, which was at that time a poor neighborhood in Queens, New York. Lauper's mother remarried, divorced again, and went to work as a waitress trying to support her children. It was during this time that Lauper began listening to artists like Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Beatles. Her mother encouraged her independence and creativity.
At the age of twelve, Lauper learned how to play a guitar which she had inherited from her sister, and started to write her own lyrics. She had a great love of art and music and tried to find ways to express herself. Even at this early age, Lauper started dyeing her hair different colors and wearing clothes that most people would find unusual.
Lauper 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, earning 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 took art classes at Johnson State College. She supported herself by working at various odd jobs. Feeling homesick, she eventually returned to Ozone Park.
In the mid-70s, 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 Band) in the New York metropolitan area, singing hits by bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company. Even though Lauper was now performing on stage, she wasn't happy singing cover songs.
In 1977, Lauper damaged her vocal cords and took a year off. She was told by three doctors that she would never sing again. Her friends told her to see a vocal coach, which led her to Katie Agresta, who helped Lauper regain her voice by teaching her proper vocal exercises.
Blue Angel[edit | edit source]
In 1978, after Lauper regained her voice, she met saxophone player John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. Turi and Lauper 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 its way over to Steve Massarsky, who was managing The Allman Brothers Band. Massarsky said the tape was horrible, but he was attracted to Lauper's voice. He saw them play live and eventually started managing the band after buying their contract out for $5,000. Many people wanted to sign Lauper only if she would sign on as a solo artist. Lauper held out, wanting the band to be included in any deal she made. Polydor Records eventually signed them as a band.
In 1980, they released a self-titled album on Polydor Records. The album charted #37 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. Lauper 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 Massarsky and fired him as their manager. He later filed an $80,000 suit against them. This forced Lauper into bankruptcy.
Lauper started working in retail stores such as the New York high-end thrift store Screaming Mimi's to make ends meet, and she still sang in local clubs. Her most frequent gigs were at El Sombrero. Music critics that saw Lauper perform with Blue Angel thought that she had star potential since she had a wide singing range (4 octaves), perfect pitch, and a vocal style all her own. She was in her late twenties and had yet to achieve stardom. When asked about her age, Lauper would usually get defensive, saying, "What am I, a car?"
Then in 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who gave her a ride home that night. The two fell in love and eventually moved in together. They painted their living room pink and purchased a chihuahua.
Wolff took over as her manager and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. Wolff had been working with a band called Arc Angel. He introduced Lauper to CBS executive Lennie-Petze, who in turn introduced them to producer Rick Chertoff.
In 1985, the Blue Angel album was re-issued and it brought moderate success, particularly in South East Asia where it produced several hits like "Fade", "I'm Gonna Be Strong", and "Late".
She's So Unusual[edit | edit source]
On October 14 1983, She's So Unusual was released, and became a worldwide hit. With help from Rick Chertoff, Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) as her primary studio musicians, She's So Unusual's popularity spread like wildfire. At the time, Lauper became popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image.
Lauper knew she could write songs, but the record company had a lot of material they wanted her to record. She altered a lot of the songs that were thrown her way, often changing the lyrics to suit her. (This would end up helping her in the long run financially as she could claim credit as a co-writer and collect royalties.)
An example is "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", Lauper 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 as she felt the original song seemed misogynistic.
The album's second single was the ballad "Time After Time". Lauper co-wrote "Time After Time" with Rob Hyman when her producer, Rick Chertoff, suggested to the band that the album could use one more song. The record label didn't have much faith in Lauper as a songwriter, but they gave her the chance to prove herself. Notably, "Time After Time" was one of the biggest hits of 1984. It has been covered by more than 100 artists and is considered an American pop standard.
Lauper 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 in New York had a very loud alarm clock, and that's where the lyrics "the clock ticks and I think of you" originated.
"All Through the Night" was written by Jules Shear. It was later re-recorded in Swedish and released as the B-side to a single from the debut album of Marie Fredriksson (who'd achieve international success later as Roxette's female lead vocalist), in 1984. In 2005, a cover by Tori Amos appeared on her set of live albums, The Original Bootlegs. Shear and Lauper had also collaborated on his hit single "Steady" which became a Billboard Top 40 hit that year.
The album also includes a cover of The Brains' New Wave track "Money Changes Everything" (another Top 40 hit for her), and "When You Were Mine", a cover of Prince's song that was later released as a promotional single in 1985.
Lauper 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 5 hits from one album. The LP itself stayed in the Top 40 charts for more than 65 weeks and sold 16 million copies worldwide. The original title of She's So Unusual was She's So Wonderful.
The video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" made Lauper 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 Lauper's family members and her dog, Sparkle. Lauper appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in May 1984. The photo on the cover had been reversed to make room for the title. She also appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and Newsweek with the headline, "Women In Rock". Lauper was voted by Ms. Magazine as one of its women of the year.
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. The video featured pop singer Martika (of "Toy Soldiers") hugging Lauper onstage.
The WWF[edit | edit source]
Lauper always claims that David Wolff was a major fan of wrestling and it was his idea to get her involved with the WWF (World Wrestling Federation). The WWF television show had a massive audience, and Wolff thought that he could sell more albums if she appeared on the show. The idea worked, but Lauper's image as a songwriter and artist would be tarnished. Wolff set up a cross-promotion deal with the WWF. The wrestlers would be promoted through her videos and special appearances, and Lauper would be featured on the WWF program.
In 1985, Lauper 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 the manager of Wendi Richter. Their entrance music was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".
Lauper and Wolff had a long drawn out storyline involving WWF wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Lauper appeared on "Piper's Pit" which was Roddy Piper's segment on the WWF show. The story involved Captain Lou Albano, who came out during Lauper's segment claiming that he had given Lauper her start, and that he was the one that discovered her. Lauper became outraged, flipping over a table, and hitting the Captain over the head with her purse.
On December 28, 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 Lauper, knocking her back about two feet. Roddy then picked up David Wolff slamming him down in the ring. Hulk Hogan came to Lauper's rescue 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 or 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 (YouTube).
A small riot ensued, 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 talking about Lauper and Roddy Piper.
In February 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. Lauper 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. Also by the end of 1985 she started to feel that the WWF involvement was starting to turn her into a joke within the music industry. The album also led to a collaboration with Rick Derringer. Derringer wrote Real American, which featured Lauper on backing vocals. Derringer and Lauper would write "Calm Inside The Storm" for her True Colors album.
During David Wolff's early career, he produced a band called Captain Chameleon. They had a song called "Grab Them Cakes". That song would turn up again on the WWF wrestling album being sung by the wrestler Junkyard Dog. Lauper and Wolff became the associate producers for the animated series "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling".
The Goonies[edit | edit source]
Steven Spielberg had asked Lauper to be the musical director of his latest film The Goonies, an adventurous family film about lost treasure. Lauper had the power to choose whom 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. Lauper thought the band was very raw and fresh.
Lauper worked so hard on the soundtrack that she wound up in the hospital. Lauper states in a 1986 interview that she had been working 12 hour days and had gynecological problems. Lauper had a minor operation and spent some time in the hospital. Her doctors told her that she needed some rest. This was the reason she wasn't able to participate in the Live Aid concert.
Lauper 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 Lauper the very first artist to have a two-part video. Spielberg even allowed her access to the set pieces from the film. The soundtrack album reached #73 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Lauper stopped performing "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough", in concert around 1987. During the Australian leg of her 2004 "At Last" tour, at the request of the crowd, she performed an a cappella version of the first verse and chorus at several shows. It was at a show in Baltimore on Lauper's 2006 tour that she finally played it in full again. The crowd was chanting "Goonies" and she sang the song a cappella to an ecstatic crowd. She finally agreed to play the song again on her "True Colors" tour in 2007 and it was featured in her 2008 tour of Australia as the second number performed at each show.
During the video commentary for "The Goonies" actor Sean Astin can be heard thanking Lauper 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 Lauper again in footage that can be seen in the upcoming "Goonies Documentary".
In 1985, The Women in Crystal Film Awards awarded her with the New Directions Award, given to those who are known for their creativity and originality.
True Colors[edit | edit source]
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 Angela Clemons-Patrick, Nile Rodgers, Aimee Mann, Billy Joel, Adrian Belew, The Bangles, Ellie Greenwich, and Rick Derringer. Lauper co-wrote most of the album with Essra Mohawk, John Turi, 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). The album also featured an older song called "Maybe He'll Know" which was on Lauper's Blue Angel album.
The album covers for both She's So Unusual and True Colors were composed by photographer Annie Leibovitz. "True Colors" was licensed to Kodak for use in its commercials. Lauper had no control over the song which was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly.
The 4th single from the album, "Boy Blue", became Lauper's first non top 40 song. The proceeds of the song were donated to AIDS research.
In 1986, Lauper appeared on the Billy Joel album The Bridge on a song called "Code of Silence". Lauper also sang the theme song for the series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" the same year, though she was credited as "Ellen Shaw". The theme song is speeded up making Lauper's voice sound a bit distorted. On adult swim broadcasts, Lauper's portion of the opening was cut out. Playhouse star Paul Reubens appeared on the True Colors album track "911" as an emergency operator. The album sold nearly 12 million copies.
Late 1980s[edit | edit source]
In 1987 David Wolff produced a concert film for Lauper called Cyndi: Live in Paris. The concert was broadcast on HBO that same year.
Lauper made her film debut in August 1988 in the quirky comedy Vibes, alongside Jeff Goldblum, Julian Sands, Elizabeth Peña and Peter Falk. Lauper 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, though it reached the Top 30 in America"s Most Rented Movies. Lauper 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, but fared better in Australia, peaking at #8 and becoming her fifth and final Top 10 single in Australia. It was performed as the opening track on her 2008 Australian tour.
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. Lauper says she was unhappy about the way the album was mixed.
Lauper received an honorary diploma from Richmond High School, Queens, in 1988.
A Night to Remember[edit | edit source]
A Night to Remember, Lauper's 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 and sung by 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. Contributing writers were Desmond Child, Christina Amphlett of Divinyls, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, Diane Warren, and Frank Previte. Guest musicians include Bootsy Collins, Larry Blackmon, Batkini Khumalo, Eric Clapton, and Nile Rodgers. The video for "My First Night Without You", released in 1989, was one of the first to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
On July 21 1990, Lauper joined many other guests for Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin, performing "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II". Lauper wore a school girl outfit performing to over 300,000 people. The concert was watched live by over five million people worldwide.
Lauper had become close friends with Yoko Ono. In 1990 she took part in a John Lennon tribute concert in Liverpool, performing the Beatles song "Hey Bulldog" and the John Lennon song "Working Class Hero". The concert was aired on the Disney Channel. She also took part in a project Ono and Lennon developed called "The Peace Choir". They performed a new version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance". The reworked "Give Peace a Chance" was written by Sean Lennon.
Love and marriage[edit | edit source]
A mutual breakup between Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff occurred in 1989. Most of the details about the breakup have not been published, but Lauper later stated: "The business got in the way of the relationship." In a 1993 interview with Howard Stern, Lauper hinted that Wolff didn't want to marry her.
Lauper worked on the movie originally titled Moon Over Miami, which later became Off and Running with David Keith, Richard Belzer and David Thornton, whom she started seeing romantically. Lauper 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.)
On November 24 1991 38-year-old Lauper married Thornton, only ten days her senior, at the 205-year-old Friends Meeting House at 15th St. and Rutherford Place on Stuyvesant Square in Manhattan, New York City. Rock and Roll pioneer Little Richard, who at one time gave up Rock and Roll to become a minister (and remains one) performed the ceremony. Patti LaBelle sang Procol Harum's classic "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and Lauper's grandmother served as the maid of honor. Other guests included Paul Reubens, best known for his Pee-wee Herman character, and John Turturro, star of the 1991 Coen brothers film Barton Fink. Lauper had threatened to dress like a lighted Christmas tree, but settled on a traditional white wedding dress.
Tycoon and a duet with Sinatra[edit | edit source]
In 1992, Lauper contributed two tracks to the European musical Tycoon, an English version of the hit French stage show Starmania. 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 Plamondon. The two tracks were included on a compilation released in the U.S. in 2000.
Lauper recorded "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", a duet with Frank Sinatra, which was released on the album Very Special Christmas II. Sinatra's vocals were taken from his original recording and mixed with Lauper's in the studio.
Hat Full of Stars[edit | edit source]
In June 1993, Lauper 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 homophobia, spousal abuse, racism and Abortion. Despite significant accolades, sales were poor (just 4 million copies worldwide), largely because the album suffered from a lack of promotion. Lauper appeared on the Howard Stern Show to promote the album.
Lauper said the song "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.
Tommy Mottola, president of CBS Records, told Lauper to go out and make her own Graceland (referring to Paul Simon's offbeat critically acclaimed album). Lauper 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, Nicky Holland, Tom Gray, Hugh Masekela and The Hooters.
The same year, Lauper recorded "Boys Will Be Boys" with The Hooters. The song "Private Emotion" was dedicated to her by The Hooters. Both songs appeared on the Hooter's CD Out of Body. Lauper also returned to acting, playing Michael J. Fox's ditzy secretary in 1993's Life with Mikey, which also starred Nathan Lane.
12 Deadly Cyns[edit | edit source]
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 Japanese edition of the CD includes the single "Hole In My Heart (All The Way To China)" as the final track.
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 Lauper began a world tour to promote the album. It 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 single also returned Lauper to the US Hot 100, albeit briefly). The song includes special appearances by Snow and Patra. The album also included a hot reggae influenced song, "Come On Home", which was remixed by Junior Vasquez with a special appearance by Demetrius "Sir Jam" Ross. Due to the success of the album Lauper's next studio album was delayed.
Lauper won a Emmy Award for her role as Marianne on the sitcom Mad About You. The network set up a production deal for a spin off sitcom featuring Lauper, but the show she proposed seemed too radical.
A 12 Deadly Cyns VHS tape featuring most of Lauper's videos was released. The DVD was released in 2000.
Sisters of Avalon[edit | edit source]
In 1997 Lauper announced that she was expecting a child. Declyn Wallace Thornton Lauper was born on November 17 of that year; he was named after Elvis Costello, whose first name is Declan. He was born while Lauper 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 (Lauper'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. Lauper 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 who 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.
Lauper's sister Ellen had "come out" and Lauper 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 took up the appalachian dulcimer which would have a huge effect on her future projects.Template:Or She took lessons from David Schnauffer.
Lauper's stepfather died during this period.
Merry Christmas[edit | edit source]
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 Pampers 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 Lauper since her debut album She's So Unusual, was once again in a co-producing and mixing role. Lauper is ably assisted by Jan Pulsford, the keyboardist who tours with Lauper and co-produced her last disc, Sisters Of Avalon.
The Christmas album was recorded at Lauper's home in Connecticut. Lauper vocalized in a cedar closet that not only had great acoustics but apparently had enough of a Riverdance vibe that she 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".
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 on tape.
Lauper 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 late Peter Wood, the close friend and musician to whom Lauper dedicated her hits compilation, Seven Deadly Cyns...And Then Some. Wood, whom Lauper 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.
Lauper recalls another old friend on "Minnie and Santa", a not-quite-naughty tale of a woman with her sights set on seducing Santa. Lauper based the tune, which sounds like some long-lost holiday drinking song, on a deceptively sweet elderly co-worker from Lauper's days at a downtown Brooklyn five and dime who delighted in shocking her younger colleagues with her salty wit.
On January 17, 1999, Lauper appeared on The Simpsons. Lauper appeared on the show as herself singing the National Anthem. The episode was called "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken". The same year, Lauper co-headlined a tour alongside Cher. The tour was called the Do You Believe? Tour. Lauper and Cher performed "Turn Back Time" on VH1 Divas. 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 she was nominated in the best supporting actress category for her role.
Lauper 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.
In 2000, Lauper 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 (of the new wave group DEVO). The song won the best theme song in a movie in a European film festival. Also in 2000, Lauper co-write a song, "If You Believe", with Faye Tozer of the British pop group Steps. It appeared on the band's third studio album, "Buzz", and was subsequently released in the US in July 2001.
Shine[edit | edit source]
Lauper prepared her seventh album in 2001, Shine, which saw her returning to her early pop/rock sound. It features Japanese pop superstar Ryuichi Sakamoto, and George Fullan of Train. 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 2002, and was made available at Best Buy. An album of Shine remixes was eventually released through Tower Records. 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.
On October 12, 2000, Lauper took part in a television show called Women in Rock, Girls With Guitars. The show featured Sheryl Crow, Ann and Nancy Wilson (guitarist), Melissa Etheridge, Amy Grant, Wynonna Judd, and Destiny's Child. Lauper performed the Paul McCartney hit "Maybe I'm Amazed" with Ann Wilson of Heart. She also sang the R&B classic "Ooh Child" with the girl group Destiny's Child. Lauper was well received at the event, getting standing ovations after every song. She also performed a new song called "Water's Edge" with Ann Wilson. The song was well received and critics saw that performance as one of the highlights of the night.
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. Lauper's part remains intact, but the entire verse by Wilson 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 $4.99, $1.00 of which went to breast cancer research. The CD was released as a "Sony Music special product".
Lauper toured with Cher on her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour in 2002. In 2004, Lauper 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.
At Last[edit | edit source]
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. Lauper 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 Lauper'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 went gold in less than a year.
2005–2007: The Body Acoustic and other projects[edit | edit source]
Under a 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 is "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 hadn't released an album of new material since 1997's Sisters of Avalon, Lauper remained busy through 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.
VH1 Classic honored Lauper with a television special called Decades Rock Live. The show featured Lauper performing with many artists such as Shaggy, Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots, Pat Monahan of Train, Ani di Franco, and the Hooters.
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 June 2007, Lauper headlined the True Colors Tour 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 transgender people. In October 2007 the Matthew Shepard Bill was passed into a law by the US Congress,Template:Dubious largely due to the great success of the True Colors Tour.
2008: Bring Ya to the Brink[edit | edit source]
Lauper recorded an album of all new material during 2007. The working title given to the project was Savoir-faire, but she announced at her Perth, Australia concert in February 2008 that the name of the album was Bring Ya to the Brink and that it would be released in the Spring.
Lauper visited England and France during summer 2007 to write for the album and wrote songs with dance artists Basement Jaxx, Digital Dog, Dragonette, Kleerup and others. She described it as a mainly dance album with good rhythm.
The first single released in Japan was "Set Your Heart" which gained significant airplay there and was also used in the advertising campaign for the new 2008 Toyota Car Model (Mark X ZIO) starring actor and singer Takeshi Kaneshiro.
Lauper embarked on an Australian tour playing at the King's Park Botanic Gardens in Perth, Western Australia, supported by Katie Noonan and Kate Miller-Heidke on February 22, 2008 and she was the headline and final act at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party, on March 2, 2008 where she performed at 8:00am. She sang "Same Ol' Story" followed by a newly remixed version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". Lauper got into the spirit of the Mardi Gras weekend by later dancing till dawn at various nightclubs along Sydney's famous gay strip, Oxford St, which earlier in the night, was the location for the world-famous parade.
"Same Ol' Story" was released as the album's first worldwide single and was released as a download only on May 6, 2008. It was the number one downloaded song on the day of release. Several remixes of the track were released to DJs. The album was released on May 27, 2008 in the United States.
The 2008 True Colors Tour debuted on May 31, 2008. Joining Lauper at various venues are Rosie O'Donnell, The B52's, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Cliks, Indigo Girls, Kat Deluna, Joan Armatrading, Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Nona Hendryx, Deborah Cox, Wanda Sykes, among others. The MC will be Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Sarah McLachlan was also be featured at the Burnaby, British Columbia show.
On June 26, 2008, Lauper appeared in Kathy Griffin's reality series My Life on the D-List. The episode, titled "Fly the Super Gay Skies", showed Griffin, Lauper and Margaret Cho shopping for outfits in a Sydney drag shop on Oxford St to wear to the Mardi Gras parade and afterparty. Lauper also appeared as herself on the soap opera As the World Turns on July 3, 2008 in the series' first ever gay pride episode.
Discography[edit | edit source]
Studio albums[edit | edit source]
Tours[edit | edit source]
Filmography[edit | edit source]
Movies and television[edit | edit source]
Music videos[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of best-selling music artists
- List of number-one hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (US)
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
References[edit | edit source]
- Hoffman, Jan. "PUBLIC LIVES; She Just Wanted to Have Fun. And She's Having It.", The New York Times, December 31, 2003. Accessed October 10, 2007. "She found simpatico musicians to help her repossess the songs that reverberated through her childhood block in Ozone Park, Queens. And she felt ready to celebrate a lifetime of spirited dancing."
- Cyndi Lauper Biography (1953-)
- Cyndi Lauper - and Lou Reed - Brief Article - Interview | Interview | Find Articles at BNET.com
- Jerome, Jim. "Verve and videos turn an outcast addball into a musical phenomenon.", People Magazine, September 17, 1984. Accessed April 13, 2008. "Her chopped-up coif is part blond Marine cut, part flame-and-fuchsia-colored eruption--physical betrayals of a lifelong shriek for recognition that's almost punishing in its intensity, all magnificently matched by her alarming, four-octave vocal range."
- Long Island Music Hall of Fame, 10-16-06. Retrieved 11-28-06
- Matthew Shepard Foundation: Home Page
- Lauper, Others Headline Gay Rights Tour
- Juergens, Brian (July 1, 2008). Set Visit: Cyndi Lauper Helps "As the World Turns" Celebrate Gay Pride. AfterElton.com. Retrieved on July 3, 2008.
[edit | edit source]
- Official site
- Paul Burston, Cyndi Lauper is Back, and the Girl still wants to Have Fun (interview), The Times, 2 August 2008
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