Cyndi Lauper reveals story behind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Cyndi Lauper reveals story behind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Cyndi Lauper recently shared the fascinating backstory of her iconic hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” revealing how she transformed it into a feminist anthem. Speaking to PEOPLE, Lauper explained her initial reluctance to record the song, which was originally written and performed by Robert Hazard. She was determined to create a song that would inspire and empower women, a goal that seemed at odds with the song’s original male perspective.

The story of how “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” evolved is detailed in the new documentary “Let the Canary Sing,” which premiered at the Tribeca Festival. Lauper, now 69, recounted her journey with the song, emphasizing her desire to make it an anthem for all women. She wanted every girl to see herself in the song and realize that she too could have a joyful life.

When Lauper first heard Hazard’s version, she was unimpressed and even told her producer, Rick Chertoff, that she would never perform it. She felt the original lyrics reduced women to stereotypes, something she was not willing to endorse. Lauper and Chertoff worked on numerous demos, aiming to make the song more fun and empowering from a female perspective. Lauper wanted the song to sound like a celebration, inspired by the lively commercials for Raceway Park in New Jersey.

In the studio, Lauper experimented with different sounds until they landed on the now-iconic guitar riff. She wanted the song to feel like a vacation, a break from the mundane, and something that would resonate with women everywhere. Once they found the right sound, Lauper knew they had something special.

The music video for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was another crucial element in its success. Lauper insisted on casting a diverse group of women, breaking away from the homogenous representation common in music videos at the time. She also cast her mother, Catrine, to play her on-screen mom, a decision that brought them closer and allowed Lauper to share her success with her family.

Reflecting on the song’s impact, Lauper expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with her family and create something meaningful. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains a feminist anthem to this day. Lauper’s sister Ellen and brother Fred also participated in the documentary, highlighting the importance of family in her life.

Lauper’s transformation of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” from a male-centric song to a girl-power anthem is a testament to her vision and determination. She made significant changes to the lyrics and melody, infusing the song with new life and meaning. The result was a track that not only topped the charts but also became a cultural touchstone for women everywhere.

The song’s success was further amplified by its music video, which was in heavy rotation on MTV. Lauper became the first woman in history to have four top-five singles from a debut album, a milestone that solidified her place in music history. Her episode of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS, where she discusses the evolution of the song, offers even more insight into her creative process and the impact of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

Lauper’s journey with the song is a powerful example of how music can be a force for change. By reimagining “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” she created an anthem that continues to inspire and empower women around the world. Her story is a reminder of the importance of staying true to one’s vision and the transformative power of music.

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