Song of the Day #695: ‘Carey’ – Cyndi Lauper

[This week’s guest blogger, Amy, continues her exploration of favorite cover songs.]

When I saw Cyndi Lauper perform ‘Carey,’ two things happened.

1. My respect for Lauper grew exponentially
2. I became an instant fan of Joni Mitchell.

I recall watching few live performances that made a greater impact on me than Lauper stalking the stage, teasing out the emotion of each enigmatic verse. I still don’t fully understand this song, but it (and, especially, Lauper’s performance of it) remains one of my favorite songs.

This is also one of the first times I remember truly understanding the impact songwriters and musicians have on each other. The talent at the Joni Mitchell tribute was immense, but that someone as unlikely as Cyndi ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ Lauper could have been influenced by Mitchell had honestly just never occurred to me.

Before seeing this snippet of the Mitchell tribute, I owned an album by neither Mitchell nor Lauper; the next day I went out to get both.

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
But it’s really not my home
My fingernails are filthy, I got beach tar on my feet
And I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne

Oh Carey get out your cane
And I’ll put on some silver
Oh you’re a mean old Daddy, but I like you fine

Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we’ll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
Let’s have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let’s have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town

Come on, Carey, get out your cane
I’ll put on some silver
Oh you’re a mean old Daddy, but I like you

Maybe I’ll go to Amsterdam
Or maybe I’ll go to Rome
And rent me a grand piano and put some flowers ’round my room
But let’s not talk about fare-thee-welIs now
The night is a starry dome.
And they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matalla Moon

Come on, Carey, get out your cane
And I’ll put on some silver
You’re a mean old Daddy, but I like you

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here
But, it’s really not my home
Maybe it’s been too long a time
Since I was scramblin’ down in the street
Now they got me used to that clean white linen
And that fancy French cologne

Oh Carey, get out your cane
I’ll put on my finest silver
We’ll go to the Mermaid Cafe
Have fun tonight
I said, Oh, you’re a mean old Daddy, but you’re out of sight

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #695: ‘Carey’ – Cyndi Lauper

  1. Clay says:

    This is a wonderful performance, and a case where I find the cover even better than the original. As I’ve said before on this blog, I have a hard time listening to Joni Mitchell’s voice, though I appreciate her talents as a songwriter and especially as a lyricist.

  2. pegclifton says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Cyndi Lauper’s voice, and I remember jumping around in aerobic class to “Boys just want to have fun” many many years ago. This is a wonderful performance!

  3. Dana says:

    This is a truly special performance. Lauper is probably one of the more underrated performers of our generation, probably because she came onto the scene with such an eccentric look, voice and pop sound. I recently heard that she had recorded a blues album with some legendary artists. That seems to be something worth checking out.

    Oh, and as many times as Clay disses Joni Mitchell, I will again say that any person who can tolerate a voice like Rufus Wainwright should figure out a way to get over it and warm up to Joni’s voice so that you can appreciate the incredible songwriting she has done.

  4. Dana says:

    (see, look, I manage to take a swing at Clay even when he is on leave from blog hosting:))

  5. Amy says:

    I just happened upon this gem, recorded less than three weeks after 9/11. I don’t recall having this event on my radar at all, but I’m now finding lots of people commenting how it was an important part of their healing process after the attack on New York City. Watching Lauper sing Lennon’s song in the heart of Central Park so soon after that attack is quite powerful.

    Quite the “cover girl” that Cyndi Lauper!

  6. Clay says:

    Nice performance, though it’s odd to hear that song without Ringo’s amazing drumwork. I consider that one of the only songs in The Beatles catalog where Ringo is the MVP.

    And Dana… I like Wainwright’s voice. I can’t think of any artists I listen to despite not liking their voices. I certainly like a lot of people with voices other people dislike, but that’s not the same thing.

  7. pegclifton says:

    I think the “mournful” sounds of the violin and cello are perfect for this occasion.

  8. Ryozo says:

    One of the reasons why I like the album “Blue” by Joni Mitchell is that I can feel the places she has been such as Canada, California, and Europe while I’m listening to it.
    I like the lyrics as well as the music but I don’t fully understand it as usual, unfortunately.
    First of all, I have been wondering what this song “Carey” is all about.

    However, thanks to the internet, I could get at least a clue to the song which makes me worry and gives me trouble.
    Cyndi’s version is not bad!
    Thanks for the post and all the comments!

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