Song of the Day #4,303: ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ – Cyndi Lauper

As I reach my 23rd featured album from 1983, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was an exceptional year for new music. My Decades series always unearths gems, ones I was familiar with and ones I wasn’t, but 1983 has offered up a true bounty.

Add another album to the list of stellar ’83 debuts: Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual. This album landed four singles in Billboard’s Top Five, making it the first debut by a female artist to do so. Anybody who was alive in the early 80s can tick them off: ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ ‘Time After Time,’ ‘She Bop,’ and ‘All Through the Night.’

Two of those songs were covers by male artists, and perfect examples of the passion and perspective Lauper brings to her material. Listen to the original demo of ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ by Robert Hazard, or the first studio version of ‘All Through the Night’ by Jules Shear, and you understand immediately why they became runaway hits once Lauper worked her magic.

The girl power attitude infusing this album was well ahead of its time. The music, on the other hand, is solidly in the New Wave/pop milieu so prominent in the early 80s. Like Culture Club’s Colour By Numbers, this is a technicolor burst of pure energy and fun. One delightful track after another.

Lauper never had another hit as big as this one (her sophomore album, 1986’s True Colors, came closest but still fell way short). But she has had a successful, wide-ranging career, winning Grammys for her songs, an Emmy for her acting, and a Tony for her score of Kinky Boots.

So when will she make it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

[Verse 1]
I come home in the morning light
My mother says, “When you gonna live your life right?”
Oh momma dear, we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun

[Verse 2]
The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells, “What you gonna do with your life?”
Oh daddy dear, you know you’re still number one
But girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have—

[Chorus]
That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun
Girls, they want, wanna have fun
Girls, wanna have—

[Verse 3]
Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have—

[Chorus]
That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun
Girls, they want, wanna have fun
Girls, wanna have—

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,303: ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ – Cyndi Lauper

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I agree. 1983 was a great year for music. I think that quality sustained through the late 80’s, though admittedly, I stopped paying as much attention by the mid 90’s.

    Thanks for sharing those original songs. Lauper’s improvement on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is particularly remarkable.

  2. Peg says:

    I can really relate to this song. It was a regular in my aerobics class. Surely she should be in the Hall of Fame!

  3. Amy says:

    Because Cyndi was so colorful and fun, I didn’t realize until a few years later just how subversive she actually was. I remember listening to “Code of Silence” on Billy Joel’s Bridge album and thinking I needed to revisit Cyndi Lauper, who was likely deeper than I’d ever given her credit for. I believe I once wrote a guest blog on this here site touting her performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Carey,” still, to this day, one of my all time favorite such performances at any of the myriad events of its kind. That performance alone should have placed her in some Hall of Fame somewhere. I bought and loved later albums of hers (“At Last” in 2003 and “Hat Full of Stars” in 1993; just realized I owned an album a decade, to the year), though I never played any of them all that much. I always loved Cyndi Lauper the woman -and her stellar performances – more than I was ever particularly in the mood to listen to the songs. That said, she’s one of the most iconic performers ever. And damn do I love her “Carey!”

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