Study Guide

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Girls Just Want to Have Fun Introduction

In a Nutshell

Remember those days when they actually played music videos on MTV? What about back when female solidarity was rarely talked about in pop music and feminism was totally a dirty word? Or the days when crazy dyed hair was a surprise from anyone who wasn’t part of the punk rock scene? Remember Reaganomics?

Don't worry. We don't really remember the early '80s either. Cyndi Lauper, on the other hand…well, those bygone times of boom and bust were her big moment. 

Did you know that up until 1983, girls weren't allowed to have any fun? It was a difficult time for everyone, but thank goodness Cyndi Lauper came along.

About the Song

ArtistLauper, Cyndi
Year1983
LabelPortrait Records
Writer(s)Robert Hazard, Cyndi Lauper
Producer(s)Rick Chertoff, William Wittman
Musician(s)Cyndi Lauper (vocals)
Learn to playGuitar
AlbumShe’s So Unusual

Music Video

Influences on Lauper, Cyndi

Billie Holiday
Judy Garland
Ella Fitzgerald
The Beatles

Influenced by Lauper, Cyndi

Miss TK & the Revenge
Yelle
Gabriella Cilmi
Pin Me Down
Hearts of Palm UK
Lady Gaga

Girls Just Want to Have Fun Resources

Books

Gillian G. Gaar, "She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock and Roll" (2002)
This broad overview of women in rock features a chapter on Cyndi Lauper and several of her pop-rock contemporaries.

Albums

She's So Unusual (1983)
Lauper's first solo album was also her most successful. Her hairdo on the album cover was widely imitated throughout the early '80s.

True Colors (1986)
Her follow-up gave her a #1 hit (the title track), but otherwise it was a commercial flop. True Colors has since become a musical symbol of Lauper's solidarity with LGBT communities.

Merry Christmas…Have a Nice Life (1998)
Lauper does Christmas. It's amazing she still sells anything post-1980s heyday. We'll admit that we don't hate this, but the best place to play it would definitely be the lobby of a shopping mall in 1998.

Memphis Blues (2010)
Lauper made some middling dance albums in the earlier 2000s, but she came back rather surprisingly with this popular and critically-respected blues album.

Images

The Look
This is the classic and beloved Lauper look from the cover of She's So Unusual.

Cyndi Lauper and Lady GaGa
They're a natural match.

Movies & TV

The Goonies (1985)
This classic youth adventure film features a soundtrack directed by Cyndi Lauper.

Vibes (1988)
This silly adventure stars Cyndi Lauper.

Here and There (2009)
This award-winning Serbian film stars David Thornton, Lauper's husband, alongside Lauper herself.

Websites

Cyndi Lauper's Official Site
Lauper continues to release music, putting herself back on the map for something other than her charitable work.

Robbie Daw, "Cyndi Lauper Defends Lady Gaga" (2010)
In this 2010 interview on Idolator, Lauper is charmingly straightforward in her defense of younger stars and gay rights.

Alan McGee, "All Hail Cyndi Lauper, Queen of Queens," The Guardian UK (2009)
This little music blog is a whole-hearted appreciation of Cyndi Lauper's early career, as well as her less popular later work. McGee argues that integrity won out over popularity, and he has nothing but respect for Lauper's trajectory.

Video & Audio

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" Music Video
If you like anything about the '80s—the cat glasses, the girl mullets, or the computerized "special effects"—then you'll love this video. The mother in the video is Lauper's real-life mother, and the father is professional wrestling legend "Captain" Lou Albano.

"Time After Time" Music Video
Lauper kept up the camp in all her early '80s work—and the fake-auburn hair.

Miley Cyrus, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
Lauper fans will probably feel this is a crappy rip-off, and everyone should agree this is one of those Miley Cyrus attempts at coming off a little more "bad." Anthemic? Yes. Awesome? Not really.

Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga Campaign to End AIDS
Gaga is as strangely icy as always; as for Lauper, get a load of that Queens accent.