Cynthia Anne Stephanie Lauper was born 20 June 1953 in New York, NY, living first in the section of Brooklyn called Williamsburg and then in Queens after her parents divorced. She left home in 1970 and traveled through Canada with her dog. After studying art at Vermont College, she launched her musical career in 1974 by joining the Long Island band Doc West as lead singer, then moving to the band Flyer, with whom she stayed for several years. In 1977 she lost her voice and doctors predicted she would never sing again, but with extensive vocal training Lauper proved the doctors wrong. She met keyboardist John Turi and together they formed Blue Angel, which signed a record deal with Polydor in 1979. The band released one self-titled album in 1980, and then split up. In 1981, Lauper was working at a west-side boutique called Screaming Mimi's and singing Top 40 tunes at Miho's, a Japanese piano bar in New York when she met David Wolff, her future boyfriend and manager. The following year she declared bankruptcy in a court case related to her time with Blue Angel.
Following the release and phenomenal success of "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in 1984, many people would write Lauper off as a one-hit novelty. But she would prove herself to be reliable hit-maker, one of the most popular female acts in '80s pop, and an icon to many young woman because she proved that you could look and act in unconventional ways and still be accepted.
Wolff secures Lauper a recording contract with Portrait, a CBS/Columbia subsidiary. Aided by Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman of the Philadelphia-based band, Hooters, Lauper begins work on her debut album.
Lauper's debut album, She's So Unusual, is released.
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" spends two weeks at US#2, and also climbs to UK#2. The following month, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" wins Best Female Video at the 2nd Annual American Video Awards.
"Time After Time," a ballad Lauper co-wrote with Rob Hyman, soars to US#1, making Lauper the first female artist since Petula Clark to have her first two charted singles make it to the Top 3. The song also reaches UK#3. The popular -- and autobiographical -- video features Lauper's mother, boyfriend Wolff, and mentor Captain Lou Albano, the wrestler. She's So Unusual climbs to US#4 and UK#16, and will eventually sell over five million copies in the U.S. alone.
"She Bop" peaks at US#3, Lauper's third gold disc in a row, and making her the only female artist to have her first three charted singles reach the Top 3. In the UK the single stalls at #46. "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" wins Best Female Video at the 1st Annual MTV Video Awards, held in New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Lauper's cover of "All Through The Night" makes it to US#5, her fourth Top 5 hit of the year, making Lauper the first artist in the rock era to have four Top 10 singles off a debut album. Billboard names her Top New Pop Artist.
Lauper wins Favorite Female Artist and Favorite Female Video Artist in the Pop/Rock category at the 12th Annual American Music Awards. Later this month she joins 45 other artists to record "We Are The World" (USA For Africa) at A&M Studios, Hollywood.
The fifth single from She's So Unusual, "Money Changes Everything," peaks at US#27. Lauper wins Best New Artist at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards.
Lauper contributes two songs to the soundtrack for The Goonie and one of them, "The Goonies R Good Enough," makes it to US#10.
"True Colors," the first release from Lauper's upcoming second album (by the same name) climbs to UK#12.
True Colors hits US#4 and UK#25. Lauper tours in Japan and Australia. Next month, "True Colors" will make #1 on the US Top 100 chart and remain there for two weeks. It is her second #1 hit.
"Change Of Heart," which Lauper co-wrote with Essra Mohawk, and featuring The Bangles on backup vocals, peaks at US#3.
Lauper's cover of the Marvin Gaye hit, "What's Going On," climbs to US#12. Previously it had peaked at #57 in the UK.
Lauper performs at the 4th Annual MTV Video Music Awards.
"Hole In My Heart (All The Way To China," from the film Vibes, in which Lauper makes her acting debut, reaches US#54.
Lauper is among the artists who perform at the "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" summit in the Soviet Union.
RIAA certifies "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" platinum.
"I Drove All Night" peaks at UK# 7, Lauper's first Top 10 hit in Great Britain since "TIme After Time" (1984). Next month the song will climb to US#6.
A Night To Remember, co-produced by Lauper and featuring Eric Clapton, hits UK#9 and US#37.
She's So Unusual (Portrait, 1984)
Money Changes Everything
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
When You Were Mine
Time After Time
All Through The Night
I'll Kiss You
She's So Unusual
"Brooklyn-bred Cyndi Lauper sounds like no other singer on the current scene. She may be the finest female junk-rock vocalist since the heyday of the great Maureen Gray, more than twenty years ago. Like Gray, a black Philadelphian who had a string of local hits in the Sixties, Lauper has a wild and wonderful skyrocket of a voice–the epitome of pre-Beatles girl-group pop–and at her best, as she often is on this smartly produced solo debut, she sounds like a missing musical link with that long-gone golden age."
Kurt Loder, Rolling Stone (413)
"How much can a man take of a squeaky voice that lies somewhere between Hilda Ogden singing and a cat being strangled half to death?"
"At least 75 percent of this material has HIT branded on each and every note."
True Colors (Portrait, 1986)
Change Of Heart
Maybe He'll Know
Calm Inside The Storm
What's Going On
One Track Mind
"Considering what a unique and remarkable singer Lauper is, the squandering of her gifts on this uninspired, half-baked throwaway is tragic."
The Best Remixes (Epic, 1989)
Girls Just Want To Have Fun (extended version)
She Bop (special dance mix)
(The Goonies 'R')Good Enough (dance remix)
Change Of Heart (extended version)
What's Going On (club version)
Money Changes Everything (extended live version)
A Night To Remember (Epic, 1989)
Drove All Night
My First Night Without You
Like A Cat
Night To Remember
Dancing With A Stranger
I Don't Want To Be Your Friend
"Lauper's third solo album, has its hits and misses, but it's united by a dozen vocal performances that steamroll over most objections."
Jimmy Guterman, Rolling Stone (554)
In the mid-Eighties Lauper became obsessed with the sport of wrestling and spent a couple of years heavily involved in promoting it.
During her "salad days" in New York, while singing with the band Doc West, Lauper sold karate lessons and walked horses at Belmont Park to make extra money.
"True Colors," the big hit off Lauper's second album, was the only track that the artist did not help write.
Lauper received an honorary diploma from Richmond High School, Queens, in 1988.
The video for "My First Night Without You," released in 1989, was one of the first to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
In 1990, Lauper appeared in an all-star production of Pink Floyd's The Wall in Berlin.
IN 1991, Lauper ended her long relationship with manager David Wolff and married actor David Thompson. Six years later, while on a U.S. tour with Tina Turner, Lauper announced that she was expecting a child. A son, Declyn, was born in November of that year.