My Favorite Videos Part Nineteen: Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’

The newest installment in the Favorite Music Videos series is Cyndi Lauper‘s 1983 hit “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”

This work is one of the early landmarks of the music video genre (like many that we’ve seen collected here). Wikipedia says this about the song:

The song was written by Robert Hazard, who recorded it in 1979. He wrote it from a male point of view. For Lauper’s version, she changed the lyrics slightly to allow it to be performed by a female and Hazard approved the minor changes. Her version appeared on her 1983 debut solo record, She’s So Unusual. It is a synthesizer-backed anthem about the roles of women in society and is considered by many to be a feminist classic of the era. Gillian G. Gaar, author of She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll (2002), described the single and corresponding video as a “strong feminist statement”, an “anthem of female solidarity” and a “playful romp celebrating female camaraderie.”

The variety of releases of the single includes an Austrian birthday card with a 3″ CD of the song inside. The song has been heavily distributed in karaoke version as well. Lauper later went on to completely re-work the song in 1994 resulting in the new hit “Hey Now (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)“. The song was remade by Lauper yet again in 2005 on her The Body Acoustic album, also produced by Chertoff and Wittman with Lauper, with guest support vocals from Japanese pop/rock duo Puffy AmiYumi.

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(Try this link if the video fails to load or play.)

Some interesting facts about the video include the very low cost of its production…and that Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels lent the crew his state-of-the-art (for that time) video editing equipment for its post-production:

The release of the single was accompanied by a quirky music video. It cost less than $35,000, largely due to a volunteer cast and the free loan of the most sophisticated video equipment available at the time. The cast included professional wrestling manager “Captain” Lou Albano in the role of Lauper’s father while her real mother, Catrine, played herself (Cyndi would later return the favor by appearing in WWF storylines opposite Albano and guest-starring in an episode of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, where she announces Albano is missing because of a letter he wrote her, with part of it torn off leaving out an important detail). Lauper’s attorney, Elliot Hoffman, appeared as her uptight dancing partner. Also in the cast were Lauper’s manager, David Wolf, her brother, Butch Lauper, fellow musician Steve Forbert, and a bevy of secretaries borrowed from Portrait/CBS, Lauper’s record label.

Lorne Michaels (Broadway Video, SNL), another of Hoffman’s clients, agreed to give Lauper free run of his brand new million-dollar digital editing equipment, with which she and her producer created several first-time-ever computer generated images of Lauper dancing with her buttoned-up lawyer, leading the entire cast in a snake-dance through New York streets and ending up in Lauper’s bedroom in her home. The bedroom scene is a homage to the famous stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ film A Night at the Opera.

Before the song starts, the beginning of her version of “He’s So Unusual” plays.

The music video was directed by Edd Griles. The producer was Ken Walz while the cinematographer was Francis Kenny. The treatment for the video was co-written by Griles, Walz, and Cyndi Lauper. The video was shot in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in summer 1983 and premiered on television in December 1983.

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2 thoughts on “My Favorite Videos Part Nineteen: Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’

  1. Can’t read the yellow print on a white background! This great video was further immortalized in David Lee Roth’s “Just a Gigilo” video, another classic I’d lihe to hear your thoughts on.

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