Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper Thornton (born June 22, 1953), better known as Cyndi Lauper, was born in Queens, New York. She began her career in a cover band, Blue Angel, in the late 1970s and early 1980s (she almost quit singing altogether due to a week with strained vocal chords in 1977), and in 1983 started dating her manager David Wolff with whom she released She's So Unusual, a worldwide hit which made Lauper a household name. A mixture of teen-friendly pop-rock and edgier, almost punky sounds, the album’s biggest hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, quickly established itself as a female anthem. Lauper won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards of 1984 for her work on the album. Cyndi Lauper was the first female artist to have four consecutive Hot 100 Top Five hits from one album, She's So Unusual.
The album also included “She Bop” and the romantic ballad “Time After Time”, an instant “standard” which has since been covered by over 70 artists (most notably Miles Davis). Lauper was popular with teenagers, in part because of her quirky image which took the popular late 1970s punk look and marketed it to a mainstream audience. At this stage of her career, she was often compared to Madonna.
In 1986, after recording the song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” for the 1985 film The Goonies, Lauper released her second album, True Colors. Revealing a more mature sound and sensibility, it reached numberfour on the Billboard 200. The title song went on to become her second Platinum number one hit. She also sang the jaunty theme song for the series, “Pee-wee's Playhouse”, as well.
Lauper’s third album, 1989’s A Night to Remember, though critically well-received, was not as commercially successful as its predecessors, spawning just one hit, “I Drove All Night”, which was originally penned for Roy Orbison. Orbison’s version was not released until 1992, three years after Lauper’s version and four years after Orbison’s death.
Lauper took a break from singing in 1990, but didn’t disappear from show business, and in 1993 she played Michael J. Fox’s secretary in My Life With Mikey. She released the critically acclaimed album Hat Full of Stars in the same year, but once again sales were poor. With a smooth new R&B sound and production by Junior Vasquez, she tackled such topics as spousal abuse and abortion.
In 1995 Lauper won an Emmy award for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for her portrayal of wealthy contessa Marianne Lugasso in Mad About You. She also released Twelve Deadly Cyns... and Then Some, a greatest hits compilation that included two new tracks, one of which was a remix of her first big hit, newly christened “Hey Now (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)”. The album was released under a number of different titles, packaging and track listings around the world.
Her 1997 album, Sisters of Avalon, brought her back into the limelight. With subject matter even more adult than before, it was quickly embraced by the gay community for its dance and club stylings. The topicality of the album also contributed to its “pink” appeal: “Ballad of Cleo and Joe” addressed the complications of a drag queen’s double life, while “You Don’t Know” tackled the thorny issue of coming out.
In 2001 Lauper prepared an album, Shine, which saw her returning to her early pop/rock sound without losing the “maturity” she had embraced on later records. Just weeks before the album’s scheduled release, however, her label, Edel America Records, folded, and, to Lauper’s consternation, the tracks were leaked to the public. Although a five song E.P. of the same name was made available through her website and at Tower Records, the full length album concept was scrapped.
In 2003, an EP of remixes from the unreleased Shine album was sold on the Edel America Records website. Additionally Lauper’s former label Sony issued a new greatest hits CD entitled The Essential Cyndi Lauper. She then re-signed with Sony/Epic Records, the label that made her a star, and a new album called Naked City was in the works. She maintains a devoted fan base and lives in New York with her husband, actor David Thornton, and their child.
In November 2003 an album of standards was released entitled At Last (formerly Naked City), which became a top 40 hit in the US and Australia. In March of 2004 the full length Shine album was finally released, though exclusively in Japan.
She was nominated for a 2005 Grammy award for “Best Instrumental Composition Accompanying a Voca” for her interpretation of the song “Unchained Melody” on her At Last album.
Bring Ya to the Brink (2008), featuring “Got Candy” and “Can't Breathe”, is Cyndi's first album of new material in twelve years.