Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper song)

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"Time After Time"
Single by Cyndi Lauper
from the album She's So Unusual
B-side "I'll Kiss You"
Released January 27, 1984
Recorded June 1983 at The Record Plant (New York City, New York)
Length 4:01
Label Epic
Producer(s) Rick Chertoff
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Silver (BPI)
Platinum (Music Canada)
Cyndi Lauper singles chronology
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
"Time After Time"
"She Bop"
Music sample

"Time After Time" is a song by American singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper. It was recorded by Lauper for her debut studio album, She's So Unusual (1983), with Hyman (co-writer), contributing backing vocals. The track was produced by Rick Chertoff and released as a single on January 27, 1984. It was the second single to be released from the album and became Lauper's first #1 hit in the U.S. The song was written in the album's final stages, after "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "She Bop" and "All Through the Night" had been written. The writing began with the title, which Lauper had seen in TV Guide magazine, referring to the 1979 science fiction film Time After Time.

"Time After Time" is composed of simple keyboard-synth chords, bright, jangly guitars, clock-ticking percussion, and elastic bassline, and lyrically it's a love song of devotion. Most music critics gave the song positive reviews, with most commending the song for being a solid and memorable love song, as well as considering the track Lauper's best song. The song has been selected as one of the Best Love Songs of All Time by many media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Nerve, MTV and many others.[1] "Time After Time" was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the 1985 edition.[2]

The song was a success on the charts, becoming her first number-one single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 9, 1984 and remaining there for two weeks. Worldwide, the song is her most commercially successful single after "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", and reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number six on the ARIA Singles Chart. The song is also known for its numerous covers by a wide range of artists, including Miles Davis, who recorded an instrumental version for his 1985 album, You're Under Arrest, and Eva Cassidy, who covered the song for her album of the same name. R&B singer Lil Mo also covered the song for her 2001 debut album Based on a True Story. An acoustic version was sung by Lauper with Sarah McLachlan on her 2005 album, The Body Acoustic.[3] Lauper has performed the song live with Patti LaBelle twice in 1985 and 2004 and with Sarah McLachlan at the American Music Awards of 2005,[4] as well as with rapper Lil' Kim in 2009.

Background and recording[edit]

Rob Hyman (pictured) co-wrote and sings background vocals on the track.

While writing for her debut studio album, in the spring of 1983, Cyndi Lauper was introduced to American musician Rob Hyman, who was recommended by Rick Chertoff, the album's producer. Lauper had already recorded the majority of the album, including the songs "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "She Bop" and "All Through the Night", but Chertoff insisted that she and Hyman needed to record just "one more song". Therefore, Hyman and she sat at a piano and started working on "Time After Time".[5] The inspiration for the song came after both songwriters were going through similar things with their relationships; he was coming out of a long and hard relationship, while she was having a lot of bumps with boyfriend, David Wolff. One of the first lines Rob wrote was "suitcase of memories", which according to Lauper, "strucked her", claiming it was a "wonderful line", while other lines came from Lauper's life. The song's title was inspired after Lauper started writing for the song and needed a fake title as a placeholder for the time being. Thus, Lauper was looking in the TV Guide and saw a lot of movie titles, with the 1979 science fiction movie Time After Time being chosen. Although trying to remove the title later, Lauper claimed she couldn't take it out without the song falling apart.[5]

Initially, Epic Records wanted "Time After Time" as the album's lead-single. However, Lauper claimed that releasing a ballad first defines an artist in a certain way, noting that she could have been known as a balladeer and that it could have killed her career. Therefore, her manager Dave Wolf convinced that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" could be an anthem, and ultimately her label agreed and released it as the lead-single.[5] "Time After Time" eventually became the album's second single,[6] being released on January 27, 1984.[7]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Written by Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman and produced by Rick Chertoff, "Time After Time" is built over simple keyboard-synth chords, bright, jangly guitars, effects loop, pitch shift, clock ticking percussion, and elastic bassline.[8] Lyrically, the track is a love song of devotion.[9] Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics wrote that, "In 'Time After Time,' Lauper believes she is a difficult person, unworthy of love. She runs away and shuts people out. However, her devoted boyfriend who loves her unconditionally is willing to help her through anything. The relationship is given depth. The couple’s intimacy and history is apparent. They’ve been together for a long time. They love and have seen each other through every tough part of their life."[10]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received rave reviews from most music critics. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised the track, calling it "the album's finest moment, if not Lauper's greatest moment period."[8] Susan Glen of PopMatters also called it a standout track, naming it "gorgeous",[11] while Bryan Lee Madden of Sputnikmusic simply called it "a masterpiece" and "the best and most significant song she ever wrote or recorded."[12] Brenon Veevers of Renowned for Sound labeled it "sentimental" and "gorgeous".[13] Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics described the song as "a sure-fire classic."[10] while Scott Floman, music critic for Goldmine magazine, described the song as "gorgeously heartfelt" and "one of the decade’s finest ballads".[14] Chris Gerard of Metro Weekly summarized the song as a "beautiful and bittersweet ballad."[15]


"Time After Time" has entered many lists of "Best Love Songs of All Time", "Best Ballads from the 80's" and others. Steve Peake of About.com listed the song at number 6 on her "Top Songs of the '80s", writing that the song "stands tall among the music of the entire rock era as one of its all-time great timeless ballads," noting that "it probably still functions impeccably as a properly emotionally wrenching slow-dance favorite."[9] Bill Lamb, also from About.com, placed the song at number 21 on his "Top 100 Best Love Songs Of All Time" list.[16] On Nerve's list of "The 50 Greatest Love Songs of All Time", "Time After Time" was placed at number 5, being called "Lauper's most enduring masterpiece hits at the very essence of commitment," with the article pointing out that "she captures real romance in the most simple and straightforward of lines: 'If you're lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time'."[17] The song also entered the Rolling Stone & MTV's "100 Greatest Pop Songs" at number 66.[1] The song also entered VH1's "100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years and "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" lists, at numbers 22 and 19 respectively.[18][19] The song was also present on NME's 100 Best Songs of the 1980s, being ranked at number 79. The website declared that "‘Time After Time’ was a change in tack for Lauper, whose musical persona had previously been unstoppably light and frothy. ‘Time After Time’ was demoed quickly in time for inclusion on her debut ‘She’s So Unusual’, and ended up being a key song for both Lauper’s career and the decade itself."[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1984 – American Video Awards for Best Female Performance
  • 1984 – American Video Awards for Best Pop Video
  • 1984 – BMI Awards for Pop Award
  • 1984 – Billboard Awards for Best Female Performance
  • 1985 – Pro Canada Awards for Most Performed Foreign Song
  • 2008 – BMI Millionaire Award for 5 Million Spins on US Radio
  • 2009 – BMI Awards for Pop Award

Lists of best songs[edit]

Year By List Work Ranked
2000 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Pop Songs[1] "Time After Time" #66
2003 VH1 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years[18] "Time After Time" #22
2006 VH1 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s[19] "Time After Time" #19

Chart performance[edit]

"Time After Time" became Lauper's first number-one single on the Billboard charts, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1984.[21] It also reached the top of the Adult Contemporary[22] and Canadian Singles Chart.[23] In the United Kingdom, "Time After Time" first peaked at number 54 on March 24, 1984, while peaking later at number 3, on June 16, 1984.[24] In New Zealand, the song reached number 3,[25] in Austria it reached number 5,[26] in Switzerland it reached number 7,[27] in France it peaked at number 9[7] and in Sweden it reached a peak of number 10.[28]

Music video[edit]

Morristown, NJ, train station, seen at the end of the video.

The video for "Time After Time" was directed by Edd Griles, and its storyline is about a young woman leaving her lover behind when she becomes homesick and worried about her mother. Lauper's mother, brother, and then-boyfriend, David Wolff, appear in the video, and Lou Albano, who played her father in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" video, can be seen as a cook. Portions of the video were filmed at the now-closed Tom's Diner in Roxbury Township, New Jersey, the intersection of Central Avenue and Main Street in Wharton, New Jersey, and at the Morristown train station. According to Lauper, "It was important to me that we were natural and human in the video. I wanted to convey somebody who walked her own path and did not always get along with everyone and did not always marry the guy." The video opens with Lauper watching the 1936 film The Garden of Allah and the final scene, where she gets on the train and waves goodbye to David, has Lauper crying for real.[29]

Track listing[edit]



Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[31] 6
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[26] 5
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia)[32] 3
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[23] 1
Dutch Top 40[33] 5
France (SNEP)[7] 9
Germany (Media Control Charts)[34] 6
Ireland (IRMA)[35] 2
Italy (FIMI)[36] 5
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[37] 56
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 7
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[38] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[22] 1
Chart (2006) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[39] 14
Chart (2014) Peak
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1984) Ranking
Canadian RPM Singles 8
UK Singles Chart 25
US Billboard Hot 100 17


Country Provider Certification Sales Date
Canada Music Canada Platinum 100,000 October 1, 1984[40]
United Kingdom BPI Silver 250,000 July 1, 1984[41]
United States RIAA Gold 500,000 April 17, 1989[42]

Cover versions[edit]

American R&B singer INOJ recorded the song in 1998. Her version peaked at number six on Billboard Hot 100 Charts in the U.S.[43] The music video of this version first aired on BET and The Box.[44]

Eva Cassidy's posthumous 2000 album Time After Time featured a cover of the song. Her version was also included in the 2003 compilation album Smallville: The Talon Mix.[45]

English garage act Distant Soundz recorded a version of the song in 2002 featuring Robbie Beaumont, which reached number 20 in the UK charts.

British alt-rock act The Urbane, formed in 1994 by current It Bites frontman John Mitchell, recorded a version for the 2003 album entitled Glitter.

Irish singer/songwriter Ronan Keating rendered the song in 2008. The rendition is the first single released from Keating's fifth solo album, Songs for My Mother (2008). The single was released on February 8, 2009, and became Keating's first single to be released in three years. The song was produced by Keating himself. The song peaked at number 88 on the UK Singles Chart.[46]

In April 2011, on the premiere of the American version of the reality competition television series The Voice, Javier Colon performed an acoustic version of the song during the "blind audition" phase. The studio recording of his cover peaked at number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart,[47] number 41 on the Digital Songs chart,[48] number 16 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs chart,[49] and number 4 on the Top Heatseekers chart.[50]

Lea Michele and Chord Overstreet sang the song in the episode "Transitioning" during the sixth season of Glee.

Other versions and samples[edit]

  • U96 - Heaven (1996)[51] It reached #2 in Austria, #7 in Finland, #4 in Germany, #15 in the Netherlands, #5 in Norway, #5 in Sweden and #16 in Switzerland.
  • Novaspace - Novaspace (2002)[52] It reached #6 in Germany, #7 in Austria and #15 in Australia.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rolling Stone & MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs: 51-100". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  2. ^ "The Leading Cyndi Lauper News Site on the Net". cyndilaupernews.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  3. ^ Moser, John J. (December 3, 2005). "Time after time, Cyndi Lauper ready to defend her body of work". The Morning Call. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Returns". IGN Music. September 15, 2005. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Lauper, Cindy (2012). Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster,. ISBN 9781439147856. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Lescharts.com – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (29 September 2003). "Cyndi Lauper: She's So Unusual". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Peake, Steve. "Top Cyndi Lauper Songs of the '80s". About.com. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Avoledo, Pam (January 15, 2006). "Single Review: Cyndi Lauper "Time After Time"". Blogcritics. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ Glen, Susan. "Cyndi Lauper: She's So Unusual | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Madden, Bryan Lee (February 17, 2010). "Cyndi Lauper: She's So Unusual (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ Veevers, Brendon (April 14, 2014). "Album Review: Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (A 30th Anniversary Celebration)". Renowned for Sound. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Album Reviews". Sfloman.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  15. ^ Gerard, Chris (April 3, 2014). "Cyndi Lauper’s "She’s So Unusual" 30 Years Later". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Top 100 Best Love Songs Of All Time". About.com. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ "The 50 Greatest Love Songs of All Time". Nerve. February 10, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "VH1: 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years: 1-50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  19. ^ a b "VH1: 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's: 1-50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  20. ^ "100 Best Songs of the 1980s | NME". NME. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ Lauper, Cyndi. "7". Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439147856. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Cyndi Lauper (Charts) at Billboard". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Top Singles - Volume 40, No. 14, June 09 1984". RPM (magazine). June 9, 1984. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b "Cyndi Lauper: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  25. ^ a b "Charts.org.nz – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time". Singles Top 60. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  29. ^ "7". Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Simon and Schuste. ISBN 9781471114274. 
  30. ^ "Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time (US Single) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  31. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  32. ^ "Ultratop.be – Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time" (in French). Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  33. ^ "Top 40: Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Cyndi Lauper > Time After Time – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  35. ^ "The Irish Chart - Cyndi Lauper". Irish Charts. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  36. ^ Hitparadeitalia (1984). "Hitparadeitalia Chart". Hitparadeitalia Charts. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  37. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Album & Song Chart History" Japan Hot 100 for Cyndi Lauper.
  38. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Cyndi Lauper. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  39. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Cyndi Lauper. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  40. ^ Canadian Certification
  41. ^ UK Certification
  42. ^ US Certification
  43. ^ "INOJ". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  44. ^ Hay, Carly (March 20, 1999). "Popular Uprisings: Billboard's Weekly Coverage of Hot Prospects for the Heatseekers Chart". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  45. ^ Phares, Heather. Smallville: The Talon Mix at AllMusic
  46. ^ "ChartArchive - Ronan Keating - Time After Time". Chartstats.com. 2009-03-28. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  47. ^ "Javier Colon: Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Javier Colon: Chart History - Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Javier Colon: Chart History - R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Javier Colon: Chart History - Heatseekers Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  51. ^ "hitparade.ch U96 - Heaven". Retrieved 2014-12-29. 
  52. ^ "hitparade.ch Novaspace - Time after time". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lauper, Cindy (2012). Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Simon and Schuste. ISBN 9781439147856 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"The Longest Time" by Billy Joel
Billboard Adult Contemporary number one single
June 2, 1984 (1984-06-02)  – June 16, 1984 (1984-06-16)
Succeeded by
"Believe in Me" by Dan Fogelberg
Preceded by
"Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
June 9, 1984 (1984-06-09)  – June 16, 1984 (1984-06-16)
Succeeded by
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran
Preceded by
"Hello" by Lionel Richie
RPM Top Singles number one single
June 9, 1984 (1984-06-09)  – June 23, 1984 (1984-06-23)
Succeeded by
"Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams