True Colors (song)

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""True Colors""
Single by Cyndi Lauper
from the album True Colors
B-side "Heading for the Moon"
Released August 25, 1986
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded March 3, 1986
Genre Pop
Length 3:47
Label Epic
Writer(s) Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg
Producer(s) Cyndi Lauper, Lennie Petze
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Gold (Music Canada)
Cyndi Lauper singles chronology
"The Goonies 'R' Good Enough"
(1985)
"True Colors"
(1986)
"Change of Heart"
(1986)

"True Colors" is a song written by songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from Cyndi Lauper's second album. It was the only original song on the album that Lauper did not help write.[1] "True Colors" spent two weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the last single from Lauper to occupy the top of the chart. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Song information[edit]

Billy Steinberg originally wrote "True Colors" about his own mother. Tom Kelly altered the first verse and the duo originally submitted the song to Anne Murray, who passed, and then to Cyndi Lauper.[2] Their demo was in a form of piano based gospel ballad like "Bridge over Troubled Water". Steinberg told Songfacts that "Cyndi completely dismantled that sort of traditional arrangement and came up with something that was breathtaking and stark."[1] Other songs they wrote for Cyndi Lauper include "I Drove All Night" and "Unconditional Love", of which the former went on to be covered by Celine Dion, the latter by Susanna Hoffs.

It reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, 3 in Australia, and 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

"True Colors" also became a standard in the gay community. In various interviews, Cyndi elaborated that the song had resonated with her because of the recent death of her friend, Gregory Natal, from HIV/AIDS.[3] While not directly promoted as a song defending LGBT rights, Cindy is pleased that her song was adopted by that community.[4] Years later, Cindy Lauper co-founded the True Colors Fund,[5] a non-profit dedicated to eradicating LGBT youth homelessness.

A choral version of the song was used in a series of TV commercials advertising a variety of Kodak's color photographic film products.

Lauper embarked on a True Colors Tour in 2007 with several other acts including Deborah Harry and Erasure. The tour was for the Human Rights Campaign to promote human rights in the US and beyond. A second True Colors tour occurred in 2008.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 3
Ö3 Austria Top 40 12
Canadian Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 49
German Singles Chart 18
German Airplay 6
Ireland Singles Chart 6
Italy Singles Chart[6] 4
Japan Hot 100 59
Netherlands Singles Chart 7
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 3
Norway Singles Chart 10
Swedish Singles Chart 4
Swiss Singles Chart 17
UK Singles Chart 12
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Cash Box 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 5
Chart (2008) Peak
position
Norway Singles Chart 17

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Position
US Billboard Hot 100 41

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales
Japan 11,240
Canada Gold 50,000[7]
United States Platinum 1,000,000[8]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"When I Think of You" by Janet Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
October 25, 1986 - November 1, 1986
Succeeded by
"Amanda" by Boston
Preceded by
"The Lady in Red" by Chris de Burgh
Canadian RPM Singles Chart number one single
November 8, 1986
Succeeded by
"Human" by The Human League
Preceded by
"Typical Male" by Tina Turner
Cashbox Top 100
November 1, 1986
Succeeded by
"Amanda" by Boston

Official versions[edit]

  1. Album Version
  2. Juniors 12" Vocal Mix
  3. Junior's 7" Mix
  4. Junior's Gay Pride '98 Mix
  5. Junior's Main Pass Mix Edit
  6. Junior's Reprise Mix
  7. Junior's Romantic Love Mix
  8. Juniorverse Mix

Phil Collins version[edit]

"True Colors"
Single by Phil Collins
from the album ...Hits
B-side Don't Lose My Number
Take Me Home
Released 26 October 1998
Format CD
Genre Pop, smooth jazz, R&B, blue-eyed soul
Length 4:34
Label Atlantic, Virgin, WEA
Writer(s) Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg
Producer(s) Babyface
Phil Collins singles chronology
"The Same Moon"
(1997)
"True Colors"
(1998)
"You'll Be in My Heart"
(1999)

In 1998, the song was covered by Phil Collins for his compilation album ...Hits. The version was a smooth-jazz-influenced version compared to the original. R&B singer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds produced and provided backing vocals.

The track peaked at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and at number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.

In 2004, a live rehearsal version was released on Collins' Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New album.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Dutch Singles Chart 73
German Singles Chart 35
UK Singles Chart 26
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 12
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 2

Cover versions[edit]

In addition to the notable Phil Collins cover, the following artists have covered this song.

1990s
2000s
2010s

References[edit]

External links[edit]