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

"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] It's their biggest hit in the United States who spent 2 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, was the last single from Lauper to occupy the top of the chart and their biggest hit on a global scale.

Song information[edit]

Billy Steinberg originally wrote "True Colors" about his own mother. Tom Kelly altered the first verse and the duo submitted the song to Cyndi Lauper. 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", the former of which went on to be covered by Celine Dion, the latter of which went on to be covered 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. 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.

Chart performance[edit]


Country Certification Sales
Japan 11,240
Canada Gold 10,000
United States Platinum 1,000,000
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[5]
Format CD
Genre Pop, Smooth jazz
Length 4:34
Label Atlantic, Virgin, WEA
Writer(s) Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg
Producer(s) Phil Collins, Hugh Padgham
Phil Collins singles chronology
"The Same Moon"
"True Colors"
"You'll Be in My Heart"

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 Babyface provided backing vocals. The song was aired on the radio and music video TV programs to promote it in the mid of August 1998.

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.


Chart (1998) Peak
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]


  1. ^ a b "True Colors by Cyndi Lauper". Interview with Billy Steinberg about "True Colors". Songfacts. Retrieved 9 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '86". RPM. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  3. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - Single 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  4. ^ "1986 The Year in Music and Video". Billboard 98 (52). 1986-12-27. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  5. ^ Genesis Music[dead link]
  6. ^ Peugeot 406 True colours (Dominique Moore) YouTube
  7. ^ Forever Young (Single) George Skaroulis

External links[edit]