She's So Unusual

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She's So Unusual
Studio album by Cyndi Lauper
Released October 14, 1983
Recorded Summer 1983 Record Plant
(New York City, New York)[1]
Genre Pop,[2] new wave,[3] dance-pop[4]
Length 38:42
Label Portrait
Producer Rick Chertoff, William Wittman
Cyndi Lauper chronology
She's So Unusual
True Colors
Singles from She's So Unusual
  1. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
    Released: September 6, 1983
  2. "Time After Time"
    Released: January 27, 1984
  3. "She Bop"
    Released: July 2, 1984
  4. "All Through the Night"
    Released: September 1984
  5. "Money Changes Everything"
    Released: July 20, 1984
  6. "I'll Kiss You"
    Released: August 11, 1984 (U.S. promo-only)
  7. "When You Were Mine"
    Released: January 31, 1985

She's So Unusual is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper, released on October 14, 1983 by Portrait Records. The album was re-released in 2014 to commemorate its 30th anniversary, and was called She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration. The re-release contains demos and remixes of previously released material, as well as new artwork.[5]

In 1978, Lauper formed the band Blue Angel.[6] The band soon signed a recording contract with Polydor Records; however, their debut album, Blue Angel, was a commercial failure. The band parted ways after firing their manager, who sued Lauper for $80,000 and forced her into bankruptcy.[7] Lauper went on to sing in many New York night clubs, and caught the eye of David Wolf, who became her manager and subsequently got her signed to Portrait Records.

The album is primarily new wave-based, with many of the songs being influenced by synthpop and pop rock. Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from music critics, who noted Lauper's unique vocals. Lauper earned several awards and accolades for the album, including two Grammy Awards at the 27th Grammy Awards, one of which was for Best New Artist. She's So Unusual peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed in the chart's top forty for 65 weeks. It has sold over 6 million copies in the United States and 25 million copies worldwide. This makes it Lauper's best-selling album to date and one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s.[8][9][10] The album was the second best-selling album in Canada by a female artist in the 1980s, behind Whitney Houston's self titled debut album, selling more than 900,000 copies.[11] The album ranked at #487 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, and ranked at #41 on Rolling Stone's list of Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012.[12]

Seven singles were released from the album, with "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" becoming a worldwide hit and her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. "Time After Time" became her first number-one hit on the chart and experienced similar success worldwide. Lauper found success with the next two singles as well, with both "She Bop" and "All Through the Night" peaking in the top five. This makes Lauper the first female singer to have four top five singles on the Hot 100 from one album.[13] She's So Unusual was promoted by the Fun Tour throughout 1983 and 1984.


In 1978, Lauper met saxophone player John Turi and formed the band Blue Angel. They recorded a demo tape of original music. Steve Massarsky heard the tape and liked Lauper's voice. He bought out Blue Angel's contract for $5,000 and became their manager.

Lauper received many offers to go solo, but rebuffed any offer that didn't include the rest of the band. Blue Angel was eventually signed by Polydor Records and released a self-titled album on the label in 1980. Despite critical acclaim, the album was a commercial failure. The members of Blue Angel also had a falling-out with Massarsky and fired him as their manager. He later filed an $80,000 suit against them, which forced Lauper into bankruptcy.[7]

After Blue Angel broke up, Lauper spent time working in retail stores and singing in local clubs. In 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who took over as her manager. With his help, Lauper signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records, in the spring of 1983 and soon began recording her debut album.[14]


The front cover of She's So Unusual was photographed on Henderson Walk in Coney Island, New York in the summer of 1983 by Annie Leibovitz. Lauper is depicted wearing a vintage red prom-style dress that she purchased at the vintage clothing shop where she used to work, Screaming Mimi's. She is also seen holding a bouquet of flowers which were purchased from a vendor on the boardwalk at the time of the shoot. Lauper has heavy costume jewelry on her ears, arms, neck and her right ankle. She is barefoot, with the exception of the fishnet stockings, and her red high-heels appear to have been taken off in front of her as they lay on their sides at the bottom of the photo. The cover shot was captured in front of the wax museum, The World In Wax Musee. It can be seen behind Lauper that the museum had been closed for some time and at the time of closure was featuring a wax statue of Puerto Rican baseball great Roberto Clemente. The wooden awning above the doorway with the two blue panels read the name of the museum. The first panel read "The World" and second panel read "In Wax". This was airbrushed out of the photograph for unknown reasons.

The cover won Janet Perr the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1985.[15]


The lead single from the album was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", released on September 6, 1983. This single achieved massive success in the United States with its music video playing in heavy rotation on several stations, and eventually peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It received Platinum certification from the RIAA for sales of 2,000,000 copies.[16] The single was a success internationally, reaching the top ten in 19 countries and number one in 10 countries, including; Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Norway. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" received nominations at the 1985 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and won Best Female Video at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, among several nominations.

"Time After Time" was the second single released from the album, and was released in April 1984. It repeated the success of the previous single and spent two consecutive weeks at number one on the Hot 100, becoming Lauper's first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually spending a total of 20 weeks on the chart and receiving Gold certification from the RIAA for 1,000,000 copies sold.[16] Like the previous single, "Time After Time" was an international success and reached the top ten in 15 countries. The song received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.

The third single from the album was "She Bop", released on July 2, 1984. This single reached number three on the Hot 100, becoming her third consecutive top five hit, and spent a total of 18 weeks on the chart. With sales of over 1,000,000 copies, the song was certified gold by the RIAA. The single proved to be another international success for Lauper, reaching the top ten in 8 countries. "She Bop" was controversial upon release and placed at number 15 on the PMRC's "Filthy Fifteen".[17]

"All Through the Night" was the fourth single released from the album, released in September 1984. Like Lauper's previous three singles, "All Through The Night" reached the top five of the Hot 100 with a peak of number five. The song was a moderate international success, reaching the top ten in 6 countries, and received Gold certification in Canada.[18]

The fifth single from the album was "Money Changes Everything", released in December 1984. It was a moderate success and reached number #27 on the Hot 100, Lauper's first single to not reach the top ten.

The sixth single from the album was "I'll Kiss You", released on August 11, 1984. It was released as a promotional single only, and as such, was ineligible to enter the Hot 100.

The seventh and final single from the album was a cover of the Prince song, "When You Were Mine", released on January 31, 1985 in Canada and Japan and as a promotional single in the United States. It achieved little success, reaching number #62 on the Canadian Singles Chart.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[19]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[2]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[20]
The Village Voice A[21]

She's So Unusual peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, due to the success of the album's first single on U.S. radio and intense display of its music video on MTV. In the weeks following, the album's sales remained stable thanks to the following four singles and Lauper's world tour and appearances on popular television and radio programs. Overall the album stayed 77 weeks on the Billboard 200. The album became one of the bestselling albums of 1984. It has since sold over 6 million copies in the United States, where it was certified six times platinum by the RIAA, which lists it as one of the Best Selling Albums of All Time. She's So Unusual has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.[5]

She's So Unusual was voted the eleventh best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1984.[22] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the album a "giddy mix of self-confidence, effervescent popcraft, unabashed sentimentality, subversiveness, and clever humor".[3] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it "a pop classic".[2] Alternative Press said that, with "some fine tunes" and the CD reissue's three bonus tracks, the album "certainly bears another listen."[23]


She's So Unusual and its singles earned Lauper six Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year and ultimately winning the awards for Best Recording Package and Best New Artist. "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and "Time After Time" was nominated for Song of the Year. Lauper earned ten MTV Video Music Award nominations. "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" received six nominations including Video of the Year, and won for Best Female Video. "Time After Time" received three nominations and "She Bop" received one nomination. In 2002, the album was ranked number 41 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 50 Essential "Women In Rock" Albums.[24] In 2003, the album was ranked number 494 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[25] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #22 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s" saying "An absolutely peerless collection of profound pop jewels".[26]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1984 "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year Nominated
MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist Nominated
MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video Won
MTV Video Music Award for Best Concept Video Nominated
MTV Video Music Award – Viewer's Choice Nominated
MTV Video Music Award for Best Overall Performance Nominated
"Time After Time" MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist Nominated
MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video Nominated
MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction Nominated
1985 Cyndi Lauper Grammy Award for Best New Artist Won
She's So Unusual Grammy Award for Best Album Package Won
Grammy Award for Album of the Year Nominated
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" Grammy Award for Record of the Year Nominated
Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
"Time After Time" Grammy Award for Song of the Year Nominated
"She Bop" MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video Nominated

30th anniversary tour[edit]

2013 marks the 30th Anniversary of this record. To honor it and to thank her fans for the success they've brought on this record up until today, Lauper is embarking on a World Tour called the "She's So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour".

As part of the show, Lauper sings the entire track listing of the record in the order it appears on the CD while telling stories about the production of the record and her life at the time she recorded it.

Track listings[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Publisher Length
1. "Money Changes Everything"   Tom Gray Gray Matter Music/ATV Music Corp. 5:06
2. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"   Robert Hazard Heroic Music 3:51
3. "When You Were Mine"   Prince Ecnirp Music 5:06
4. "Time After Time"   Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman Dub Notes, Rella Music 4:03
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Publisher Length
5. "She Bop"   Lauper, Rick Chertoff, Gary Corbett, Stephen Broughton Lunt Rellla Music Co., Noyb Music Co., Wall to Wall Music Co. & Hobbler Music 3:47
6. "All Through the Night"   Jules Shear Funzalo Music/Juters Music Co. 4:33
7. "Witness"   Lauper, John Turi Turalaura Music and Turi Music 3:40
8. "I'll Kiss You"   Lauper, Shear Rellla Music Co., Funzalo Music / Juters Music Co. 4:12
9. "He's So Unusual"   Al Sherman, Al Lewis, Abner Silver Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc 0:45
10. "Yeah Yeah"   Hasse Huss, Mikael Rickfors Stainless Music Corp. 3:18
  • "Irvine Meadows" live tracks recorded on the Fun Tour at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, Laguna Hills, California, USA (22 September 1984).[27]
  • "Summer Sonic 07" live track recorded at Japan Summer Sonic Festival, either Osaka (11 August 2007) or Tokyo (12 August 2007).[28]
  • Tracks 11 to 13 are bonus tracks on the 2000 remastered version (and after)
  • Tracks 11 to 14 are bonus tracks on the 2008 Japan remastered Mini-LP version[29] (& 2013 re-issue of same).
  • In 2013, the 2008 Japan remaster was reissued on BSCD2 format with the same 2008 tracklisting.[30]


  • Cyndi Lauper – arranger, lead vocals, background vocals, reissue producer, cover art concept
  • Jules Shear – backing vocals
  • Ellie Greenwich – backing vocals
  • John Agnello – engineer, assistant engineer
  • Eric Bazilian – bass, guitar, arranger, saxophone, backing vocals, Hooter
  • Rick Chertoff – percussion, arranger, producer
  • Krystal Davis – backing vocals
  • Rick DiFonzo – guitar
  • Anton Fig – percussion, drums
  • Rob Hyman – arranger, keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, Hooter melodica
  • John Jansen – engineer
  • Neil Jason – bass, guitar
  • George Marino – re-issue mastering
  • Rod O'Brien – engineer
  • Lennie Petze – producer, executive producer, reissue producer
  • Maretha Stewart – backing vocals
  • Richard Termini – synthesizer
  • Diane Wilson – backing vocals
  • William Wittman – guitar, producer, engineer, associate producer
  • Peter Wood – synthesizer
  • Dan Beck – product manager
  • Amy Linden – liner notes
  • Janet Perr – art direction, design, concept, cover art concept
  • Justin Ware – hair stylist
  • Annie Leibovitz – photography



Region Certification Sales/shipments
Brazil (ABPD)[citation needed] Platinum 300,000[9]
Canada (Music Canada)[46] 8× Platinum 900,000[47]
France (SNEP)[48] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 250,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[50] Gold 10,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[51] Gold 372,000[52]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[53] Platinum 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[54] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[56] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^
Worldwide 8,097,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


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External links[edit]