Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper song)

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"Time After Time"
Time after time by Cyndi Lauper US vinyl.png
Side A of US vinyl release
Single by Cyndi Lauper
from the album She's So Unusual
B-side"I'll Kiss You"
ReleasedJanuary 27, 1984
RecordedJune 1983
StudioThe Record Plant (New York City, New York)
Genre
Length4:01
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Rick Chertoff
Cyndi Lauper singles chronology
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
(1983)
"Time After Time"
(1984)
"She Bop"
(1984)
Music video
"Time After Time" on YouTube

"Time After Time" is a 1983 song by American singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper, co-written with Rob Hyman. It was the second single released from her debut studio album, She's So Unusual (1983), with Hyman contributing backing vocals. The track was produced by Rick Chertoff and released as a single on January 27, 1984. The song became Lauper's first number 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 science fiction film Time After Time (1979).[3]

Music critics gave the song positive reviews, with many commending the song for being a solid and memorable love 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.[4] "Time After Time" was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the 1985 edition.[5] The song was a success on the charts, becoming her first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 9, 1984, and remaining there for two weeks. The song reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number six on the ARIA Singles Chart.

Background and recording[edit]

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

Although "Time After Time" would eventually become one of Lauper's signature songs, it was one of the last songs on her debut album to be recorded. While Lauper was still writing material for She's So Unusual in the spring of 1983, her producer, Rick Chertoff introduced her to American musician Rob Hyman, a founding member of the Hooters. Lauper had by then already recorded the majority of the album, including the songs "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "She Bop," but Chertoff insisted that she and Hyman needed to record just "one more song". Therefore, she and Hyman sat at a piano and started working on "Time After Time".[6]

Cyndi Lauper (1985)

The inspiration for the song came from the fact that both songwriters were going through similar challenges in their respective romantic relationships; Hyman was coming out of a relationship, while Lauper was having difficulties with her boyfriend/manager, David Wolff. One of the first lines Rob wrote was "suitcase of memories," which according to Lauper, "struck her," claiming it was a "wonderful line," while other lines came from Lauper's life experiences. The song's title was borrowed from a TV Guide listing for the 1979 movie Time After Time, which Lauper had intended to use only as a temporary placeholder during the writing process. Although she later tried to change the song's name, she said that she felt at some point that "Time After Time" had become so fundamental to the song that it would fall apart with a different title.[6]

Initially, Epic Records wanted "Time After Time" as the album's lead single. However, Lauper felt that releasing a ballad as her debut solo single would have pigeonholed her stylistically as a balladeer, limiting her future work and thus potentially killing her career. Wolff felt that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" could become a successful pop anthem and was a better choice; ultimately the label agreed and released it as the lead single instead.[6] "Time After Time" became the album's second single,[7] released on January 27, 1984.[8]

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, clock ticking percussion, and elastic bassline.[9] Lyrically, the track is a love song of devotion. Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics speculates 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]

"Time After Time" is written in the key of C major with a tempo of 130 beats per minute[11] in common time. Lauper's vocals span from G3 to C5 in the song.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received critical acclaim:

  • Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised the track, calling it "the album's finest moment, if not Lauper's greatest moment period."[9]
  • Susan Glen of PopMatters also called it a standout track, naming it "gorgeous".[13]
  • Bryan Lee Madden of Sputnikmusic simply called it "a masterpiece" and "the best and most significant song she ever wrote or recorded."[14]
  • Brenon Veevers of Renowned for Sound labeled it "sentimental" and "gorgeous".[15]
  • Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics described the song as "a sure-fire classic".[10]
  • Scott Floman, music critic for Goldmine magazine, described the song as "gorgeously heartfelt" and "one of the decade’s finest ballads".[16]
  • Chris Gerard of Metro Weekly summarized the song as a "beautiful and bittersweet ballad."[17]

Accolades[edit]

"Time After Time" has entered many lists of "Best Love Songs of All Time", "Best Ballads from the 80s" and others. Bill Lamb, also from About.com, placed the song at number 21 on his "Top 100 Best Love Songs Of All Time" list.[18] 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'."[19]

The song also entered the Rolling Stone & MTV's "100 Greatest Pop Songs" at number 66.[4] 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.[20][21] 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."[22]

The song was featured as an iconic scene in the 1997 film Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. According to director David Mirkin it "was the only song that had the proper emotion" to fit the scene.[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Won
Nominations

Lists of best songs[edit]

Year By List Work Ranked
2000 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Pop Songs[4] "Time After Time" #66
MTV
2003 VH1 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years[20] "Time After Time" #22
2006 VH1 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s[21] "Time After Time" #19
2021 Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time "Time After Time" #494

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.[24] It also reached the top of the Adult Contemporary[25] and Canadian Singles Chart.[26] In the United Kingdom, "Time After Time" first peaked at number 54 on March 24, 1984, while peaking later at number 3, on July 14, 1984.[27] In New Zealand, the song reached number 3,[28] in Austria it reached number 5,[29] in Switzerland it reached number 7,[30] in France it peaked at number 9[8] and in Sweden it reached a peak of number 10.[31]

Music video[edit]

Morristown, New Jersey, 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 Route 46 and Route 10 and at the Morristown train station. Portions of the video were also shot in front of Betty's Department Store in Wharton, New Jersey, which was a staple of the community in the 1970s. 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.[32]

Track listing[edit]

European 12" Single[7]

  1. "Time After Time" – 4:01 (Cyndi Lauper; Rob Hyman)
  2. "I'll Kiss You" – 4:12 (Cyndi Lauper; Jules Shear)
  3. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (extended version) – 6:08 (Robert Hazard)
  4. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (instrumental) – 7:10 (Robert Hazard)

US Vinyl, 7", Single[33]

  1. "Time After Time"
  2. "I'll Kiss You"

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[72]
physical
Gold 50,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[73] Gold 45,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[74]
sales since 2009
Gold 25,000double-dagger
Japan (RIAJ)[75]
digital
Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[76]
digital sales since 2005
Gold 400,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[77]
physical sales - 1984
Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[78] Platinum 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[79]
digital
Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

INOJ version[edit]

American R&B singer INOJ recorded her version of the song in 1998. It peaked at number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.[80] The music video of this version first aired on BET and The Box.[81]

Novaspace version[edit]

Novaspace, a German Eurodance project, covered the song on their album Supernova (2003). It reached number six in Germany, number seven in Austria, and number 15 in Australia.[89]

Track listing[edit]

"Australia / Europe / Spain / U.S. CD Single"[edit]

  1. Time After Time [Radio Edit] - 3:43
  2. Time After Time [Time Mix] - 5:36
  3. Time After Time [After Time Mix] - 6:29
  4. Time After Time [Novaspace Mix] - 6:06
  5. Time After Time [Instrumental] - 6:06

"Sweden CD Single"[edit]

  1. Time After Time [UK Radio Edit] - 3:18
  2. Time After Time [Time Mix] - 5:36
  3. Time After Time [After Time Mix] - 6:32
  4. Time After Time [Novaspace Mix] - 6:06
  5. Time After Time [Sol Productions Remix] - 6:14
  6. Time After Time [Pascal Remix] - 6:30

"UK CD Single"[edit]

  1. Time After Time [Radio Edit] - 3:18
  2. Time After Time [Pascal Remix] - 6:32
  3. Time After Time [Time Mix] - 5:36

"UK 12" Vinyl"[edit]

  1. Time After Time [Time Mix]
  2. Time After Time [I Nation Remix]
  3. Time After Time [Nick Skitz Remix]

Quietdrive version[edit]

American alternative rock/pop punk band Quietdrive covered the song for their debut album When All That's Left Is You in 2006. The cover version was featured in the 2006 romantic comedy film John Tucker Must Die starring Jesse Metcalfe and Brittany Snow. The cover is their only charting song, hitting number 25 on the American Top 40 Countdown.[104] The cover was certified gold by the RIAA.[105]

Other notable cover versions[edit]

Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, perhaps the earliest artist to interpret the song, recorded an instrumental version of the song for his 1985 album You're Under Arrest.[108] The song became a regular part of Davis's live concerts until the end of his career, such as on Live Around the World (a live compilation recorded 1988 to 1991, released 1996).[109] Lauper later stated that while the song has been recorded by dozens of musicians, "The most honored I ever felt was when Miles Davis covered it", adding: "the way he played it was pure magic."[110]

In 1996, German Eurodance act U96 released "Heaven", which is heavily based on Lauper's music, with different lyrics.

A UK garage version was released by Distant Soundz in 2002 and was a top twenty hit in the UK, peaking at No. 20 on the UK Singles Chart[111] and No. 4 on the UK Dance Singles Chart.[112]

On Billboard charts for the week ending May 14, 2011, Javier Colon's version peaked at number 65 on Hot 100,[113] number 41 on Digital Song Sales[114] number four on Top Heatseekers[115] and number sixteen on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs Sales.[116]

In 2015, Lea Michele and Chord Overstreet sung a cover of the song on the seventh episode of the sixth season of Glee, "Transitioning".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Lauper, Cyndi (2012). Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439147856.
  • Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-61185-959-1.

External links[edit]