‘Girls just want to have fun’, a “shitty” misogynistic song that Cyndi Lauper transformed into an anthem

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“I would never make that shitty song,” whisper Cyndi Lauper in the ear of his producer when heard ‘Girls just want to have fun’ for the first time. Because the original lyrics of the song, what it implied, was that women “every time we want to have fun, we are whores”. The New York pop star had to work hard and use thoroughly with scissors to transform it: “the parts that were very masculine… I eliminated them.” The result was a feminist anthem, an iconic song of rebellion about sexual equality, of which today, more than 40 years later, the artist continues to feel proud.

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In 1979, an unknown American artist, called Robert Hazard (died 2008), he composed the music, wrote the lyrics and recorded ‘Girls just want to have fun’. Four years later, a quirky redhead from Brooklyn with a great voice was working on songs for her first album. It was Cyndi Lauper. Your producerRick Chertoff, took her to see Hazard sing the song live. In the documentary Let the Canary SingChertoff remembers that during the performance Lauper leaned into his ear and said, “I would never do that shitty song.”

At that moment, she I didn’t want to sing a song written from a male perspective about women in bed.. He refused to record it. She thought she was a misogynist. “Every time we want to have fun, we are whores,” Lauper said about Hazard’s lyrics in the documentary. And in the magazine Rolling Stone explained: “Originally it was about how lucky the guy was because he was surrounded by these girls who wanted to ‘have fun’ with him in bedwhere we do not speak unless we are blind.”

Every time we want to have fun, we are whores

Rick Chertoff was convinced it could become an anthemalthough for this it was necessary “change the script.” In the studio, he worked hand in hand with Cyndi. She wanted it it would sound more fun If I was going to interpret it from a feminine point of view, let it sound like a vacation. “I tried very hard to make an anthem that would inspire women and to open the doors to all of them,” he declared in People. “Not just to a group of women, but to every girl who could see herself represented and “He realized that he could also enjoy a fun experience in life.”

Cyndi Lauper, in a photo session in London in 1983.

Cyndi Lauper, in a photo session in London in 1983. / Terry Lott

Lauper redid the song introducing some changes in the lyrics that they got Hazard’s approval. And that’s when ‘Girls just want to have fun’ took on a new meaning and it really took off. “Obviously, I had a different vision. He is a man; He’s not going to write about what a woman wants to sing about. So “The parts that were very masculine and did not correspond to what I wanted to say, I eliminated them,” confessed in an interview for Yahoo.

They also tried new sounds. In addition to working with The Hooters (Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman) their reggae touch, “I used the wonderful new styles that were coming from England from groups like the Clash… and also from Andy Summers (from Police). I felt like there was a way to incorporate it all and I used a great voice, which is what I had.” When they got the now iconic guitar ‘lick’ from the beginning, “Suddenly, we all knew we had it.”

When it came time to make the video Girls just want to have funCynthia wanted to tell with a diverse group of women. She was tired of only seeing people of a single race in videos of the time. And also He wanted his mother, Catrine, to play his mother on screen. “I told my mother, ‘If you do this, “There will be a rapprochement between mothers and daughters,” the singer recalled in the documentary premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Festival. “I had to share my success with my mother” (Catrine died in 2022, at age 91, after a battle against Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia). “My mother was with me, and I felt really lucky and privileged,” revealed in People.

Cyndi Lauper with her mother

Cyndi Lauper with her mother / Nick Elgar

She was also accompanied by her friends: “Yes, in all my videos you can see that I bring my friends and my family, for two reasons. The first is that I worked so much then that the only time I could see them was when I took them to work with me. And the second, that my video budgets were never very high And my friends worked cheap! “All I had to do was buy them dinner,” he told Yahoo. Wrestling star Captain Lou Albano (died 2009) He played the father in the clip, directed by Edd Griles.

Lou Albano singing at a Cyndi Lauper show in September 1984 in New York.

Lou Albano singing at a Cyndi Lauper show in September 1984 in New York. / Al Pereira

Girls just want to have fun was Cyndi Lauper’s business card to the world. The first single from their debut album She’s so unusual (16 million copies worldwide), published in October 1983, was a tremendous success that topped the world charts and received a shower of awards. Not only was the clip awarded an MTV a Best Female Video. Among other things, Cyndi was the first woman (from Bobbie Gentry in 1967) which received five Grammy nominations. At the 27th annual awards, held on February 26, 1985 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the newly converted in ’80s pop queen’ She was crowned, nothing more and nothing less, by Laurie Anderson and Ray Davies (of the Kinks). They gave him the first golden gramophone of his career that night: the Best New Artist. In 2014, at the 56th Grammy Awards, he would win another award for Kinky Boots.

There are songs that have not aged well over time. It is not the case of Girls… forty years later, remains a feminist anthem, an inclusive song of sexual equality. Today Cyndi is proud of her legacy. Her message continues to resonate with women of all ages. And that was her intention: “Absolutely. What she really wanted was for all women to hear the song and think about the power of it. That’s why It was very important that women of all colors participated in the video, so that each girl, wherever she came from, felt reflected and received the message: We are strong! Let’s celebrate it.”


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.