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by Norman Warwick

I last saw Cyndi Lauper on Sky Arts in a programme called Legend, hosted by Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler (see cover photo). As Geordie lads, Johnson was the drummer with AC/DC and Knopfler, of course the leader of Dire Straits before also enjoying a lengthy and productive solo career. Cyndi was, I thought dismissively, simply a pop star, even if I had enjoyed her hits as much as anyone.

The mutual admiration society that emerged on every episode was evident in this particular segment with Cyndi too. It is a strange show with the premise of taking Johnson and Knopfler back to old haunts in America and the UK to meet up for the first time, or perhaps re-unite with, other musical acts working the same sort of patch at around the same time.

Pop star Cyndi Lauper may not be done with music altogether, but she is set for the end of her touring career.

The 70-year-old singer, known for hits like 1986’s “True Colors,” announced recently that she will visit 23 cities in North America as part of the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Farewell Tour. The schedule, marking her first extended slate of concerts in over a decade, kicks off in Montreal on October 18 and runs through to the December 5 finale in Chicago.

Lauper spoke about her announcement during Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, explaining she wanted to give fans one last arena tour while she is still in good health. “I’m not doing the trains, planes, and automobiles anymore,” she told the late-night host. “I’m strong now, but I don’t know what I’m going to be like in four years. I wanted a chance to just do this when I’m felling strong and, you know, celebrate with people.”

Lauper also discussed Let the Canary Sing, the 2023 documentary about her career and social activism that debuted on Paramount+ on June 4.

American singer Cyndi Lauper burst onto the pop music charts with her 1983 debut album She’s So Unusual. She scored a string of hits, including “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and won the 1984 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. With her eclectic clothes, flamboyantly styled hair, and contagious pop melodies, Lauper has cemented herself as a music icon, having sold over 50 million albums worldwide. In June 2013, Lauper’s musical Kinky Boots won six Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, making her the first female to win this category by herself.

Going solo, Lauper burst onto the charts with her debut album, She’s So Unusual. Lauper took the music world by surprise with her eclectic clothes, flamboyantly styled hair, and contagious pop melodies. The 1983 recording sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. alone (16 million worldwide) and featured her first hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” The song became a female party anthem, and the music video went into heavy rotation on MTV. Lauper became wildly popular almost overnight, scoring a string of hits that included “Time After Time,” “She Bop,” and “All Through the Night.” She was further rewarded for her work when she won the 1984 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In 1985, she released “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” for the soundtrack of the film The Goonies.

Her 1986 follow-up album, True Colors, sold nearly two million copies in the U.S. and seven million worldwide.

True Colors is a song written by American songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from American singer Cyndi Lauper‘s second studio album of the same name (1986). Released in mid-1986, the song would become a hit for Lauper, spending two weeks at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming her second and last single to occupy the top of the chart. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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 on recording it, and then to Cyndi Lauper. Their demo was in the form of a 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.” Other songs they wrote for Lauper include I Drove All Night, also recorded by Roy Orbison and “Unconditional Love”.

The single has become a popular anthem in the gay community. In various interviews, Lauper elaborated that the song had resonated with her because of the recent death of her friend, Gregory Natal, from HIV/AIDS. Years later, Lauper co-founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating LGBT youth homelessness. On December 13, 2022, Lauper performed the song at the ceremony where U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law.

True Colors  was also featured in a 1999 promo for PBS Kids, a children’s programming brand of the American public television network PBS.

Exploring new creative avenues, Lauper made her film debut in 1988, starring opposite Jeff Goldblum in the comedy Vibes. The movie performed poorly in both the commercial and critical realms. In 1989, Lauper released her third album, A Night to Remember, which featured the hit “I Drove All Night” but had weak overall sales compared to her previous albums.

Lauper was successful as an actress in a recurring role on the TV sitcom Mad About You, which starred Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser. In 1995, Lauper won an Emmy for her work on the series. She later appeared on such shows as That’s So Raven and Bones.

While she explored acting, Lauper continued to make music. Although Hatful of Stars (1993) was not a commercial success, it was an artistic achievement for Lauper. Critics widely praised the album for songs which took on complex topics such as domestic abuse and homophobia. Twelve Deadly Cyns, a compilation of her hits, was released in 1995. In 1997, Lauper received critical praise for Sisters of Avalon, which included all new music, and she followed up with a holiday album Merry Christmas… Have a Nice Life! (1998).

Lauper didn’t release new music until At Last (2003), a collection of pop standards. Her 2008 album Bring Ya to the Brink (2008) featured dance tracks, including the Grammy-nominated song “High and Mighty.” Her album, Memphis Blues (2010), featured her take on several classic blues songs and became Billboard’s bestselling blues album that year.

In 2012, the pop icon wrote her autobiography Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. The following year, she took her talents to Broadway, writing the music and lyrics for Kinky Boots with a book by Harvey Fierstein. Kinky Boots won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Leading Man, and Best Original Score. Lauper is the first solo female to win in the best musical category. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, the production centers on the life of Charlie Price, who, after inheriting his father’s nearly bankrupt shoe factory, discovers the man he’s meant to be with the help of an entertainer named Lola.

In 2013, Lauper celebrated the 30th anniversary of the album that launched her career, She’s So Unusual, with a tour. In 2016, she released Detour, a country album featuring duets with Willie NelsonEmmylou HarrisVince GillJewel, and Alison Krauss.

Legend showed Lauper and Knopfler and Lauper enjoying some light banter, haunting reminiscence, gentle harmonies sharing musical expertise and creating a programme that showed Cyndi to have been far more intuitive and of loftier standing by her peers than we (I) might have thought.

Nevertheless, In June 2024, Lauper announced she would embark on her last stadium tour, the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Farewell Tour—referencing her famous 1983 song. That same month, a documentary about her career and social activism called Let the Canary Sing debuted on streaming service Paramount+.

Later this year, Cyndi Lauper will embark on a farewell tour. Taking its name from her 1983 breakthrough hit, the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Tour will begin in October in Montreal, Quebec and last through December in Chicago, Illinois. Today, Lauper’s debut album She’s So Unusual was featured in our Greatest Albums of All Time list. See below for the entire tour itinerary:


06-26 London, England @ Royal Albert Hall                    
06-29 Somerset, England @ Glastonbury
09-20 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Rock in Rio
10-18 Montreal, Quebec @ Bell Centre
10-20 Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena
10-24 Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
10-26 Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
10-27 Washington, D.C. @ Capital One Arena
10-30 New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
11-01 Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
11-03 Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
11-06 Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
11-08 Hollywood, FL @ Hard Rock Hollywood
11-10 Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena
11-12 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
11-14 Austin, TX @ Moody Center
11-16 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
11-19 Phoenix, AZ @ Footprint Center
11-20 San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
11-23 Los Angeles, CA @ Intuit Dome
11-24 Palm Desert, CA @ Acrisure Arena

11-26 San Francisco, CA @ Chase Center
11-30 Portland, OR @ Moda Center
12-01 Seattle, WA @ Climate Pledge Arena
12-04 Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
12-05 Chicago, IL @ United Center

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