Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Unusual’ Path to the Walk of Fame

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Lauper’s 1983 solo debut was a phenomenal success and led her to the Grammy Award for Best New Artist

She may have been “so unusual” when she first emerged in the new wave rock era with her 1983 debut album. And maybe that’s why the singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper received the honor of a show business veteran – a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Lauper, born June 22, 1953 in Astoria in the New York City borough of Queens, formed a band called Blue Angel as a teenager. The group’s lone album, in 1980, failed to sale and the band broke up. The next year, she signed a solo deal with Portrait Records. Her luck changed two years later.

Her solo debut – 1983’s She’s So Unusual – made history as she became the first female recording artist with four Top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (#2) “Time After Time” (#1), “She Bop” (#3) and “All Through the Night” (#5). The fledgling MTV network embraced her music and colorful look and the album was the year’s 11th biggest seller. Its phenomenal success delivered two Grammy Awards including Best New Artist.

Related: Lauper is featured in our story, 10 Best New Artist Winners and Losers

Since then she has sold a reported 50 million albums and 20 million singles. She appeared in the “We Are the World” single and video in 1985 and in 1986 she earned a second #1 single with “True Colors.”

Lauper has won Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards and is thus three-quarters of the way towards earning a career EGOT. (She will need to win an Oscar to join the exclusive club.) She was nominated—but not selected—for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

She was honored on April 11, 2016 in a dual ceremony with her collaborator on the hit Broadway play Kinky Boots, Harvey Fierstein. The two have adjacent stars in front of L.A.’s Pantages Theatre, which hosted a special performance of the musical on that day as well as a brief return run of the show. Lauper, who won her Tony Award in 2013 for Best Original Score, received her star in the recording category.

Watch Lauper’s speech at her Walk of Fame ceremony

In 2016, Lauper released Detour, a collection of her favorite country songs from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It was recorded in Nashville with Music City’s top session players, and features guest appearances from country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson.

“When I was a really young kid, country music was pop music, so this is what we grew up listening to,” she explains. “These songs are part of some of my earliest memories.”

Watch her cover of Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love”

When Lauper tours, tickets are available here and here.

Related: Links to 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

2 Comments so far

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  1. Da Mick
    #1 Da Mick 23 June, 2023, 01:07

    I honestly don’t know what the criteria actually is to be in the so called “R&RHOF” any more. While I feel that Lauper has a great voice, to my knowledge, she only had one big record that gave her acclaim. Is that what it’s down to now for entrance, or to even be nominated while the Moody Blues were just finally admitted after all these years and highly influential groups and artists like Delany and Bonny and seminal groups like Jethro Tull who broke all kinds of ground in varied musical styles are still not nominated or admitted? Honestly, what’s the point?

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  2. Batchman
    #2 Batchman 27 June, 2023, 21:25

    You say Lauper was born in Astoria, but the Wikipedia page says she was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Ozone Park (Queens). Who is right? The WIkipedia info says it was sourced from her biography on (archived).

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