She's So Unusual
She's So Unusual is the debut studio album by American singer and 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.
|She's So Unusual|
|Studio album by|
|Released||October 14, 1983|
|Studio||Record Plant (New York City)|
|Cyndi Lauper chronology|
|Singles from She's So Unusual|
In 1978, Lauper formed the band Blue Angel. 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. 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.
Six 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. She's So Unusual was promoted by the Fun Tour throughout 1983 and 1984.
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 16 million copies worldwide. This makes it Lauper's best-selling album to date and one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s. The album ranked at number 487 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, maintaining that ranking in the 2012 update and shooting up to number 184 in the 2020 reboot of the list. It also ranked at #41 on Rolling Stone's list of Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012. In 2019, the album was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
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 some positive critical attention, 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.
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.
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 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. 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. 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".
"All Through the Night" was single number four, 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. It was written by, and originally recorded by Jules Shear, who provided backup vocals as well. The song was a moderate international success, reaching the top ten in 6 countries, and received Gold certification in Canada.
Single number five 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. It also did moderately well in Australia, reaching #19 on its chart.
The sixth 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 only. It achieved little success, reaching number #62 on the Canadian Singles Chart.
|Christgau's Record Guide||A|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|Spin Alternative Record Guide||9/10|
|Wall Street Journal||(favourable)|
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 16 million copies worldwide. At least until 1986, the album was the second best-selling album in Canada by a female artist during the decade, behind Whitney Houston's self titled debut album, selling more than 900,000 copies.
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. 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". Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it "a pop classic". Alternative Press said that, with "some fine tunes" and the CD reissue's three bonus tracks, the album "certainly bears another listen."
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. In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album #487 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, calling it "razor-sharp dance pop". 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".
|Year||Nominee / 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 TourEdit
2013 marked the 30th Anniversary of She's So Unusual. To honor it and to thank her fans for its success, Lauper embarked on a World Tour called the "She's So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour".
A 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.
|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||3:58|
|3.||"When You Were Mine"||Prince||Ecnirp Music||5:06|
|4.||"Time After Time"||Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman||Dub Notes, Rella Music||4:01|
|1.||"She Bop"||Rellla Music Co., Noyb Music Co., Wall to Wall Music Co. & Hobbler Music||3:47|
|2.||"All Through the Night"||Jules Shear||Funzalo Music/Juters Music Co.||4:33|
|3.||"Witness"||Lauper, John Turi||Turalaura Music and Turi Music||3:40|
|4.||"I'll Kiss You"||Lauper, Shear||Rellla Music Co., Funzalo Music / Juters Music Co.||4:12|
|5.||"He's So Unusual"||Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc||0:45|
|6.||"Yeah Yeah"||Hasse Huss, Mikael Rickfors||Stainless Music Corp.||3:18|
|11.||"Money Changes Everything (Live)"||Recorded 1984, Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA; previously unreleased edit (original recording from Portrait promotional 12-inch (AS 1961)||4:36|
|12.||"She Bop (Live)"||Recorded 1984, Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA; previously unreleased||5:20|
|13.||"All Through the Night (Live)"||Recorded 1984, Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA; previously unreleased||4:48|
|14.||"Money Changes Everything" (Live at Summer Sonic 07) (Japan remaster exclusive bonus track)||5:10|
- "Irvine Meadows" live tracks recorded on the Fun Tour at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, Laguna Hills, California, USA (22 September 1984).
- "Summer Sonic 07" live track recorded at Japan Summer Sonic Festival, either Osaka (11 August 2007) or Tokyo (12 August 2007).
- 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 (& 2013 re-issue of same).
- In 2013, the 2008 Japan remaster was reissued on BSCD2 format with the same 2008 track listing.
|11.||"Girls Just Want to Have Fun (2013 Yolanda Be Cool remix)"||5:52|
|12.||"Time After Time (2013 NERVO Back in Time remix)"||4:53|
|13.||"Time After Time (2013 Bent Collective remix)"||7:15|
|1.||"Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1983 early guitar demo)"||3:32|
|2.||"All Through the Night (1983 rehearsal with studio dialog)"||5:30|
|3.||"Rules and Regulations (1983 rehearsal)"||2:41|
|4.||"Money Changes Everything (demo)"||4:52|
|5.||"Girls Just Want to Have Fun (demo)"||3:22|
|6.||"Right Track, Wrong Train (non LP B-side)"||4:40|
|7.||"Witness (live, Boston, 1984)"||3:12|
|8.||"She Bop (1984 Arthur Baker remix)"||6:27|
|9.||"Time After Time (work in progress rough mix)"||4:00|
|Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)||Gold||250,000|
|Canada (Music Canada)||8× Platinum||900,000|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||10,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||6,000,000^|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
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