Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The girl still wants to have fun

How could 1984 NOT have been an Orwellian year?

Let's see: The Soviets boycotted the Los Angeles Summer Olympics ... the AIDS virus was discovered ... the term "cyberspace'' was coined ... Apple unveiled the Macintosh PC ... rap (RUN-D.M.C.) had its first gold album ... Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial ...

... and Cyndi Lauper just wanted to have fun.

Twenty-five years after her breakout year, which netted the Grammy for Best New Artist, Lauper found herself performing "Time After Time'' on American Idol's recent finale show.

I'm still not sure exactly what to think of her. But I agree with what she said after appearing on Idol with fourth-place finisher Allison Iraheta (soon to become a household name, according to most reports).

"I probably would never been anybody if I had to come through Idol. I don't think Bob Dylan would've either! It's really hard what they're doing, so I give them all props,'' she told Entertainment Weekly.

(It is very easy to imagine Dylan as an early casualty in that competition.)

We must give Lauper her props. Nobody voted her No. 1 in a television talent competition. She made it to the top the old-fashioned way. It took years and effort. One summer she was hitch-hiking across Canada with her dog Sparkle, trying to find herself, 14 years later she was collecting a Grammy. There was a lot of grinding in between.

Lauper was approaching her 31st birthday when "Time After Time'' became America's No. 1 song on this day in 1984. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun'' had previously hit No. 2, and her debut album generated an unprecedented four top 10 singles.

And, apparently, she's still having fun. Friday night she'll appear at Majer Festival Park in Milwaukee -- always a good time -- and in July she has a six-concert tour in Germany.

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