Cyndi Lauper and Colin Hay turn 70

Who Can It Be Now

Cyndi Lauper (b June 22nd) received the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1984. Her debut album She’s So Unusual (1983) got to #4 on the Billboard charts and spawned five Top 30  hits, four in the Top Five. I own this album.

Her follow-up album True Colors (1986) generated three Top 12 songs, two of which were Top 3. I never got this one.

In fact, I essentially lost track of her career until my wife bought me her 2003 CD, At Last, a decent covers album.

Cyndi composed music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, based on the 2006 film; Harvey Fierstein wrote the book. It opened on Broadway in April 2013. The musical received 13 nominations, winning six, including Best Musical and Best Actor. She won the award for Best Original Score, the first woman to win solo in this category. The show had a six-year run with 2,507 regular performances before ending its Broadway run in April 2019. 


She was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2023. She was #2 after George Michael in the fan vote but did not get in. When Billboard had a readers’ poll of who was snubbed among those on the ballot, more than half picked her. (I checked Warren Zevon.)

Here’s her website. In October 2022, she noted that she had started her “‘Girls Just Want To Have Fundamental Rights’ Fund, which was formed to financially support women’s issues in an inclusive way.”

She appeared in an episode of Finding Your Roots this season. Here’s a segment about her ancestors playing a part in a Swiss peasant rebellion

 The photograph was from 2014 when “LGBT youth advocate Cyndi Lauper traveled to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.”

I often see her in TV commercials plugging a product to treat her psoriasis.

Here is a 2023 THR interview. “Cyndi Lauper on New Documentary, LGBTQ Fans and Not Loving Her First Recording of ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’: ‘It Was Like Yawn and Boring'”

Her hits 

Girls Just Want To Have Fun, #2 pop for two weeks in 1984

Time After Time, #1 for two weeks pop, #1 for three weeks adult contemporary in 1984

She Bop, #3 pop for three weeks in 1984

All Through The Night, #5 pop, #4 AC in 1984

Money Changes Everything, #27 pop in 1985

The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough, #10 pop in 1985

True Colors, #1 for two weeks pop, #5 AC in 1986

Change of Heart, #3 in 1987

At Last

Everybody Say Yeah from the Broadway Cast Album of Kinky Boots

Men At Work

I have two albums by the Australian group Men at Work, the quintet featuring Colin Hay (b. June 29th) on vocals and guitar. Business as Usual (1982) was #1 on the Billboard album charts for fifteen weeks. Cargo (1983) reached #3 for five weeks. The group won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1983.

They broke up between 1986 and 1996, then split again in 2002, though Hay and Greg Ham played as MaW with guest musicians.

As I noted back in 2012 and Arthur mentioned more recently, “In June 2009, the band was sued for copyright infringement, the allegation being that the flute part was lifted from a 1932 Australian song called ‘Kookaburra.'”

(This is sad: “Ham took the verdict particularly hard, feeling responsible for having performed the flute riff at the centre of the lawsuit and worried that he would only be remembered for copying someone else’s music, resulting in depression and anxiety. Ham’s body was found in his home on 19 April 2012 after he suffered a fatal heart attack at age 58.” Here’s a brief video showing the comparisons. )

But Men at Work founder Hay has continued as a solo musician, putting on albums and tracks on movie soundtracks and television programs.  I know him best from his three appearances on the sitcom Scrubs. Hay has been a member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

Their hits

Who Can It Be Now, #1 pop in 1982

Down Under, #1 pop for four weeks, #13 AC in 1982

Overkill, #3 pop, #6 AC in 1983

It’s A Mistake, #6 pop, #10 AC in 1983

Overkill – Colin Hay on Scrubs (2002)


One other notable musician was born in June 1953. Johnny Clegg (b. June 7th) was a “South African musician, singer-songwriter, dancer, anthropologist, and anti-apartheid activist. ” His Wikipedia page notes that he kept forming interracial bands in apartheid South Africa, including Juluka and Savuka.

He had two albums with Savuka to reach the lower rungs of the Billboard charts, Shadow Man (#155 in 1988) and Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World (#123 in 1990).

Johnny Clegg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, ultimately leading to his death on 16 July 2019.

Scatterlings of Africa – Juluka, #106 in 1983, which also appeared on the Rain Man soundtrack (1988)

Dela – used in the film  George of the Jungle

Life Is A Magic Thing – used in the film FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Great Heart

Asimbonanga (live), dedicated to Nelson Mandela

K is for Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots will be performed in 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

kinky boots.tourBack in June, The Wife and I saw the touring company production of the musical Kinky Boots at Proctors Theatre in nearby Schenectady, NY.

The book was written by actor, playwright, and voice actor Harvey Fierstein, based on the Miramax motion picture written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. Music and lyrics were by Cyndi Lauper, probably best known for the song Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

What I wanted to know: how did I NOT know about the movie version? OH, it came out in 2005, when the Daughter was one, and her parents were still in a sleep-deprived fog.

As for the storyline, it was quite compelling. “A drag queen comes to the rescue of a man who, after inheriting his father’s shoe factory, needs to diversify his product if he wants to keep the business afloat.” That drag queen suggests moving from those conservative shoe styles that were no longer selling to something a bit more daring. This was not necessarily an easy sell for some of the long-tenured factory workers, who, in fact, might be out of jobs altogether without the diversification. But, as a business librarian, it was easy to see the value of this strategy.

The musical I enjoyed quite a bit, though I was unfamiliar with any of the songs. Much of the audience seemed to know when the showstopper songs were going to come up.

In addition to Broadway and the US tour, the show is running in London, England; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and the show will be performed in 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
Raise You Up – finale

Billy Porter is (still) the star of Kinky Boots, the long-running hit on Broadway. At the performance on June 26, 2015, he made a touching curtain speech.

A Final JEOPARDY! answer.

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

May rambling #1: Kings down

Ben E. King’s original version of Stand By Me was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

Rumsfeld: Looting is transition to freedom.

11 Stupid Reasons White People Have Rioted.

These 10 Questions Can Mean Life Behind Bars.

US cited for police violence, racism in scathing UN review on human rights.

The History of ‘Thug’: “The surprisingly ancient and global etymology of a racially charged epithet.”

Why are we celebrating the beating of a black child?

So You’re About To Become A Minority…

Part of Michelle Obama’s revealing speech at Tuskegee. The whole thing. Plus the reaction from certain parties.

The NRA’s brazen shell game with donations.

Art Spiegelman: Je Suis Charlie —But I’m Not Pamela Geller. AFDI is “the anti-matter, Bizarro World, flipside, mirror-logic version of what Charlie Hebdo is about.”

Rating Last Week’s Craziness. What should we do when debunking just isn’t enough?

The 10 biggest lies you’ve been told about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

There is no “Blue Wall” for the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, how often kids are expected to throw up.

Former Homeless Teen Cyndi Lauper Testifies Before Congress On Ending LGBT Youth Homelessness.

An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day). And, from last year, the holiday’s centennial: Its Surprisingly Dark History.

In case you missed it, Harriet Tubman was the selection of the Women On 20s voters. Now tell the President.

Judge Rules Man Fathered Only One Twin.

L’Wren as she was.

Dustbury on the passing of the lead Kingsman, Jack Ely, of Louie, Louie fame; and the wonderful Ben E. King. I’m SO pleased that King’s original version of Stand By Me was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, only about a month before King’s death. As Mr. Frog noted, Ben E. King also performed Save the Last Dance for Me with the Drifters.

Then, unsurprisingly, the great bluesman Riley B. King, known as MB.B. King, died this week. From NPR: “He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’87. He was so beloved that he received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music as well as Yale and Brown universities, among others.” Here’s an episode of Sanford and Son, featuring B.B. King.

SamuraiFrog remembers Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves.

The Mike Wallace Interview featuring Rod Serling (1959). Serling’s legacy lives on as his hometown of Binghamton, NY opens a museum exhibit in the Bundy Museum of History.

Grief is powerful. “Here are 6 lessons survivors learn from tragedy.”

Will Rogers.war

There’s a Facebook graphic noting that, in the American way of writing dates, all of the days in this 10-day period are palindromes, e.g. 5/17/15, 5/18/15. It was also true in April 2014, March 2013, February 2012, January 2011. It was similarly true in 2001-2009, if you use the leading zero in the day field: 1/01/01. 2/01/02, et al.

It’ll be true next June: 6/10/16 et al., then starting 7/10/17, 8/10/18, 9/10/19, 1/20/21, 2/20/22, 3/20/23, 4/20/24, 5/20/25, 6/20/26, 7/20/27, 8/20/28, and 9/20/29. Then not again until 2101, so prepare your memes now.

Frontier Town: yeah, I visited there a long time ago.

David Kalish: The incredible adventures of my wife’s nose.

Mark Evanier’s 60th birthday, starring his mother. And Ken Levine’s mom gets him a writing gig.

Let it Beep, Apple Computers! And Beep Beep by the Playmates.

Tammy Wynette’s greatest Top Pop success. (It’s NOT Stand By Your Man.)

Omnified G and Turning the Corner and We want our nickel back.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 90-81 and 80-71.

Paved in Robbie Williams platinum.

No, beards are no more filthy and dangerous than everything else.

The many MGM logo lions.

JEOPARDY!: Louis Virtel’s one regret after losing (and snapping) on the show. Why Ken Jennings’s Streak Is Nearly Impossible To Break; almost certainly true. Plus 6 Inside Facts; these are totally true.

Nurses from the Opening Credits of MASH, the TV show.

Muppets: a whole lot of stuff, including Orson Welles.


Arthur and his blog and Facebook and breaking technology. Something like that.

ADD does the A to Z. So does Monsieur Frog.

Dustbury would LIKE to wear sunscreen. Plus a Stevie Wonderesque medley.

Chuck Miller writes the Best of our TU Community Blogs every Thursday. My posts have been on the list occasionally, but for May 7, my post about Kent State was the READ FIRST.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial