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'”
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
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.
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
Asimbonanga (live), dedicated to Nelson Mandela