Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #271: She’s So Unusual – Cyndi Lauper

February 17th, 2015

Today we have my next show featuring music by an artist profiled in Gillian Gaar’s She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll and that artist is Cyndi Lauper.

lauper84 Show #271: Shes So Unusual   Cyndi Lauper
(Photo found here.)

I recall very well the days when one couldn’t escape “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. It was all over the radio and MTV. One thing I do not recall, however, is Lauper being lauded as a feminist icon or as a symbol of feminine strength. It seemed that Madonna received all of those accolades with her frank sexuality which she seemed to be completely in control of. Gaar, on the other hand, notes that Lauper was featured in the January 1985 “Women of the Year” issue of Ms. magazine. Plus I suppose that a song celebrating masturbation, “She-Bop”, was a bold move back in 1983. To top things, off, Gaar says Lauper was avowedly feminist referring to remarks made toRolling Stone:

It was all traditional: the church, the family, the government. And you know what I learned? Those are the three biggest oppressors of women that will ever come along.

Apparently my memory is either failing me here or I never really paid that much attention to her career. My guess is that it’s that latter because I was not a fan of Cyndi Lauper’s dance pop with its synth bass, anemic guitar, and dopey faux percussion sounds. Her synth-pop was all that was wrong with 80s music to my mind. Plus her persona was of a quirky girl next door who liked to go out and have fun and not of a woman telling listeners “Hear me roar!”

Before I make a final decent into being a nattering nabob of negativity, I have to say that reading about Lauper in Gaar’s book elevated my opinion of her. I had considered her to basically be an airhead pop songmistress but came to appreciate what she did. I still don’t like the music, but think more highly of her approach. Plus I have learned that she mentioned Planned Parenthood at her concert here in Madison back in the fall of 2013 and that PP had a stand in the lobby.

The show today is Lauper’s concert from 2 May 1984. It took place at The Metro in Boston, MA at the birthday party concert for a local radio station, WXKS. This performance was broadcast on the radio, not surprisingly.


When You Were Mine
I’ll Kiss You
All Through the Night
He’s So Unusual
Yeah Yeah
She Bop
Time After Time
Money Changes Everything
Girls Just Want to Have Fun

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Cyndi Lauper

Here’s Lauper doing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” live.

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