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2003 - Epic / Legacy.
2003 - Sony Music Entertainment Australia Limited.
2003 - Sony Music Entertainment (Brasil) Ltda.
2003 - Sony Music Entertainment (Korea) Ltd.
2003 - Sony Music Entertainment (Taiwan) Ltd.
2003 - Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc.
2003 - Sony Music Entertaiment Mexico, S.A. De C.V.
2008 - Epic / Sony Music Japan International Inc.
Compilation Produced by Bruce Dickinson.
Mastered by Vic Anesini at Sony Music Studios, New York.
Art Direction - Howard Fritzson.
Design - Risa Noah.
Front cover, interior colour photo (onsteps), inner tray card, spine sheet - Joann Toy / Sony Music Archives.
Booklet back cover, interior colour photo (black background) - Bruce G. Ando.
Interior B&W photo - Deborah Feingold / CORBIS.
Before there were countless celebrations of women who rock and high profile festivals for riot girls, there came a woman who rocked like no other, a confessed unusual girl who was–and is–a true riot.
Cyndi Lauper sure knew how to make a big first impression. Back in 1984 many of us old enough to remember were on the watch for Big Brother. Instead that year saw the grand arrival of an unrepressed soul sister–a distinctive downtown diva with outsider attitude, original thrift shop style and an appealingly offbeat sense of humour. The irrepressible anthem “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” took off first and with some notable help from the then still upstart MTV network, the song turned into a full-blown cultural phenomenon–an appropriately colourful and joyful declaration of female independence.
In an era marked by some pretty shallow, video-age talents, Lauper represented a real breath of fresh air. When the Queens-born, Brooklyn-raised Lauper talked–and she seemed to like to talk quite a bit–the proud New Yawker came across like some sort of Wave Billie Holiday. More importantly, when she sang she sounded more like a New Wave Billie Holiday with the heart and soul of a genuine song stylist.
She’s So Unusual–which helped Lauper win the 1984 Grammy® for Best New Artist-–offered truth in advertising. Who else would dare to scale the pop charts with an only slightly disguised funky anthem to the pleasures of female masturbation (“She Bop”)? Lauper was hot enough by the summer of 1984 to bring this self-love to #3 on the charts. Who else could turn the obscure but wonderful “Money Changes Everything” by the Brains into a major pop smash? And who could bring her own style to one of Prince’s most stylish early gems, “When You Were Mine?”
There was more where that came from. Her stunning take on Jules Shear’s “All Through The Night” went to #5. Yet it was another ballad that took Lauper to #1. Easily one of the most enduring songs to come out of the Eighties, “Time After Time”––which Lauper co-wrote with Rob Hyman–is such a modern standard that artists like Miles Davis and Eva Cassidy recognized the song’s extraordinary beauty and covered it. Lauper’s own performance of the song is simply stunning. So right from her vivid introduction, there could be little doubt that this was a woman with a voice all her own.
That remarkable voice is still alive, well and accounted for on everything that Lauper has ever released, whether or not she was in or out of fashion at any particular moment. Lauper released her 1986 sophomore effort True Colors which included a few more smashes like the Top Five title track, a humanist ballad of rare delicacy and Essrah Mohawk’s passionate “Change Of Heart.” After that, however, the hits slowed, though the highlights of subsequent releases like 1989’s A Night To Remember (the recently Celine Dion-covered “I Drove All Night”), 1993’s Hat Full Of Stars (“Who Let In The rain” and the gorgeous title track) and 1997’s Sisters Of Avalon were very high indeed.
Finally, what was most unusual about Cyndi Lauper wasn’t her choice of clothes or her taste in wrestler friends, but rather her very serious talent. She wasn’t the only one having fun.
– David Wild
David Wild–an Emmy®-nominated television writer and veteran rock critic–is a Contributing Editor to Rolling Stone and the host of Bravo’s Musicians.
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