About the song
If you are a fan of 80s pop music, you probably know the song “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. It is one of her most popular and enduring hits, and it has been covered by many artists over the years. But do you know the story behind the song? How did it come to be, and what does it mean to Cyndi Lauper and her fans?
The song was written by Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, the lead singer of The Hooters, a rock band from Philadelphia. They met in 1983, when Lauper was working on her debut album, She’s So Unusual, and Hyman was hired as a session musician. They hit it off right away, and decided to collaborate on a song.
They started with a title that Lauper had in mind: “Time After Time”. She got the idea from a TV Guide magazine that she saw in a hotel room. The magazine had a list of movies that were playing on TV that week, and one of them was Time After Time, a 1979 sci-fi film starring Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen. Lauper thought it was a catchy phrase, and she wanted to use it for a song.
She and Hyman sat down at a piano and began to work on the melody and the lyrics. They wanted to write a song about love and loyalty, about being there for someone no matter what. They drew inspiration from their own personal experiences and relationships. Lauper said that the song was partly about her boyfriend at the time, David Wolff, who was also her manager. She said that he supported her through many difficulties in her career and life, and that she felt grateful for him.
Hyman said that the song was also influenced by his parents’ divorce, which happened when he was a teenager. He said that he felt betrayed by his father, who left his mother for another woman. He said that he wanted to write a song that expressed his longing for a stable and lasting love.
They finished the song in about six hours, and they recorded a demo version with Hyman’s band, The Hooters. They played it for Rick Chertoff, the producer of Lauper’s album, who loved it and decided to include it on the record. He also suggested some changes to the arrangement, such as adding a synthesizer and a drum machine to give it a more contemporary sound.
The song was released as the second single from She’s So Unusual in January 1984. It became an instant hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1984. It also topped the charts in Canada and Australia, and reached the top five in many other countries. It received critical acclaim as well, winning the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1985.
The song also had a memorable music video, directed by Edd Griles. The video featured Lauper as a young woman who is leaving her boyfriend (played by Wolff) to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer. She packs her suitcase and takes a train to New York City, where she performs at a nightclub. Meanwhile, her boyfriend watches her on TV and decides to follow her. He takes a taxi to the club, where he finds her on stage. They hug and kiss, and then walk away together.
The video was partly autobiographical, as Lauper had left her home in Queens to pursue her music career in Manhattan. She said that she wanted to show that she was not abandoning her boyfriend, but rather inviting him to join her on her journey. She also said that she wanted to show that love can overcome any obstacle or distance.
The video was nominated for five MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, including Video of the Year. It lost to “You Might Think” by The Cars, but it won Best Female Video and Best New Artist.
The song has become one of Lauper’s signature songs, and she has performed it live many times over the years. She often dedicates it to her fans, whom she calls her “true colors”. She said that the song is about “being brave enough to be yourself”.
The song has also been covered by many artists from different genres and generations, such as Miles Davis, Eva Cassidy, Matchbox Twenty, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, Ashley Tisdale, P!nk, Boyzone, Kelly Clarkson, Iron & Wine, Javier Colon and more. Some of these covers have been featured in movies, TV shows and commercials.
The song has been recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time by various publications and organizations. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 66 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004. VH1 ranked it number 22 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s” in 2006. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included it on its list of “The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” in 2007.
The song has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015, and the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2019.
The song is a testament to the power and beauty of music, and to the timeless and universal appeal of love. It is a song that has touched millions of hearts, and that will continue to do so for generations to come.