“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a song written and performed by American musician Robert Hazard who released the single in 1979. It is known as a single by American singer Cyndi Lauper, whose version was released in 1983. It was the first major single released by Lauper as a solo artist and the lead single from her debut studio album She’s So Unusual (1983). Lauper’s version gained recognition as a feminist anthem and was promoted by a Grammy-winning music video.
The single was Lauper’s breakthrough hit, reaching #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming a worldwide hit throughout late 1983 and early 1984. It remains one of Lauper’s signature songs and was a widely popular song during the 1980s. The “Rolling Stone & MTV: ‘100 Greatest Pop Songs’: 1-50″, “Rolling Stone: “The 100 Top Music Videos”” and the “VH1: 100 Greatest Videos” lists ranked the song at #22, #39 and #45, respectively. The song received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
The release of the single was accompanied by a quirky music video. It cost less than $35,000, largely due to a volunteer cast and the free loan of the most sophisticated video equipment available at the time. The cast included professional wrestling manager “Captain” Lou Albano in the role of Lauper’s father while her real mother, Catrine, played herself. Lauper later appeared in World Wrestling Federation storylines opposite Albano and guest-starred in an episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, in which Albano portrayed Mario (Albano also played himself in the episode). This collaboration was the catalyst for the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” connection that lasted for the following two years. Lauper’s attorney, Elliot Hoffman, appeared as her uptight dancing partner. Also in the cast were Lauper’s manager, David Wolf, her brother, Butch Lauper, fellow musician Steve Forbert, and a bevy of secretaries borrowed from Portrait/CBS, Lauper’s record label. A clip of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is featured as Lauper watches it on television.
Lorne Michaels (Broadway Video, SNL), another of Hoffman’s clients, agreed to give Lauper free run of his brand new million-dollar digital editing equipment, with which she and her producer created several first-time-ever computer-generated images of Lauper dancing with her buttoned-up lawyer, leading the entire cast in a snake-dance through New York streets and ending up in Lauper’s bedroom in her home. The bedroom scene is an homage to the famous stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ film A Night at the Opera.
“The year 1983 makes a watershed in the history of female-address video. It is the year that certain issues and representations began to gain saliency and the textual strategies of female address began to coalesce.” In the video, Lauper wanted to show in a more fun and light-hearted manner that girls want the same equality and recognition boys had in society.
Before the song starts, the beginning of her version of “He’s So Unusual” plays.
The music video was directed by Edd Griles. The producer was Ken Walz while the cinematographer was Francis Kenny. The treatment for the video was co-written by Griles, Walz, and Cyndi Lauper. The video was shot in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in summer 1983 and premiered on television in December 1983. The choreography was by a New York dance and music troupe called XXY featuring Mary Ellen Strom, Cyndi Lee and Pierce Turner.
The music video officially crossed 1 billion views on YouTube in January 2022.