Cyndi Lauper is joining PBS’ Finding Your Roots on Tuesday, and in a new sneak-peek clip shared exclusively with Billboard, the iconic pop star opens up about the story behind one of her biggest hits.
She revealed that when she was first pitched the idea of covering Robert Hazard’s 1979 single “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” she was unsure.
“What am I supposed to do? Have a lobotomy, walk around and can-can?” she joked. “What it was about was the guy’s version of – what do you think? ‘Girls just want to have fun. Ain’t we lucky? Nudge, nudge.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, girls just want to have sex — is that what the hell this is? Because I’m not doing this.’”
Lauper went on to make some changes to the track to turn it into the classic she released in 1983.
“So I began to cut this out, cut that out, this needs a melody here, make this change, bring this together. Say, ‘Oh mama dear, we’re not the fortunate ones/ ‘Cause girls want to have fun’ — and we can’t,” she recalled. “All of a sudden, it had this new life.”
As the Grammy-nominated track ran all the way up to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the Edd Griles-directed video was in heavy rotation on MTV. The Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy-winning singer, who has sold more than 50 million records worldwide, was the first woman in history to have four top five Hot 100 singles from a debut album (with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” followed by “Time After Time,” “She Bop” and “All Through the Night” all from 1983’s She’s So Unusual).
Lauper’s episode of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr., also featuring actors Danny Trejo and Jamie Chung, airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.
Watch the Finding Your Roots clip with Lauper below.
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