Sunday, August 7, 2011

For Inspiration....Cyndi

Question: Did you feel that you had to compete with Madonna for your audience?

Cyndi Lauper: "I knew at one point that her record company was competing with me. They put an advertisement out in the paper that said, "This fall, I will give Cyndi Lauper a run for her money." She can have it. It's like apples and oranges. Madonna is really bright. I think she's a performance artist. I saw her Truth or Dare, and I thought it was really good, but it's not what I do. I've come to say something, and maybe some people don't understand what it is. Maybe they thought it was a gimmick. It wasn't. Even "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" wasn't a gimmick. I wanted to bring women together. I saw how it was unpopular for mothers and daughters to be friendly. I said to myself, maybe we should fix that and make it popular. It brought women around the world together—it was a celebration, and I think that's very important."

Both Madonna and Cyndi have similar backgrounds, upbringings and tales of the early years... So where did Cyndi go wrong and where did Madonna go right? Anyone care to speculate?

Don't get me wrong, Cyndi was a household name in the mid-eighties and remains a respected Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and an Emmy Award-winning film, television and theater actress... but why Madonna and not Cyndi Lauper? Was it because Madonna became a chameleon and changed with the times and Cyndi stayed the same?

Lauper was neck and neck with Madonna in terms of popularity and infectious pop anthems, and the fact that "Material Girl" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came out in the same year made the ushering in of a new generation of pop stars and hits all too clear and simple. Trouble is, throughout her career Lauper has never even come close to the success of her debut, whereas 20 years on, Madonna continues to be, well, Madonna.

In 1983 Cyndi's "She's So Unusual" exploded and shot to #4 on the Billboard pop charts where it stayed in the top 40 for sixty-five weeks. All told it remained on the charts for 172 weeks and Cyndi became the first artist in history to have 4 top-five singles released from one album.

Lauper became popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image and with a series of quirky videos, Lauper dominated MTV for several months. Her bizarre fashion, consisting of multiple layers of thrift store clothing and dozens of accessories, influenced fashion for the last half of the 1980's. Hmmm...

I rummaged the web to find any mentions of Cyndi from Madonna and vice versa but didn't come up with much.

A Madonna fan site I stumbled upon said "I cannot think of any interview where Madonna mentions Cyndi Lauper. I'd guess Madonna doesn't really care about CL, she probably just views her as another artist that has disappeared. I have never seen a picture of them together. The only real reference I can think of them together is on Madonna's Who's That Girl tour. Madonna performed Dress You Up as a CL spoof where she wore an outfit very similar to something from the Girls just want to have fun video. I'm not sure if it was intended as humor or to be mocking."

Hmmm... indeed.