Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper

The song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper, was released in 1983. This song is fantastic, very liberating, with positive energy, enough with the traditional gender roles, girls just want to be free and enjoy life. I love this song. As often when I set out to write these pieces, the research takes me down a rabbit hole of curiosities. This rabbit hole was, just like the song promises, definitely fun! So thanks Cyndi, for making my day so enjoyable while exploring this song. I will share what I found with you.

First, the song was written by a guy named Robert Hazzard, a guy from Delaware County, PA who wrote this song and another called “Escalator Life” which was somewhat successful. As far as I know, those are the only two successful songs he wrote. His version is definitely way worse than Cyndi’s. You can hear his original version on Youtube here, and you can hear his other hit “Escalator Life” here. Robert Hazzard was a heavy smoker and died at the age of 60. Cyndi was given this song and was told she could do whatever she wanted with it. She changed it to her style and the rest is history.

The video for this song is fantastic. It features her mom playing her mom, and her dad is played by Captain Lou Albano who was an insane wrestler manager, and apparently, he worked with Cyndi as her “personal advisor” teaching her the PEG principle, Politeness, Etiquette, and Grooming. She talked about this on the Tonight Show with David Letterman.

This guy Lou Albano is completely insane, although apparently his brother was a high school teacher and used him as an example of the difference between “insane” and “unique.” Yeah, I can see how Cyndi Lauper would be a good example of that difference, but I am not sure about Lou, maybe… In this Letterman episode he can be heard claiming to have written “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” to having made Cyndi Lauper, and rants multiple times about women’s roles and how they should be in the kitchen and so on. Of course, it may be ironic, I don’t know the guy that well, but you judge for yourself if this looks “unique” or “insane”:

Returning to the video for the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” the mother and the father in that video are shown as critical of their daughter who doesn't seem to accept the female traditional role she is supposed to embody. Cyndi wore chains around her dress to symbolize the oppression women still suffered, she also chose a lot of different women with many different looks in order to represent all women, not just the glamorous stereotypes. I love the part of the video when the women dance through a row of tough-looking construction guys, love that scene. In the end they all dance back into her house, there is a sweet-looking guy with a bouquet of flowers who seems to be proposing to Cyndi, the flowers become a shower of petals over everyone dancing and the guy is also dancing. I like the subtlety of this scene, we can see that the feeling is honest from the guy, but the resolution is also honest and loving, we don’t need to revert back to those roles to enjoy love and freedom and life in general.

It is interesting to compare the original lyrics with Cyndi’s lyrics. In the original he says:

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father says, “My boy, what do you want from your life?”
Father dear, you are the fortunate one
Girls just wanna have fun
Yeah, girls just wanna have fun

Come home with the morning light
My mother says, “My boy, you’ve got to start living right.”
Don’t worry, mother dear, you’re still number one
Girls just wanna have fun
These girls just wanna have fun

Cyndi switched the verses around and changed the lyrics to fit a woman:

I come home, in the mornin’ light
My mother says “When you gonna live your life right?”
Oh momma dear, we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls, they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have fun…

The phone rings, in the middle of the night
My father yells “What you gonna do with your life?”
Oh daddy dear, you know you’re still number one
But girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have

It’s pretty cool, she turned around a song about a guy who is faced with the new freedom of women and is thinking, ok, I guess I will just enjoy it, to a woman who says, I will enjoy it, and I am taking over from here, thank you very much, we will refuse the narrative that men are taking advantage of us, we do what we want. Girls just want to have fun, i.e., we want to be free and enjoy life to the fullest, just like everyone else.

I love this attitude, but it is interesting in hindsight how this backfired, since men were still in a position of power, women’s liberation ultimately led to the expectation that powerful men should be able to have sex with whomever they wanted since there was no “virtue” to protect anyone. Since they did still have the power, women did earn a right to say yes but lost the right to say no (without retaliation.) We are still trying to figure out this issue today, as long as there is a power imbalance, this will not be resolved. We can’t go back to where we were, protecting women’s “virtue,” we must empower women so that “yes” and “no” are their absolute choice. I would absolutely love to hear Cyndi’s take on this issue. If you know of an interview where she addresses it or if you have any info, please share in the comments.

Here is the video and the lyrics:

I come home, in the mornin’ light
My mother says “When you gonna live your life right?”
Oh momma dear, we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls, they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have fun…

The phone rings, in the middle of the night
My father yells “What you gonna do with your life?”
Oh daddy dear, you know you’re still number one
But girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have

That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the workin’ day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun
Ho hoo girls just wanna have (girls) fun (they want)
(Wanna have fun)
(Girls)
(Wanna have)

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest o’ the world
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls, they wanna have fun
Ho hoo girls just wanna have
That’s all they really want
Is some fun
When the workin’ day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have (girls) fun (they want)
(Wanna have fun)
(Girls)
(Wanna have)
They just want, they just wanna (girls)
They just want, they just wanna (girls just wanna have fun)
Oh girls
Girls just wanna have fun
(Just want, they just wanna)
They just wanna, they just wanna (girls)
They just want, they just wanna (girls just wanna have fun)
Girls, girls just wanna have fun
When the workin’
When the workin’ day is done
Oh, when the workin’ day is done
Oh, girls
Girls just wanna have fun
They just want, they just wanna (girls)
They just want, they just wanna (girls just wanna have fun)
Oh, girls
Girls just wanna have fun
(They just wanna, they just wanna)
When the workin’
When the working day is done (they just want, they just wanna)
Oh, when the working day is done (oh, girls)
(Girls just wanna have fun)
(They just want, they just wanna)

PhD in Philosophy, Professor, Artist, Movie Buff.