Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 22, 1953, and raised in Queens, New York, Cyndi Lauper began singing in cover bands in the early 1970s before forming her band Blue Angel, and writing and recording the band’s self-titled album in 1980.
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Following the band’s breakup, Lauper continued writing, and penned most of the tracks for her 1983 debut She’s So Unusual, including hits “Time After Time” and “She Bop,” and picked up a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1985. Lauper kept writing through her 1986 hit album True Colors, her follow-up A Night to Remember, and throughout her catalog of 11 albums.
By the 2010s, Lauper had also written all of the music for the 2013 Broadway musical Kinky Boots, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015, throughout Lauper’s 40-plus year career, she has collaborated with dozens of artists, including the late Jeff Beck, who co-wrote and played on her 2005 single “Above the Clouds” and Mary Chapin Carpenter, who co-wrote her stirring 1993 ballad “Sally’s Pigeons,” among many more.
Outside of her own lengthy catalog, here are four songs Lauper also wrote for other artists from the mid-’80s through 2010s.
1. “Code of Silence,” Billy Joel (1986)
Written by Cyndi Lauper and Billy Joel
The final song Billy Joel recorded for his tenth album, The Bridge, was “Code of Silence,” which he co-wrote with Cyndi Lauper, who is also featured on backing vocals.
Lauper also covered the “Code of Silence” live on several occasions, and Joel later contributed backing vocals on the track “Maybe He’ll Know,” off her second album, True Colors.
But you swore to yourself a long time ago
There were some things that people never needed to know
Guess there’s one that you keep
That you bury so deep
No one can tear it out
And you can’t talk about it
Because you’re following a code of silence
You’re never gonna to lose the anger
You just deal with it a different way
2. “Unconditional Love,” Susanna Hoffs (1991)
Written by Cyndi Lauper, Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg
Breaking off from The Bangles to pursue her solo career, Susanna Hoffs found the title of her debut album by plucking a lyric from David Bowie‘s 1979 single “Boys Keep Swinging.”
When You’re a Boy, which closes on a cover of Bowie’s Lodger classic, also includes songs co-written by Diane Warren and Juliana Hatfield. Along with Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who penned The Bangles’ 1988 hit “Eternal Flame,” and Cyndi Lauper’s 1986 hit, “True Colors,” Lauper also contributed lyrics to Hoff’s softer ballad, “Unconditional Love.”
I wanna fall into you
And I wanna be everything you want me to
But I’m not sure I know how
I lose faith and I lose ground
When I see you I remember, oh
It doesn’t matter what I say
’cause it always seems you’re taking me the wrong way
But if you could read my mind
You’d see, I fight myself all the time
3. “Boys Will Be Boys,” The Hooters (1993)
Written by Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, and Eric Bazilian
Cyndi Lauper not only co-wrote The Hooters’ 1993 single “Boys Will Be Boys” with band members Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, but she’s also featured as a guest vocalist on the track.
Hyman previously worked with Lauper on her 1983 debut, She’s So Unusual, and helped her co-write the pop ballad hit “Time After Time,” and also appears in backing vocals. The Hooters were also the primary session musicians working with Lauper while she was recording She’s So Unusual.
With every step I take
I get one step in step with you
With every move you make
I can’t wait to make my move
Got your voice buzzing in my head
And a roller coaster down my spine
Well don’t you know that Boys will be boys
And I could never live my life without you
Sometimes you make me feel like I got a heart full of toys
Oh baby, boys will be boys
4. “Hold Me In Your Heart,” Billy Porter (2013)
Written by Cyndi Lauper
Of the songs Cyndi Lauper composed for her production of Kinky Boots The Musical with Harvey Weinstein, standouts like “I’m Not My Father’s Son” (featuring Stark Sands) and “Hold Me In Your Heart,” were both performed by Billy Porter.
Composing the music of Kinky Boots marked Lauper’s debut as a musical theater songwriter, and she picked up a Tony Award for Best Musical Score in 2013 for her work on the show.
You don’t want to see me anymore
You can’t listen to me laugh out loud
You don’t wanna see me dance
You can’t even take the chance
That it might reflect on you
You missed out on the best part of me
The part that made me who I am today
Oh, but the best part of me is standing in front of you
And loves you anyway
Photo: Rebecca Miller / Shore Fire Media