Year Released: 1983

Notable Songs: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, “Time After Time”, “She Bop”, “All Through the Night” “Money Changes Everything”

Album MVP: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Why I Loved It: Cyndi Lauper is the Gwen Stefani of the 80’s  — only far, far better. Whether they were happy-go-lucky jams like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, “She Bop” or “Money Changes Everything” of emotional ballads like “Time After Time” and “All Through the Night”, Lauper not only dominated the mid-80s with this debut album but really set the standard for female pop (with a touch of new wave) music, and no I didn’t forget about Madonna either.  Lauper may have been a little wacko, but she was the perfect kind of wacko.  It’s just the industry needed back then.

More importantly, her tunes on She’s So Unusual are so compelling and have stood the test of time more than three full decades later.  

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is not just a pop classic but started to build a bridge between entertainment and professional wrestling — another story for another time. “Time After Time” for my money is Lauper’s crowning achievement and a timeless classic.  While it wasn’t a commercial giant, “All Through The Night” demonstrated Lauper’s underrated vocals while “She Bop” discreetly paid homage to female masturbation. This album had freegin everything. I loved it!

Commercial Success:  Lauper’s debut album was her career-best both critically and commercially. She’s So Unusual never reached number-on the Billboard Top 200, it peaked at four — but stayed on the top 40 charts for an incredible 65 weeks. It would finish 1984 ranked 11th on the year-end Billboard Top 200 and 29th in 1985.  Lauper also made history here, becoming the first female to have four top five Billboard Hot 100 singles on one album. “Time After Time” would become Lauper’s first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, spending two weeks on top. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was her first single and peaked at two. “She Bop” rose as high as three on the charts while “All Through The Night” reached four.  “Money Changes Everything” was her fifth-charting single but stalled out at No. 27.  She’s So Unusual would go on to receive several Grammy nominations, including both Album and Record of the Year.  Neither won but Lauper did win the Grammy for Best New Artist.  The album to date has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, including over six million in the United States.

Fun Facts: From regarding “She Bop”, which in the interest of complete honesty I wasn’t completely sure of until doing the research for this countdown:  This song is about masturbation: “They say that if I do it I’m going to go blind…,” “I can’t stop messin’ with the danger zone.” The video takes place in some kind of dystopian future where everyone conforms. It opens the “Burger Klone,” where smiling, lobotomized customers get their meals. Lauper finds herself a bad boy with a motorcylce and rides off in an animated landscape (a coy reference to the song’s meaning: when they stop a a gas station marked “self service”). By the end of the video, she has apparently gone blind.Lauper wanted kids to think this was about dancing. She was hoping they wouldn’t understand the real meaning until they got older. Lauper was an unlikely target for the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), but the group included “She Bop” on their 1985 list of the “Filthy 15” songs they found most objectionable. Since the PMRC was made up of the wives of lawmakers, they were able to force a senate hearing in their efforts to establish a rating system for music akin to what is used for movies. In the end, they got warning stickers placed on albums with explicit lyrics. These stickers generally helped sales of other “Filthy 15” members (Judas Priest, Prince and Twisted Sister among them), but an artist like Lauper was more likely to leave off a song that could get an album stickered, as it could hurt sales. A song like “She Bop” may not have made the cut once this system went in place.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack 

43. Tom Petty – Full Moon River 

42. Whitney Houston – Whitney 

41, REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity 

40. Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

39. Culture Club – Colour By Numbers 

38. Chicago – Chicago 17

37. Bryan Adams – Reckless

36. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

35. Heart – Heart 

34. Def Leppard – Pyromania 

33. Toto -Toto IV

32. The Police – Ghost In the Machine 

31. Madonna – Madonna

30. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

29. Hall and Oates – H20

28. Don Henley – The End Of The Innocence

27. The Police – Synchronicity 

26. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

25. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

24. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

23. Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer

22. Madonna – Like A Virgin

21. Debbie Gibson – Out Of The Blue

20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

19. Journey – Escape 

18. Billy Joel – An Innocent Man 

17. Van Halen – 1984

16. Janet Jackson – Control 

15. Madonna – True Blue