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Cyndi Lauper attends the 2013 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Reception on May 1, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 debut album was entitled She’s So Unusual and, at that time, she was. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Cyndi was drawn to music as a child. She also developed her own identity and sense of style early on, from the way she spelled her first name to her ever-changing hair color.

Lauper was expelled from high school and left home at 17, to escape her abusive stepfather. After briefly studying art, she found work singing for various cover bands in the 1970s. By 1978, Cyndi had decided that she needed to make her own music. It proved to be the right decision. Her first solo album became a worldwide hit, peaking at No. 4 in the U.S. and reaching the top five in eight other countries.

Since 1983, Cyndi has released eleven studio albums and participated in many other projects, including “We Are The World;” multiple movies, TV shows, and soundtracks; as well as composing the original score for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. She won a Tony and a Grammy for the latter. Lauper has also worked tirelessly as an advocate for LGBT rights in the United States for many years.

Cyndi Lauper’s three biggest singles came from her first two studio albums. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. The very next single from She’s So Unusual, “Time After Time,” made it all the way to No. 1 in 1984. Two years later, Cyndi would top the chart again with the title track from her True Colors album.

  • Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1983)

    The cast in “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” included professional wrestling manager “Captain” Lou Albano as Cyndi’s father and her real mother, Catrine, playing herself. It won the American Video Award for Best Female Performance in 1983 and the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video in 1984.

  • Time After Time (1984)

    “Captain” Lou Albano returned to play a cook in the video for “Time After Time.” The storyline is about a young woman leaving her lover behind. Lauper’s mother, brother, and then-boyfriend/manager, David Wolff, all appear in the video as well.

  • True Colors (1986)

    The video for “True Colors” has a surreal, dream-like quality. It’s like a Salvador Dali painting come to life. Cyndi’s then-boyfriend/manager, Dave Wolff, makes another appearance. The song became an anthem for the LGBT community.