Girls Just Want to Have Fun Original
Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a 1980s feminist pop anthem accompanied by a Grammy-winning music video. It has close to 40 cover versions, including Weird Al Yankovic’s parody “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch”. But the unknown original version of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was sung by a man. This put a completely different slant on girls wanting to have “fun”.
Writing a Hit in 15 Minutes
Robert Hazard (born Robert Rimato) was the son of an opera singer and grew up in Philadelphia. He wrote and performed music in a variety of genres and had a new wave band called Robert Hazard and the Heroes. In 1979, Hazard wrote the words to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. It took him 15 minutes while taking a bath in a motel. He recorded a demo, then put it aside for four years.
Hazard’s 1979 version of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” has a decidedly new wave sound to it. If you’re into that genre of music, you’ll enjoy it. Hazard has the whole new wave aesthetic, from the retro 50s hairstyle to the skinny tie. The guitar plays a familiar riff, but it’s super jangly. This version ain’t pop.
Hearing the song from a male perspective is kind of weird though. It changes its whole dynamic.
Hazard went on to record “Escalator of Life”. He was popular in the Philadelphia club scene, but his fame never really reached a national scale. He passed away in 2008.
The original lyrics to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be found here.
A Feminist Pop Anthem
In 1983, music producer Rick Chertoff remembered Hazard’s song when he was looking for material for Lauper’s debut album She’s So Unusual. Chertoff and Lauper went to meet with the writer, who agreed to let his lyrics be tweaked so the song could be sung from a female perspective.
Lauper said, “It was originally about how fortunate he was ’cause he was a guy around these girls that wanted to have ‘fun’ – with him – down there, which we do not speak lest we go blind.”
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was the first major single released by Lauper as a solo artist and the lead single from She’s So Unusual. It reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a worldwide hit during late 1983 and early 1984. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, Lauper’s breakthrough hit, was hugely popular throughout the 1980s. Even today it remains one of her signature songs.
The Grammy Award-winning music video was shot in Manhattan’s lower east side in the summer of 1983. It cost less than $35,000 to make thanks to the mostly volunteer cast and the free loan of sophisticated video equipment. The video clip was directed by Edd Griles, and the cast included Dan Ackroyd, professional wrestling manager “Captain” Lou Albano, and Lauper’s real-life mother Catrine, who had no acting experience, although her performance in the clip is wonderful.
Lauper’s song was all about female attitude. Hazard’s riff becomes “they just wanna, they just wanna” sung by Lauper in the bridge. And his jangly guitar becomes a more familiar synthesizer. With a cheerful, catchy tune, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” conveyed the message that all women want is to have the same opportunities as men.
Acceptance continued to be a theme of Lauper’s work throughout her career. The bright, outrageous, thrift shop clothes she wore in the music video set fashion trends for the early-mid 80s. Her look paved the way for other artists like Madonna. And then in 1985, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” featured in a film of the same name, starring unknown actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt and Shannen Doherty.
So there you have it. An unknown original of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” about a bloke hanging out with “fun” girls that became a 1980s feminist anthem.