Cyndi Lauper – Time after time
At the end of January 1984, a song came out that would enter the playlist of the most romantic songs of the 80s forever. It was the second single and video from “She’s so unusual”, Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, released the previous fall and driven by the unstoppable success of “Girls just want to have fun“. This song, however, was completely different from the previous one, and also had a completely different story.
The producer of Cyndi’s album had found himself in a strange situation, because Cyndi’s band, while she was still unknown to the general public, had just disbanded. And so the producer turned to a couple of friends who had recently been part of a group with him, and asked them to work on Cyndi’s album. The album was almost ready, and included songs like “Girls just want to have fun” and “She bop”, so there was a feeling that they already had a great record in their hands.
The producer, Rick Chertoff, asked Cyndi and his friends for one more song. It was his way of doing things, always asking for extra effort, and Cyndi and his friends were expecting it, and in fact the request came. There wasn’t much time left, and Cyndi spent many hours, after the recording sessions for the other songs, with Rob Hyman, one of the musicians the producer had put on her. Cyndi created and Rob at the piano tried to put Cyndi’s thoughts to music.
At one point fate as always rang the bell of history, exactly as Cyndi tried to distract herself by reading a simple TV guide. That night she noticed a 1979 science fiction film. Probably a B-movie, since the plot consists of Jack the Ripper in the nineteenth century stealing a time machine from writer H. G. Wells, and traveling with it until 1979, where he is joined by the writer who persuades him not to kill again. Definitely a B-movie, I’d say. The title of this film was “Time after time”.
Cyndi was impressed by this beautiful title and with Rob decided that this should be the title of the song, at least tentatively, then once the recording was over they would find the definitive title.
They started from this title and started talking about themselves. They were actually two strangers, but they discovered that they were both in a sentimentally unhappy time, and exchanged confidences. Sometimes it happens that you meet at the right time a person you don’t even know, you create a harmony and in the end you tell this person things that you wouldn’t even say to a brother, maybe precisely because this person is absolutely foreign.
In a short time, re-telling their stories, Rob writes a crazy phrase, “suitcase of memories”, and slowly the song takes shape. Rob sings in the refrain with Cyndi, and in the end the song is quite defined. They should proceed with recording the instruments and the arrangements, but there is not much time. Between Cyndi and Rob there is such harmony, that they record at the first shot directly the final version that will go on the record. The male voice we hear in the refrain is Rob’s.
“Time after time” is a beautiful and very romantic song, but it is certainly a melancholy song, a song of goodbyes. And Cyndi had to find the right video for this song. She decided to involve the same group of people who appeared in “Girls just want to have fun”, including mom, brother, boyfriend, and even “Captain” Lou Albano, the wrestler who played Cyndi’s dad in the previous video.
The story is simple but strong: in a period of trouble with her boyfriend (who was her real boyfriend and manager David Wolff, with whom she was actually in bad times), Cyndi sees a vision of her mother, and is taken by homesickness and concern for the family. The video ends with Cyndi leaving on a train, wistfully greeting her boyfriend as a tear falls. A very strong image for a video that will remain in the hearts of many dinosaurs like us.
“Time after time” was the last song included on the album, and it was recorded a little quickly, perhaps without too much care, but for one of those magic of the 80s, it became a real symbol of Cyndi Lauper and of all that beautiful period.
Cyndi Lauper on Wikipedia