For this month’s The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to cover the classic 80’s pop song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. The original is by Robert Hazard who wrote the song and the cover we are going to use is Cyndi Lauper’s. I know, you thought that was her original song, didn’t you? Nope. Not hers. I guess an argument could be made that Cyndi’s is not really a cover since Robert’s song was only a demo and never released and I can see that argument, but I am ignoring for that so I have a post.
Robert Hazard wrote the song in 20 minutes while taking a shower in a motel. I guess you listen whenever inspiration strikes. He made a demo in 1979, but the demo never went anywhere. That was until Cyndi’s producer, Rick Chertoff, remembered hearing the song and took her to meet Mr. Hazard. After meeting, Cyndi wanted to do the song and Robert allowed her to tweak a few lyrics to fit the song coming from a woman’s perspective as the original is taken from a man’s perspective.
Robert’s version comes from a guys point of view and talking about what he wants to do with girls and that they really want to have “fun” in the sleazy sort of way. Cyndi of course turns it as she is the one one out late getting in to trouble because she and all girls want to have fun. It became more a feminist anthem and is now so recognizable as Cyndi’s song since she truly made it her own.
Robert Hazard’s version is more of an uptempo rock song, heavier on the guitar than on synthesizers. It has a great drum beat and the chorus is catchy. His song is a little more sleazy than a pop feminist anthem There is a great little guitar solo and it is an all around fun song.
Robert’s singing is pretty good. He has a little roughness and grit to his vocals. They aren’t all smooth and slick. This helps in giving it a little sleaze factor to it. I have to admit not hearing this song prior to researching this post and it is hard getting Cyndi’s version out of your head when you hear it, but I see why she was taken with the song and wanted to sing it as there is something special there.
Cyndi’s version changes things up significantly while still maintains the original song structure and vibe. She adds a whole lot of synthesizers and electronic drum sounds including some weird little bleeps. The song went from a guitar rock song to a dance hit. It is a happy, jovial tune now without any of the sleaze.
Cyndi’s unique sounding vocals are so happy and cheerful, you can’t help but get swept up in her bubble gum pop world and get up and dance along with the song. She has such a beautiful voice as well. The honesty in her voice propels the song into a women’s anthem that empowers women to go out and do anything you want as there is nothing they can’t do that a guy does. It is okay to have “fun” the same way a guy does. You can find the song on her debut album ‘She’s So Unusual’.
Is there any discussion needed with this one? Cyndi took and owned this song. With a few minor tweaks, she turned a sleazy male point of view rock song and turned it in to an empowering anthem for women. No contest! I had so much trouble shaking Cyndi’s version from my mind when I was listening to the original demo of Robert’s which alone is a sign of the fact that it is Cyndi’s song now. I am sure Robert’s band account is fine with that fact as well.
I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs. Let me know which version you like the best and why. Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.
The lyrics below are for Robert Hazard’s original version…
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Witten by Robert Hazard