Unsurprisingly, pop chameleon extraordinaire Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time‘ (undoubtedly one of the most iconic ballads of all time) has been covered by over a hundred artists till date.
And of course that’s reason enough for the song to get a much deserved shout-out as our Throwback Tuesday song of the week!
Back in 1983 (long long LONG before Lady Gaga made ‘unusual’ cool), Cyndi Lauper’s début album ‘She’s So Unusual‘ spawned a then-unheard-of four consecutive top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – a first for a female vocalist back then – including her most iconic song till date, the # 2 peaking ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun‘, and of course, her first Billboard # 1 hit, the gloriously mellow ‘Time After Time‘.
I consider ‘She’s So Unusual‘ to be a landmark album, influential in ushering music into the video era – especially cuz of the clips for ‘Girls..‘, ‘Time After Time‘ and ‘She Bop‘. The visually arresting cuts for Cyndi’s videos kept the songs on heavy rotation on MTV, and upped the game and pushed the envelope when it came to creativity in music videos. Of course it was Michael Jackson who started it all, and Madonna and Janet Jackson who defined the video era, but Lauper’s unusual style set her apart, and she blazed her own trail for many a Lady Gaga or a Katy Perry to follow.
‘She’s So Unusual‘ sold over an excess of 16 million units worldwide, peaking at # 4 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. At the 27th Annual Grammy Awards, Lauper bagged the coveted Best New Artist trophy, as well as the Best Album Package award – apart from nominated in ALL the major categories including Record, Album as well as Song Of The Year for ‘Time After Time‘.
‘Time After Time‘ was the second single released from the album, and went on to become the first of two # 1 singles for Lauper, the second being 1986’s ‘True Colors‘. ‘Time..‘ also went on to win the prestigious Best Female Video award at the very first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 – where she managed to earn a massive 9 nominations!
Apart from the original version of the song, there are roughly about a gazillion other versions of the song that I totally dig. Firstly, a heart-breakingly lush version performed live by Cyndi, and assisted by the flawless Sarah McLachlan performed at the American Music Awards in 2005. This one takes my breath away!
Possibly one of the most unusual collaborations of all time culminated in one of my favorite versions of the song EVER. The Queen Bee of Rap, Grammy winner Lil’ Kim joined Cyndi to belt out ‘Time After Time‘ for Nelson Mandela’s birthday in 2009, blending in some of her signature verses, but keeping it delightfully mellow and somber. Insane!
And finally, the version which brings back some major memories of high school, inducing a tear or two. I have to admit R’n’B singer Inoj’s version of ‘Time After Time‘ appealed to me more than the original version of the song. Back in 1998, Inoj’s version of the song flew up the charts, peaking at # 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Inoj’s honeyed and subdued vocals brought about a touch of soul to the song, effectively mellowing down the song to a tear-jerker. When you’re leaving high school and moving on to college, the lyrics ‘If you’re lost you can look and you will find me – time after time‘ should ideally help you shed copious tears, thinking about your unbridled days of youth etc. Of course the song meticulously assisted my waterworks back in the day.