Chart-topping 80s icon Cyndi Lauper seems to have passed the apex of her career, but her karaoke-friendly catalog of hits – like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – will forever be heard.
Raised in Queens, New York, Cyndi Lauper took to songwriting at age 12, when she first learned to play acoustic guitar. Dropping out of high school at 17, Lauper eventually earned her GED, but not before she and her dog Sparkle tried to make a life for themselves in Canada. Within a few years, Lauper was performing in New York City with several cover bands, but a vocal cord injury forced her to take a year off to recover. She and her band, Blue Angel, briefly signed with Polydor Records (now owned by Univeral Music Group), but the group dissolved and fired their manager after their debut album tanked. Lauper found hope and – for a time – love with her Portrait Records manager David Wolff, who discovered her performing in a bar.
Lauper went on to be the first female artist with four top-five singles from the same album. She won the Best New Artist award at the 1985 Grammys with She's So Unusual, which featured the unforgettable Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Time After Time (immortalized in the film Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion). At the request of Steven Spielberg, Lauper served as musical director on The Goonies.
Having since retired and un-retired from singing, Lauper placed sixth in season nine of The Celebrity Apprentice. She is a vocal gay rights activist, and also supports animal adoption campaigns. [Image via AP]