Last week seemed like a particularly rough time for celebrity deaths, and in the shuffle it would be easy to overlook Robert Hazard, who's hardly a household name. But the musician and songwriter, who died last week at age 59, gave Cyndi Lauper one of her biggest hits, and so I wanted to take a minute to pay tribute to the man behind "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
As the story goes, Hazard wrote the poppy song in a motel bathtub in Delaware in the late '70s. Lauper's version appeared on her debut album, She's So Unusual, in 1983 and quickly climbed the charts, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and being named 1994's Video of the Year by MTV. It went on to spawn an '80s movie of the same name and dozens of covers, including one recently by Miley Cyrus.
I can't describe the original version as anything but a joy; it always gives me a little jolt of energy. I also love how much the song changes when put in different hands; some, like singer-songwriters Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, make it melancholy (check out their version), while others manage make it even peppier (the Chipettes on The Chipmunks, for example). Even Weird Al has had his bit of fun with it.
To check out the classic music video and a bunch of versions of the song,