Cyndi Lauper‘s smash debut 1983 single, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” has joined the YouTube one billion views club. The girl-power anthem from Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, is her first clip to cross the billion line, 13 years after the classic visual was first posted to YouTube.
“A lot of people don’t realize this, but ‘Girls’ is really a political song,” Lauper said in a statement about the track she flipped to have a female perspective based on the original penned by songwriter-performer Robert Hazard. “When I got my feminist hands on it, I knew I wanted to make it into an anthem for all women. Sonically, I wanted the song to be uplifting and joyful. When it came time to make the video, it was really important to me to make sure we included women from every walk of life. I wanted every little girl watching the video to have the joyful experience of seeing herself on that screen. I wanted us to be a community.”
As the Grammy-nominated track ran all the way up to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the Edd Griles-directed video was in heavy rotation on MTV in the early days when the channel played music clips 24 hours a day.
With Lauper’s mother playing the part of a put-upon matriarch and professional wrestler/manager Captain Lou Albano as her dad, the low-budget visual with screensaver graphics introduced the world to the kewpie doll-voiced singer with a flashy, trashy thrift store look and Tang-colored hair. In the bouncy video, Lauper and a gang of fellow fun-lovers sing and dance through the streets and end up at a packed new-wave house party to the consternation of eternally agitated Albano.
“Years later, at the Women’s March, I saw that community in action. I saw all types of women and girls carrying signs saying ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Rights,’” Lauper added in her statement. “And now, here we are at a billion views. Back when we made the video, there was no YouTube, so when you think about it, it’s really extraordinary — the reach that this song has. The longevity. That people still purposely seek this video out and press play. Wow. I’m really grateful. Thank you.”
The Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy-winning singer who has sold more than 50 million records worldwide was the first woman in history to have four top-five singles from a debut album (“Time After Time,” “She Bop” and “All Through the Night”).
Check out the “Girls Just Want” video below.