Philly Had a Hand in Cyndi Lauper Writing “Time After Time”
It’s a tough fight with “True Colors,” but Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” is arguably the pink-haired singer-songwriter’s definitive hit. The ballad hit No. 1 when it was released in 1984 and, according to a piece this week in the Wall Street Journal, moved all kinds of big-name music folks, like Miles Davis, who later recorded his own version, and Roberta Flack.
The WSJ piece goes into detail about the making of the song, and it turns out much of its inspiration came out of Philadelphia. It was co-written by Rob Hyman, co-founder of Philadelphia rock band The Hooters, and appeared on an album produced by Penn alum and Hyman’s friend Rick Chertoff.
In 1982, Chertoff connected Hyman and The Hooters with Lauper, who was looking for musicians for her first solo album, She’s So Unsusual — the one that would birth “Time After Time.”
“In the months that followed, she came down often to Philadelphia to “the Ranch,” the band’s name for the warehouse where we rehearsed,” Hyman told WSJ. “Throughout the winter, Cyndi, [Hooters co-founder] Eric Bazilian and I recorded rough demos of the songs Rick wanted for her album on a four-track Portastudio cassette recorder.”
When they had enough for an album, Lauper still wasn’t satisfied. She knew she needed something else. So she and Hyman began kicking around ideas for a new song. “I was so happy when Rob wanted to write together,” Lauper told WSJ. “We started by putting together a list of song titles. I thumbed through a TV Guide magazine. One movie title seemed good — a sci-fi film called “Time After Time” from 1979. I never meant for it to be the song’s real title. It was just supposed to get me thinking.”
Slowly, the song came together with the two going back and forth, with Lauper in New York and Hyman in Philadelphia. Hyman even remembers grabbing a windup clock from his mom’s house that eventually inspired the lyrics “Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick/and think of you.”
“With the chorus and two verses in place, we still needed a third. We came up with the last verse over the phone when I was back home in Philadelphia,” Hyman says.
The rest, as they say, is music history — and the Philly roots are none too surprising, given our recent accolade as the Best Music City in North America. Check out the more-detailed version of Time After Time’s creation over at the Wall Street Journal.
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