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Flashback Video: 'True Colors' by Cyndi Lauper

Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.


This issue we will cover "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. This was both the title track and the first single released from Lauper's second album in August of 1986. It would reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of October that year and spend two weeks at the top of that chart. The song was co-written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly and you can find out more about creating this hit song in my interview with Billy Steinberg.


The music video for "True Colors" was directed by Patricia Birch who was a dancer, choreographer and director. In addition to extensive work on Broadway, Birch was choreographer on the original 1978 film Grease and then came back to be the director for its 1982 sequel Grease 2. Among many other credits, Birch was the choreographer for Saturday Night Live from 1979 - 1986. She directed the music video for Cyndi Lauper's "Money Changes Everything" in 1984 before coming back to work with Lauper again on "True Colors".


In the video, Lauper sings on a dark soundstage, sitting beside a drum and holding a black flower. A young girl who explores a beach takes the flower and ends up seeing two women drinking tea on a boat. Lauper appears on the beach in an elaborate jeweled headdress now with a shell in her hand. She meets a long haired man (played by David Wolff) and they share a kiss. Lauper is then seen walking on the beach with a skirt made of newspaper while she walks past a class of schoolchildren. At the end of the video, she is shown leaning over a pool of water (in a shot similar to the album cover). The video ends as it began, only now, Lauper is beating on the drum four times, in time with the music. As with many of Cyndi Lauper's videos, this one is much more than just a performance video with lots of things going on. Here is the music video for "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper...



At the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, "True Colors" was nominated for Best Female Video but lost the VMA to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach". Lauper did present an award and perform "True Colors" at the awards show


Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!

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