Meet the Man Who Wrote ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is an anthem for women around the world, but, surprisingly, Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 No. 2 hit wasn’t written by a woman.

The song was a multi-Grammy nominee, MTV Video Award winner and a radio staple that’s since been covered by dozens of artists. It just happened to be written by a man named Robert Hazard, who recorded a demo in 1979.

The lyrics were mostly the same as Lauper’s hit version but told from the perspective of a young man trying to find his way in the world. Times have changed was the song’s essential message: “The phone rings in the middle of the night / My father says, My boy, what do you want from your life? / Father, dear, you are the fortunate one / Girls just wanna have fun.”

Listen to Robert Hazard’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’

Hazard, a Philadelphia-based artist and leader of Robert Hazard and the Heroes, received some positive words from Rolling Stone in 1981 that helped bring attention to the band. “Robert Hazard and the Heroes are a rock ‘n’ roll event waiting to happen,” wrote Kurt Loder

Why Cyndi Lauper Changed ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ Lyrics

Hazard often performed “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” live; Lauper’s producer, Rick Chertoff, took her to one of Hazard’s shows. She wasn’t all that impressed, especially with the song’s lyrics, which seemed to imply that women’s enjoyment rested on their sex lives.

“Every time we want to have fun, we’re whores,” Lauper said in Let the Canary Sing, a 2023 documentary about her life. If she was going to record the song, she wanted to make sure she transformed its message.

“So I began to cut this out, cut that out, this needs a melody here, make this change, bring this together. Say, ‘Oh, mama, dear, we’re not the fortunate ones / ‘Cause girls want to have fun’ — and we can’t,” Lauper recalled to PBS’ Finding Your Roots [via Billboard]. “All of a sudden, it had this new life.”

Lauper wanted the same attitude in the song’s video. “I was trying really hard to make an anthem that would inspire women and open the doors to all women,” she explained to People in 2023. “Not just one group of women, but every little girl could see herself and realize that she too could have a joyful experience in life.”

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was the lead single off Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, and was a huge success.

Read More: Five Reasons Cyndi Lauper Should be in the Rock Hall of Fame

What Happened to Robert Hazard After ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’?

Hazard, meanwhile, kept at his solo career, earning a good deal of recognition in his hometown but less so elsewhere. “I’m famous in three states,” he joked to Dick Clark in 1983. “Things are tough in the business right now, just takes longer for bands to break.”

He released six albums during his career, the most recent arriving in 2007. He died just shy of his 60th birthday on Aug. 5, 2008, following complications from pancreatic cancer. But his name lives on as the solely credited writer of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

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Watch Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ Video

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