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Cyndi Lauper - True Colors (1986)

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“True Colors” is a song written by American songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from American singer Cyndi Lauper‘s second album. It was the only ...

“True Colors” is a song written by American songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from American singer Cyndi Lauper‘s second album. It was the only original song on the album that Lauper did not help to write. Released late in the summer of 1986, the song would become a major hit for Lauper, spending two weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her last single to occupy the top of the U.S. chart. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Music video

The music video for the song, which received heavy rotation on MTV, was directed by American choreographer Patricia Birch. In the video, Lauper sings on a dark sound stage besides a pair drums, while a young girl (Catrine Dominique) explores a beach and ends up seeing two women drinking tea on a boat. Lauper appears on the beach in an elaborate jeweled headdress with a shell in her hand. She is then seen lying on a white sheet which a long haired man (David Wolff) proceeds to pull. They eventually 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 leans over a pool of water in a scene reminiscent of the album photo cover. The video ends as it began, with the singer banging on the drums.

Reception and legacy

The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 25, 1986, beating Tina Turner’s “Typical Male” to the top spot. It also peaked at number three in Australia and New Zealand, and 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

“True Colors” also became a standard in the gay community. In various interviews, Lauper elaborated that the song had resonated with her because of the recent death of her friend, Gregory Natal, from HIV/AIDS. Years later, Lauper co-founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating LGBT youth homelessness.