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Check Out Some Rare Photo Outtakes From Cyndi Lauper’s ‘She’s So Unusual’ Ahead of Its 40th Anniversary

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This Saturday (Oct. 14) marks 40 years since one of the greatest debut albums of all time introduced the world to the, well, unusual talents of a Brooklyn singer-songwriter. With the Oct. 14, 1983 release of She’s So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper announced she had arrived — and pop music would never quite be the same.

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Over nine tracks that encompass exuberant pop, delirious new wave, off-kilter torch songs and empowerment anthems, Lauper invited listeners to flaunt conventions, follow their own arrows and let their freak flags fly. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” – one of six singles from the album – quickly became an era-defining anthem, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and giving us a gleefully unhinged music video that helped define early MTV (and recently joined the billion views club on YouTube). Soon after, the timeless pop ballad “Time After Time” became her first Hot 100 topper, giving Reagan Era prom-goers a slow dance staple. Before the blockbuster LP’s run was done, it became the first album from a female artist to produce four top 5 Hot 100 singles.

On the Van Gogh-painted heels of the album’s success, Lauper won the best new artist Grammy at the 1985 Grammy Awards, where the cover art – which is in the top 10 of Billboard’s list of the 100 Best Album Covers of All Time – nabbed Janet Perr the Grammy for best recording package.

Shot by rock photography GOAT Annie Leibovitz in front of a shuttered Coney Island wax museum, the cover art features a shoeless Lauper clad in explosively colorful clothing that she thrifted from Screaming Mimi’s, an NYC vintage shop she worked at before catapulting herself into the pop stratosphere.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of an indelible album, Billboard is sharing three rare outtakes from the She’s So Unusual cover shoot, all photographed by Leibovitz on Coney Island during the summer of 1983. For Record Store Day acolytes, a blue vinyl version of the album will hit shelves soon.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper

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