Friday, August 6, 2021

"Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" by Cyndi Lauper

Song#:  3574
Date:  07/09/1988
Debut:  81
Peak:  54
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Lauper established herself as one of the 80s top musical acts scoring seven Top 10 hits between '83 and '86. Her quirky fashion style and bubbly personality made her stand out as well and after making several successful music videos, it seemed that a logical next step would be to expand into acting. Columbia Pictures would come calling and cast Lauper in her first feature film, the comedy/adventure flick Vibes. Obviously, to capitalize on her involvement in the film, she was asked to supply a theme song. Lauper recorded this tune that was written by Richard Orange. It was released as a single prior to the film's release. Unfortunately, it didn't connect with the pop radio audience and the song stalled near the halfway mark on the Pop chart. A soundtrack album would be released that featured the film's score by James Horner, but this track was not included. While the song was a bit of a flop in the US, it did quite well in Australia where it reached #8.

ReduxReview:  Is this one of Lauper's best songs? No, but it is not among her worst either. In fact, I've always thought it was underrated. The surf guitar along with the tune's new wave feel was a solid fit for Lauper. I thought the chorus was hooky and memorable as well. Was it prime for the Top 10? Not really, but it should have done much better. It certainly didn't help that the film was a bomb (see below). While it may be easy to pin the song's chart failure on the film's performance, I think there were other factors as well including folks getting tired of Lauper's eternal quirkiness and dime store fashion. Her personality was eclipsing the music and it seems people were over it and wanted her to mature and this song with its oddball title didn't fit that bill. I liked the song and bought the single. These days it is sort of a lost song in her catalog and has only appeared on a couple of her compilation albums that were mainly released in Australia where the song was a hit.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  For her first film, Lauper was cast in Vibes, an adventure comedy where she played a psychic named Sylvia. Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment was the production company involved and at first Howard was slated to direct, but then he dropped out and got Ken Kwapis as a replacement. It would be Kwapis' third feature film. At first, Dan Aykroyd was signed on to play the male lead. The studio then chose to bring Lauper on board for the female lead. Their first reading together didn't go well and Aykroyd decided he didn't want to work with Lauper. The studio thought she was right for the part and wanted to keep her, so Aykroyd decided to quite the picture. The studio then brought in Jeff Goldblum, who had recently starred in the hit horror flick The Fly. After the dust settled, the movie got made and it was ready for a summer release. The studio was probably banking on Lauper's star power to make the film a hit, but it wasn't meant to be. Critics panned the movie and it was virtually DOA at the box office. Its failure certainly didn't help Lauper's single. She would quickly go back to music, but over time would take roles in films and TV shows. In the 90s, she would make four appearances on the hit TV comedy Mad About You. The role would earn her an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Combined with her two Grammy wins along with a Tony for her score to the hit musical Kinky Boots, Lauper just needs an Oscar to join the elite EGOT group.


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