The Story of... 'Time After Time' by Cyndi Lauper

22 November 2021, 17:24 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 10:54

Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time
Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time. Picture: Epic

By Tom Eames

It's one of the most beautiful love songs of the 1980s, and it became perhaps Cyndi Lauper's signature song.

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Back in the public consciousness after it was covered by Mabel for the 2021 McDonald's Christmas advert, 'Time After Time' is, well... timeless.

But who wrote the ballad and where was its famous music video shot? Here are all the big facts behind the song:

  1. Who wrote 'Time After Time'?

    Rob Hyman in 2019
    Rob Hyman in 2019. Picture: Getty

    Cyndi Lauper co-wrote 'Time After Time' with Rob Hyman for her debut album She's So Unusual in 1983.

    At the time, Hyman worked as a musician and founding member of the rock band The Hooters.

    The track was one of the last songs on Cyndi's debut album to be recorded. While she was still writing material for it in the spring of 1983, producer Rick Chertoff introduced her to Hyman.

    Cyndi already recorded the majority of the album, including 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun', but Chertoff insisted that she and Hyman needed to record just "one more song".

    The pair then sat at a piano and started working on 'Time After Time'.

    Hyman told Songfacts: "It was the first time we met her. We talked and right from the jump she was so unusual. She was definitely different and striking and creative. One thing led to another - she saw our band, we got a chance to hear one of her demos.

    "She came down to Philadelphia and was staying with a friend. She worked with us in our rehearsal studio and did a bunch of demos, so it was really a tryout period - we also tried out some drummers and bass players, but it ended up being Eric and myself doing most of the guitars and keyboards, and Rick producing. We became her band for that album."

  2. What inspired 'Time After Time'?

    Cindi Lauper in 1984
    Cindi Lauper in 1984. Picture: Getty

    The inspiration for the song came from how both songwriters were going through issues in their respective romantic relationships.

    Hyman was coming out of a relationship, while Cyndi was having problems with her boyfriend and manager, David Wolff.

    One of the first lines Rob wrote was "suitcase of memories," which "struck her," claiming it was a "wonderful line," while other lines came from Cyndi's life experiences.

    The song's title was borrowed from a TV Guide listing for the 1979 movie Time After Time, which Cyndi had intended to use only as a temporary title during the writing process.

    Although she later tried to change the song's name, she said that she felt that 'Time After Time' had become so fundamental to the song that it wouldn't work with another title.

  3. How did it perform in the charts?

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    'Time After Time' was Cyndi Lauper's first number-one single in the US, in June 1984.

    In the UK, it peaked at number three in July 1984.

    It was nominated for Song of the Year at the 1985 Grammy Awards, and won prizes at the Billboard Awards and American Video Awards.

  4. Where was the video filmed?

    Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time (Official HD Video)

    Directed by Edd Griles, the video is about a young woman leaving her lover when she becomes homesick and worried about her mother.

    Cyndi's mother, brother, and then-boyfriend, David Wolff, all appear in the video, and Lou Albano, who played her father in the 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' video, is also seen as a cook.

    Parts of the video were filmed at the now-demolished Tom's Diner in Roxbury Township, New Jersey, and at the Morristown train station. Other clips were also shot in front of Betty's Department Store in Wharton, New Jersey.

    Cyndi Lauper said: "It was important to me that we were natural and human in the video. I wanted to convey somebody who walked her own path and did not always get along with everyone and did not always marry the guy."

    The video sees Cyndi watching the 1936 film The Garden of Allah.

  5. Who else has recorded it?

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    Among the many cover versions of 'Time After Time' include:

    • INOJ (a top 10 hit in the US in 1998)
    • Novaspace (a dance cover that reached the UK top 40 in 2003)
    • Quietdrive
    • Miles Davis
    • Distant Soundz
    • Mabel (recorded for the 2021 McDonald's Christmas advert)
    • Matchbox Twenty
    • Boyz II Men

    Time After Time