This summer marked the 30th anniversary of Cyndi Lauper’s hit song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,”a celebration of, well, ladies celebrating, anytime, anywhere.
Lauper has been a busy fun-having girl since her debut album, She’s So Unusual, was released in 1983 — winning the Tony award this year for composing the score for Broadway musical Kinky Boots. The cast celebrated by making her a tribute video to her classic song, visual proof that even 30 years later, this song will still make you want to get up and dance. (Blink and you’ll miss Whoopi Goldberg, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Kelly Ripa, and Katie Couric, among many others.)
If Cindy proved anything besides girls being up for non-stop fun, it was that ladies can bring it with a summer anthem that has serious staying power. Luckily, the 1990s and 2000s picked up where songs like hers left off, with every year seeing women hit the summertime charts and staying there. Talented female musicians have sung us through the summer for the past 20 years, with perfect pop songs, road trip-ready hip hop, and a soulful love song or two for balance.
Christina Aguilera, Adele, and Alicia Keys have been my co-pilots on many a perfect, windows-down, sunroof-open weekend drive when the sun is out, the volume’s turned up, and I have nowhere special to be. To say I’m grateful for the company is an understatement, because sometimes there is nothing better than a great summer song.
I’m counting down a song from a chart-topping woman for each year from 1990 until this year, a list that includes summer hits from some of the most accomplished women in music. Please feel free to sing along, and let me know which ones you’d add to the list.