"Time After Time" was Cyndi Lauper's second single from her smash debut "She's So Unusual." The song reached number one in the United States in the second week of June 1984. The song was primarily written because everyone felt one more song was needed to round out the album. It was written relatively quickly; music first followed by lyrics. It has since gone on to become one of the quintessential relationship ballads of the 80's. The song receives a lot of radio airplay to this very day and has been covered by over 120 artists.
Lauper composed the song with Rob Hyman from The Hooters. He also sings with her on the track. The two would routinely sit together at a piano and work on song ideas for hours when recording sessions ended. One night, Cyndi, while skimming a TV Guide, noticed a 1979 Malcom McDowell movie about time travel called "Time After Time." She told Rob that she found the title for their new song. Rob, sitting at the piano at the time, practically came up with the music right then to what would eventually become the songs' chorus and hook.
The song's original tune was more up beat and reggae-like. However, once the two started penning the lyrics, inspired in part by Hyman's recent breakup and Cyndi's sometimes-complex relationship with then-manager David Wolff, the two decided to slow down the once-bouncy tune for something more touching and bittersweet.
The lyrics pretty much describe two people that can't keep the same pace within their relationship. Perhaps they have merely grown apart like so many couples do. One character is essentially miles ahead while the other struggles to keep up. A "suitcase of memories" represents one character somewhat reluctantly moving forward. An obvious love still exists between the two and is reaffirmed by the lines of "If you're lost you can look and you will find me, if you fall, I will catch you I will be waiting."
The video portrays Lauper tearfully leaving her family and boyfriend, played by real-life boyfriend/manager David Wolff, for new adventure and personal growth.
Lauper has admitted that quirky things going on in the recording studio inspired some of the lyrics. The lyric of "the second hand unwinds" was inspired because the producer had a backwards-winding watch. "The drum beats out of time" may also come from an occurrence in the studio.
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