What did Madonna have that Cyndi Lauper didn't?

Me too. I could have been bigger than Springsteen if I’d wanted to. I just chose not to. :rolleyes:

Do you throw darts at a bulletin board to pick a subject to be immovably contrary on every morning or are you sincerely this incapable of considering that maybe your ancient computer is keeping you from checking out videos that might at least nudge you to be reasonable about it?

I’m letting Dio’s intransigence on this get to me when I know I shouldn’t. I don’t disagree with most of the people in this thread to any great degree, but that kind of deliberate ignorance and unwillingness to even consider that he’s wrong about Cyndi being some kind of hack who got pushed into the spotlight and then sank back into…what? Singing on a street corner for change? is maddening.

Diogenes, maybe you are right. I don’t know how much talent you have, but if you are very talented, and you chose not to give your life over to a rock career, then maybe you* chose *not to be as big as Springsteen.

Lots of major stars gave their lives over to it. They dumped everything and lived and breathed their craft. They made enourmous sacrifices and the put in WORK. Someone like Beyonce, who I find incredibly beautiful but not necesarily the best singer in the world ( I will never forgive her for butchering At Last) has really busted her ass for her fame. There are surely more talented women out there, but none as driven as Beyonce. Don’t underestimate a spoonful of talent with a gallon of blood, sweat and tears.

I’m not even that old - Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee.

Go back farther, and you have an entire world of Ziegfield girls and their like - Olive Thomas, Evelyn Nesbitt - some of whom sang.

Farther than than and you have the courtesans.

Entertainment and sex were not united by Madonna. She just marketed it better with a better set of tools at her disposal (including MTV) than anyone had before.

Oh, Josephine Baker.

I’ll take your word for it that she’s better than her 80’s videos would suggest, but I think it’s absurd to suggest that she didn’t want to be just as big as Madonna. All performers want major popular success, no matter what they say.

I tried and worked and gave my life over to it, I just wasn’t good enough as a performer. I was a good songwriter, but I plateaued as a guitarist and singer. If you’d asked me then, I would have said I didn’t care about popular success and that I would never “sell out.” Most of the other musicians I knew would have said the same thing. We were all lying, though. We all desperately wanted to be famous and would have sold out in a heartbeat if anyone was buying.

The way to success, I (a former professional non-pop musician) think, is to really believe your thing will be the next big thing. Those are 2 separate concepts that have to come together to motivate an artist to do their best at the music and the business. True talent that truly cares about popularity, and will work for it, is that rare.

This is completely untrue.

Most people don’t know what they want. They only think they want fame. When they get it, they can’t handle it. Look at Kurt Cobain. He had problems that were not magically cured by fame and probably made a lot worse by it. So did Cyndi Lauper, just not the kind that makes you kill yourself. Cyndi Lauper has said she felt very uncomfortable with the success of SSU and actively fled the spotlight, yet she’s actually quite enduringly successful as a musician. Not anything compared to Madonna, but most people not only could not acheive her level of fame, they wouldn’t want it if they got it.

What did Madonna have that Cyndi Lauper didn’t?

Pointy tit cups.


If a thousand costume changes, lip-syncing to a studio-enhanced vocal track and being the least talented dancer on stage add up to some kind of amazing talent, you might have been a 12 year old girl in the 80’s.

This proves Cyndi can turn off that darn accent. Great song

Her Accent ruins (IMHO) this fantastic Dusty Springfield song

Shame that she insists on singing with that accent. She sounds so much better in that other song.

My $0.02, having lived through it.

Lauper was a musician and performer. She did songs she liked and worked with musicians she admired.

Madonna’s only concern was getting rich and famous and staying that way. She promoted herself vigorously and glommed onto whatever style was in at the time. It became so bad that about the time of Vogue it became a joke that whatever style Madonna was working at a given time meant that it had just peaked and would be irrelevant by next week. She didn’t a whit about music or artistic content and still doesn’t. If yodeling became the next big thing, she’d put out a yodel album and lip synch it in concert.

Lauper, while having faded in fame, remains a respected artist in pop and jazz vocal circles. She’s also gotten much more positive reviews for her small acting performances than Madonna could have dreamed of.

Dio, please avoid presenting your opinions as blanket statements of fact.


twickster, Cafe Society moderator

Here is an interview with Jason Corsaro the mix engineer for “Like a Virgin.” The article covers mostly technical details of the recording but the section I quoted below provides some good insight into Madonna’s personality. Not many inexperienced singers would have had the confidence to confront an established producer like Nile Rodgers (producer of Chic and Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”) and take control of the recording session.


**AnalogSignal **- that is a very insightful quote. From a professional musician’s perspective, that makes it clear that Madonna had a clear vision she was looking to make happen. A person can choose not to like the result, but dismissing Madonna as a hack who jumped on the lastest trend is simply NOT accurate.

And that vision and management of her career is a key component of her success vs. Cyndi Lauper. Folks have stated that Cyndi didn’t “want” a mega-star career and has garnered ongoing respect as a musical talent. To be clear, Cyndi is a true musical talent and the longevity of her career is a testament to that. But being successful at Madonna’s level requires FAR more than just musical talent - the ability to build supportive relationships within the business and articulate YOUR musical and career vision - both are essential and very, very hard to do well - especially if you are an eccentric musical genius with limited people skills. Based on many discussions with folks with first-hand knowledge of Cyndi, the latter is a reasonable description of her.

So feel free to prefer Cyndi’s musical talent, but there’s no need to trash Madonna for the skills she has used very, very well to manage her own career…

This forum and this thread are full of people stating opinions as facts. Since when is that against the rules and why aren’t you jumping on everyone else for it?

Exactly. There is space on my iPod for both artists. A pet peeve of mine is pitting female musical artists against one another, Highlander style “There can be only one!” I can prefer a particular singer without trashing another singer. I can dislike a musician’s work on its own lack of merits.