The True Meaning Of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ Song

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

At times, the meaning behind a lyric can make the connection to a song even stronger. It lets you know that the singer-songwriter is someone you can relate to, and has gone through things you have. Cyndi Lauper’s hit Time After Time is one of those songs for many people. The song was the second single for her debut album, She’s So Unusual. It was actually the last song written but it made a lasting impact, not only on the record but in her career.

“Time After Time” By Cyndi Lauper Music Video

Rob Hyman & Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper was introduced to Rob Hyman of The Hooters with Eric Bazilian after her band Blue Angel had broken up. When she was in need of musicians to record her album, a Columbia Records producer, Rick Chertoff linked her with Rob and they hit it off. Rick Chertoff was infamous for telling artists, both well-known and stars in waiting, like Lauper, that their records could use “one more song”.

The big hits for She’s So Unusual were all written and recorded. All Through The Night, She Bop and of course Girls Just Want To Have Fun. All these songs are stellar tracks that have made Lauper the legend she is today. But Chertoff felt the album was incomplete and asked them to write one more.

Bittersweet Tune

Flashback to a late writing session at New York recording studio, Record Plant, Lauper spotted a TV Guide advertising a science fiction film, “Time After Time” and it sparked an idea for the song title. The rest of the song came shortly afterward. Using a simplistic set of piano chords they set out to write a pop song. However, as they progressed the realized it was more of a bittersweet tune; the song meaning something a little different for all of them.

To Rob Hyman, it represented a breakup. For Lauper, it was a response to a lover who was “lost,” which alludes to him needing help. She expresses her sympathy for an ex-lover, to the degree of not wanting to move forward without him by her side. Over a quick two-week period the love song was written and recorded, shortly before the album was completely mixed and mastered. There wasn’t even time to demo, they went straight to recording.

The recording you hear of “Time After Time” is raw and the first time the song was ever recorded, which is pretty rare. Rob Hyman does backing vocals for Cyndi and their tones are perfect and you can enjoy it time after time. The song eventually became Lauper’s number 1 hit n the United States and earned Lauper a Grammy nomination in 1985.


Lying in my bed, I hear the clock tick and think of you
Caught up in circles
Confusion is nothing new
Flashback, warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcase of memories
Time after-
Sometimes you picture me
I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear
What you’ve said
Then you say, “go slow”
And I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall, I will catch you, I’ll be waiting
Time after time (2x)
After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows
You’re wondering if I’m okay
Secrets stolen from deep inside (deep inside)
And the drum beats out of time
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 5, 2020.

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