How Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Inspired Cyndi Lauper
“He was singing ‘Purple Rain’ and it was raining – real hard too,” she wrote on Facebook of watching the show live on TV. “All of a sudden, he needed to fight the elements. It was slippery and he slipped. The large white backdrop behind him that was supposed to gently move with the wind was turning into a sail… still, it continued to rain hard.
“And all of a sudden, I saw how he accepted and worked with the rain and the wind. I thought, ‘This is God’s child, right in front of us, live.’ It was one of the most inspirational performances I’d ever seen.” She added: “So in ‘Same Ol’ Story,’ the lines ‘People slipping in the rain, I watch them get up again / It makes me feel like I can too’ are about him.”
Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ at Super Bowl XLI in 2007
Her appreciation for his work was a matter of record. She’d covered his 1980 track “When You Were Mine” on her debut She’s So Unusual three years later. Lauper said they’d become friends with during the last decade of Prince’s life – but before that, she’d had a chance to meet him at an awards ceremony, and declined. “I didn't speak to him,” she recalled. “You’re gonna think this is nutty, but I felt he was so famous that I didn’t want to go up to him.”
Speaking about Prince after his death in 2016, Lauper said he’d also avoided her when attending her shows until they developed their friendship. “He was always coming to see me and never coming back to talk to me,” she told Billboard. “I just didn't know what a fan he was, and every time we needed something from him, he would let us use his songs or whatever.”
Lauper also paid tribute to Prince’s business sense, noting that he’d begun releasing music online and bundling album and ticket sales together long before anyone else did. “He was always brilliant," she said. "He was trying to explain to me how to do it. I had gone back to Sony at the time, and he was like, 'Why'd you do that?!' … He was telling me all this stuff – how to do this, how to do that – and I realized just how bright he was, because afterwards, everybody did that. Everybody just copied it, 'cause it was a good blueprint.”
Cyndi Lauper - ‘When You Were Mine’