We have a look back at the fascinating tales behind some of our favourite album covers. This time it’s She’s So Unusual (1983), by Cyndi Lauper.

In 1983, photographer Annie Leibovitz was already a household name – three years prior she’d photographed John Lennon on the day he was assassinated, in the now-iconic curled embrace with his partner Yoko Ono, and subsequent projects landed her a job at Vanity Fair. Art Director Janet Perr knew Leibovitz was the person to capture the cover image for the debut album of an emerging and intriguing new pop vocalist with punk stylings, Cyndi Lauper.

”Cyndi kept saying how she wanted peeling paint and walls that looked distressed,” Perr has said, “and I thought: Coney Island. I knew that there were a lot of abandoned, boarded up buildings there. And of course, because it was by the beach, the lighting would be really beautiful.”

Perr, Leibovitz and Lauper set up outside the dilapidated and long-vacated wax museum The World In Wax Musee on Henderson Walk; as soon as Perr cranked the boom box they’d brought, Lauper began dancing wildly, kicking off her heels and swinging her vintage prom dress about. Leibovitz snapped the cover shot in a matter of minutes.

She’s So Unusual spawned several hits including international successes Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Time After Time, while Perr went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1985.

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