Thanks to her 1983 LP, She’s So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper earned five Grammy nominations, winning in the Best New Artist category which included future country superstar duo the Judds among the nominees. But before her Unusual breakthrough, Lauper sang lead and wrote songs for Blue Angel, a short-lived rockabilly band that would nevertheless influence her latest album, the classic country-tinged Detour.
On the eve of the LP’s release, Lauper appeared on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, performing “Funnel of Love,” a 1961 hit for rockabilly and country music legend Wanda Jackson, that was co-written by Kent Westbury and Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy. Lauper noted that Jackson was sometimes referred to as “devil woman” because she was a woman singing rock & roll music. She was also one of the Queens-born singer’s earliest influences when Blue Angel was formed and later sang a lengthy version of Lauper’s signature hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” with Ronnie Spector and Mavis Staples, when Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Coming up in bands like [Blue Angel] and being the only woman, you look to other women,” Lauper tells Rolling Stone Country. “I think for country you look at Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn who played a guitar, who sang the songs she wrote, and Dolly Parton. But Wanda Jackson was a rocker, and so, of course, I was going to listen and learn from her because I was a rocker and that’s what we did.”
Detour is out now. Lauper’s upcoming tour kicks off Monday, May 9th, at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and runs throughout the summer.