Robert Hazard (1948-2008)

11. 10. 2008 | Rubriky: Articles

[by Ken Hunt, London] It’s one of those magnificently manipulative daughter-father lines. She is bending her father round her little finger. And both of them know it. Cyndi Lauper sings, “Oh daddy dear you know you’re still number one/But girls they want to have fun.” Girls Just Want To Have Fun became one of the most popular and most joyful English-language songs of 1983 and 1984. It appeared on Lauper’s She’s So Unusual (1983) and MTV picked up on its video to such an extent that it became their Video of the Year in 1984. The following year the song lent its title to a film staring Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker, though for some reason Girls Just Want To Have Fun the film didn’t use the Cyndi Lauper version of the song, plumping instead for a version sung by Deborah Galli with Tami Holbrook and Meredith Marshall. Nevertheless it still stuck close to the arrangement that Lauper had delivered. After all, Lauper put her stamp on the song in spectacular fashion.

The writer who handed her the raw materials to create such magic was Robert Hazard. Hazard was the stage name of the musician and singer-songwriter Robert Rimato. Born on 21 August 1948, his family was musically minded with his father Umberto Rimato singing in the Philadelphia Opera Company. Hazard was playing with the Philadelphia-based bar band Hazard and the Heroes with an EP to their name that was having some local success through the presence of two songs in particular Change Reaction and Escalator of Life when he had the inordinate good fortune to attract the attention of one of Rolling Stone’s roving reporters. Kurt Loder was sufficiently impressed to engage with Hazard and in November 1981 a very flattering article appeared in the magazine comparing him to Springsteen. It lifted him out of the position he had been in but ultimately it proved another regional signing that never matched the talk of national success.

Hazard’s own form of national success came from another direction. He had knocked off a song supposedly in 15 minutes whilst in a motel that, once turned into a calling-card by Cyndi Lauper, became an international success. Girls Just Want To Have Fun ensured that he was financially secure and while he kept making music and kept making albums – including The Seventh Lake (2004) and Troubadour (2007) – he also went into business selling antiques. Hazard died on 5 August 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 59.

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