Robert Hazard died today. He was a singer/songwriter best known for writing the Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." To those of us of a certain age who grew up in the Philadelphia area, however, Robert Hazard was known for much more than that. He recorded songs that became part of the soundtrack of our early 1980s lives: "Escalator of Life," Change Reaction," etc.
In 1982 I bought his first album - it was an EP, actually - at the Listening Booth record store in the Montgomery Mall. It included a poster of him in all his New Wave splendor, with a huge pompadour and thin black tie. It was impossible to be cooler than Robert Hazard in 1982.
I never understood why his career never took off. Bad management? It couldn’t have been the songs. Trust me, he wrote some seriously catchy songs. But the only one anybody outside my cohort remembers is “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” That must have irked Robert (though the song helped pay for his place in the Adirondacks and a second home in Florida).
Robert Hazard died unexpectedly after surgery in Boston. He was 59.