The Goonies 30th Anniversary: Why Did Cyndi Lauper Hate the Theme Song 'The Goonies 'R' Good Enough'?
Dear children of the ’80s, The Goonies is 30 years old.
The film first hit theaters on June 7, 1985, meaning that the kids who saw it then are easily old enough now to have Goonies of their own. But before you get stuck on the fact that three whole decades have passed since 1985, remember everything you loved about The Goonies – the adventure, the comedy, the teenage Josh Brolin, and of course that theme song.
The Cyndi Lauper single “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” is well-loved, and for certain kids – this writer included – it provided an access point to the rest of Lauper’s catalog. But there’s one person who didn’t especially care for it: Cyndi Lauper.
Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story for Goonies and also served as an executive producer, asked Lauper to handpick the songs that would go on the film’s soundtrack. Lauper also co-wrote the theme song, though with the simpler title “Good Enough.” The word “goonies” actually is not in the lyrics, and the “Goonies ‘R’ ” part was tacked onto the title to help promote the film.
For a while following the film’s release, Lauper performed the song in concert – though simply as “Good Enough.” But she dropped it from her repertoire altogether from 1987 onwards. Despite the fact that the song hit No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100, Lauper also didn’t include it on her 1994 greatest-hits album Twelve Deadly Cyns.
So what gives?
In his 1996 book Totally Awesome ’80s, Matthew Rettenmund quotes Lauper rather candidly summing up her feelings toward the song in two sentences: “I hated that,” she says of the song. “It was terrible.”
In her 2012 memoir, Lauper discusses her feelings toward the song and toward Goonies in greater detail.
First, she explains that Spielberg “stripped most of the music from the film.” She writes, “Apparently he felt like there was too much music, so the soundtrack was meaningless because most of the songs weren’t in the movie.”
Then she explains her resentment toward the title change. “I thought if I put the word ‘Goonies’ in it, it would sound cheesy and no one would want to play it – and that’s exactly what happened,” Lauper writes.
“Even though they squashed it on commercial radio, it became an underground hit, at least – because there are so many kids who are just Goonies. But I was so bothered that they ruined the name of that song, that I refused to sing it for years.”
The good news for fans of both Lauper and The Goonies is that in the early 2000s, she reversed her decision not to sing it in concert set lists, and at long last “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” appeared on 2003’s The Essential Cyndi Lauper.
Even if Lauper may harbor residual resentment toward the song, it has to be said that the video she made for it is awesome – and distinctly Cyndi. Clocking in at over 12 minutes long, the video boasts most of the Goonies movie cast, as well as Goonies director Richard Donner, the Bangles and a host of early-’80s pro-wrestling superstars, including Andre the Giant and Captain Lou Albano, who previously played Lauper’s father in the video for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." It also has two parts – with a Goonies-esque cliffhanger in the middle.
Here’s the thrilling “Part Two” to the music video.
Lauper seems to have made her peace with the song, to the benefit of her fans. And here’s what a live version of “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” sounds like, in case your previous Lauper concerts have been lacking in adequate Goonies nostalgia.
There’s one strange footnote in the story of Cyndi Lauper and the theme to The Goonies. The animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers kicked off its second season in 2012 with a Goonies-inspired episode, and over the end credits Lauper sang an altered version of the theme song that was titled “Taffy Butt.” (It makes sense if you watch the episode.)
So if you feel your life would be more complete if you heard Cyndi Lauper sing the lyrics “Give me some taffy butt,” then the below video is for you.
Again, it’s worth asking: What gives?
According to an Entertainment Weekly post about “Taffy Butt,” Lauper did it because her son liked the show and convinced her. (Thank you for this, Cyndi Lauper’s son.) Asked about how “Taffy Butt” compares to “Good Enough,” Lauper answered, “Oh, it’s a classic too.”
Which just might mean that Lauper came around to viewing “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” as a classic – like a lot of Goonies fans have for 30 years now.