As a fan and follower of professional wrestling, I am still in awe of all the mainstream coverage Lou Albano’s passing is receiving. It’s been over twenty years since he’s been seen on television screens as a wrestling character, though people do remember him as the star of the live action part of the Super Mario Bros. show in the 90s.
As a wrestling manager in the WWF in mid-80s, Captain Lou was more of a cartoon character than anything else. That was probably the point. He was the fat guy with rubber bands all over his face spouting lines about his teams being often imitated but never duplicated. But that wasn’t why he’s currently remembered by so many after his passing. It’s because of Cyndi Lauper.
In the early to mid 80s, Cyndi was on her way up as one of the first video created music stars. Her first hit single Girls Just Wanna Have Fun featured Albano playing her father in the video. Albano and Lauper met on a flight and were seated next to each other. According to pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, Lauper was entertained by Albano’s wacky stories and asked him to be in the video.
Their pairing lead to a short relationship between Lauper and the WWF. Lauper appeared on WWF programming including feuding with Albano on the MTV/WWF wrestling event, The Brawl To Settle It All. Lauper challenged Albano, whose character claimed that he was responsible for her success, and her wrestler Wendi Richter beat Albano’s wrestler, the Fabulous Moolah, for the women’s championship. The event helped the WWF move towards a Rock-N-Wrestling theme. Richter was also at the first ever WrestleMania.
Lauper’s then boyfriend and music producer David Wolff helped produce The Wrestling Album which is exactly what it sounds like. Lauper herself produced Captain Lou’s spoken word track under the name of Mona Flambé. Wolff produced the record with Rick Derringer.
After his passing, Lauper was quoted as saying that Albano helped her go up the charts “from 10, to 5, to 4 to 1, to minus 5 and back up to 1 again.”
Here’s the video to Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: