True Colors

Album: True Colors (1986)
Charted: 12 1
  • You with the sad eyes
    Don't be discouraged
    Oh I realize
    Its hard to take courage
    In a world full of people
    You can lose sight of it all
    And the darkness inside you
    Can make you feel so small

    But I see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that's why I love you
    So don't be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow

    Show me a smile then
    Don't be unhappy, can't remember
    When I last saw you laughing
    If this world makes you crazy
    And you've taken all you can bear
    You call me up
    Because you know I'll be there

    And I'll see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that's why I love you
    So don't be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow

    (When I last saw you laughing)
    If this world makes you crazy
    And you've taken all you can bear
    You call me up
    Because you know I'll be there

    And I'll see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that's why I love you
    So don't be afraid to let them show

    Your true colors
    True colors
    True colors
    Shining through

    I see your true colors
    And that's why I love you
    So don't be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow Writer/s: Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 26

  • Heavy D from Middle Class UsaReally good lyrics. “ don’t be unhappy, I can’t remember when I last saw you smile.” I look at pictures from me and my ex, and I see we were smiling a lot. Smiling a lot different than how we used to smile before. She’s the only person that made me smile the way I did. A love like no other. Sometimes when I get drunk, I’ll look at old pictures of us. There is one picture I have that I actually think she’s almost “live” in the picture. She can hear me and I talk to her. during the pandemic I was worried about her even though we weren’t together anymore and I started sending her care packages. It was one of few things that actually made me feel good during this year of 2020. We wanted different things and honestly, I couldn’t give her what she wanted. Very beautiful lady, very special. I miss her and those times we had together because we were very free and affectionate with each other. But happens. It’s called life.
  • The Tiny Pyro From Pa from Scranton PaI identify with this song because of my list of mental illnesses. I had just been diagnosed with Impulse Control Disorder, Pyromania, which is the rarest and most dangerous disorder in that category (and, yes, and I am a convicted Arsonist--I did a year in prison even though my intent was NOT criminal but because of my mental illness where I can't control the urges to set fires) and this song reminds me that I can still be myself. My family loves me regardless and are there for me.

    That's how I identify to this song.
  • Mandy from London UkJ C Chasez did a lovely version for a charity event a few years back. You can see it on Youtube search his name and the title. Truly one of the most beautiful voices ever. I must be one of the few who have not heard the Phil Collins version must check it out soon.
  • Roger from Spokane, WaI've done some thorough research and a few of you have your facts wrong. The rainbow was adopted by the Gays in the mid 70's and has been a theme for all things gay since then. This began LONG before Cyndi's version of the song was released.
    The gay culture does not OWN the song, nor do they want to. They "identify with it and it's meaning/message" and it's obvious that it's appropriate here with some of the comments that I've read that folks on here have posted.
    It still amazes me that folks can identify with a song that has such universal appeal and still think that's it okay to act/write/speak or talk in a fashion that is the focus of the song it's self. I just will not ever understand how people can say they are one way and then act another.
    I think the song belongs to the Universe and frankly I'm in awe of the two men who wrote it as well as Cyndi who made it popular they are all genius in their own right!
    I believe that this song CAN AND DOES apply to any group or individual who is looked down upon by another group or individual and that it reinforces the right that each of us has to live and be who and what we are without shame.
    But, the bottom line is basically about acceptance.....
    "I see your True Colors shining through.
    I see your True Colors, and that's why I love you,
    So don't be afraid to let them show,
    Your True Colors,
    True Colors,
    Are beautiful, like a rainbow."

    The song simply means, I see who you are, what you are, and I love you and accept you because of or inspite of ALL of your Colors.
    You Are Beautiful, Like A Rainbow!
  • Megan from Sydney, AustraliaWhy does this song have to be categorised gay or not? Isn't it kind of patronising to make the distinction? (do gay people need special songs? Can't they just be humans going throught the same kinds of turmoil and pain that some humans go through for one reason or another?)

    It may have become a gay anthem, but perhaps because it gives light and hope to people who feel "this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear" and may be made to feel ashamed by society, as well as the link between rainbows and the Gay pride flag.

    Like Rick, I clung to this song as an anthem in my teens, but in my case it was because I have a mental illness that made me feel similar feelings of being discouraged and overwhelmed by "the darkness inside you makes you feel so small" and societies lack of understanding of my situation.

    The song was written by one lot of people, Cyndi did a brilliant interpretation of their lyrics when she recorded it, and many others have performed it too. Personally, I don't think any other covers and performances I have seen can match Cyndi's so to me hers is the "true" version, but even that doesn't make it about one particular situation.

    Its about telling someone that they are beautiful whatever the world makes them feel. We've read above that the writers thought it could be "sung to anyone by anyone" and maybe when Cyndi has performed it over the years it has come to mean different things to her, and she has aimed it at different people.

    It doesn't seem relevant to me WHEN the rainbow flag became a gay symbol - even if when the song was recorded by her, the rainbow flag wasn't a well known symbol, over the years the song could have come to represent that to some people, and to Cyndi herself.
  • Jo from Sydney, Australiacyndi lauper wrote a song called boy blue please check out the live version in paris on you tube.
    The song is about a good friend who is gay and got kicked out of home by hes mum he tried to find love but ended up geting aids.
    Of course cyndi and her gay friend did not understand what aids was in 1986 and how it is transmitted.
    So cyndi wrote boy blue for her dieing friend. As he wanted a song. Unfortunatly the beautiful song was overlooked and the true colours track seem to take its place for her gay friend.
    As cyndi said true colours became bigger than her and is song for everyone to feel good.
    A lot of cyndis songs are about her life.
    Salleys Pigeons is another cyndi song about a friend who died of illegal abortion.
    Its pity that being one of the few independent
    artists means a lot of people miss out on her 90s
    and current music.
  • Renee from Bloomington, MnI have to say, masso, your comment is uncalled for and shows extreme prejudice and lack of sensitivity to a group of people. Not to mention, in no way conducive to loving people for their true colors.
  • Mirna from Portoviejo, Ecuadorthe name and official song of my english books..
  • Masso from Cleveland, OhIf the song's writers say it isn't about being gay, it isn't about being gay. Not everyone finds fondling one's own sex hip. You've got to grow up and become mothers and fathers some day. And for God's sake get off the drugs. It's probably the only reason you have gay sex. It would take a pound of cola to make me kiss a snake....
  • Rick from Kent, WaRojellio, Marie and Tyler, Although I don't necessarily think this song is only about being gay, the "rainbow" flag was introduced in by 1986, it was a well-known gay symbol. Even if there was no gay intent, I recall as a closeted high school student being drawn to this song as an anthem. Coming from a very small town in Idaho, I grabbed onto anything I could! It's now incredible to see her perform it live draped in a rainbow flag.
  • Tyler from New Orleans, LaFor Rojellio and Marie, I think this song, over time has come to be sort of a gay anthem, but it was not nessisarily written for that purpose. Her song "Shine" could be considered the same way. But when she performs this live she usually takes out a rainbow flag and drapes it over herself and then before the last chorus or at the end she?ll put her fist up in the air, (I?m assuming this symbolizes gay pride, along with the flag), but anyway at that point the crowd goes nuts, haha its really fun seeing her perform it live.
  • Neal from North, NjThe figure skater Russ is referring to is most probably Sasha Cohen when she was 15. As young as she was, she was highly praised and lived up to it during the demonstration... I have yet to hear anyone remake this song anywhere close to Cyndi Lauper's. I think even Phil Collins fell well below the mark. Cyndi Lauper's live performances of this song are amazing, as well.
  • Jeanette from Elkridge, MdThis song was covered by the Harlem Boys Choir for the Kodak commercial and they also sang the jingle for Stetson cologne which is usually seen around Christmas time.
  • Rojellio from Fruita, CoI disagree with Marie. This song is not about being gay. This song was released long BEFORE a rainbow had nothingl to do with anything else. Back in those days a rainbow was an optical phenomena that happens after it rains and the sun comes out. Even in this day and age, I think that she is refering to the optical phenomena.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnThis really is a beautiful song. A little repetitious maybe, but that was the nature of pop songs in the coked-out late-70s-early-80s era. (Writers often didn't notice that they were doing the same thing over and over.) .... But Cyndi was such a beautiful singer. I wish she was more active today. She had great artistic instincts, FAR beyond Madonna. If any of you music industry people out there writing these comments with fake names (you know who you are!)see her, talk her into making a comeback. She could do it.
  • Ydur from Knoxville, TnThere's a pretty funny Elmer Fudd cover/parody version out there somewhere. I haven't heard it in about 20 years though...
  • Pete from Nowra, AustraliaJo from newcastle...think Tara Morice, did Time after Time
  • Catherine from London, EnglandWhat a beautiful song! Eva Cassidy also recorded a cover of this before her death. It is gorgeous, am actually listening to it.

    On the BBC a young woman sang this for her mother's birthday (featured on a tv show 'facing the music'). Her family had suffered greatly due to the young womans father abusing them all, so much that they went into a domestic violence refuge in london. I tohught the song was very apt and had me in buckets
  • Candice from Vancouver, CanadaThis was also used in another commercial about the differences of girls or something.
  • Marie from Los Angeles, CaI am going to analysis this song a little bit more after seening Cyndi's At Last DVD. I think this song is actually about being gay. I say that because if you look at the lyrics it is about not being ashamed, people understanding you, and the whole rainbow reference should be considered as well.
  • Robert from Puyallup, WaKodak aired a commercial during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, which had this song sung by a boys choir.

    Also, a Methodist minister down in Texas was persuaded by his kids to take them to see Cyndi Lauper in concert. At first, he objected because he believed popular music was a bad influence on children. But he relented and took them anyway. He was pleasantly shocked and surprised by this song, which is message of true love, acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness. He later wrote about this experience in his church's newsletter.
  • Logiguy from Dublin, Italycant really believe that that was written by execs. doesnt sound like it, although back then they probably had more respect for the intelligence of the listening public. nowadays however...i wont start.
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaI'm more a heavy rock kinda guy, but I have to admit this is one well-written song. Every version I hear of it is cool; its one of those songs that is seemingly impossible to screw up.
  • Benjamin from Davenport, FlFrom 1994 to 2003, a version of this song (with different verses) was used in the preshow for "Honey I Shrunk The Audience", an attraction at Epcot (part of Walt Disney World), which also happens to be sponsored by Kodak.
  • Russ from Gore, New ZealandI once seen an amazing figure skating demonstration to this song, very nice indeed.
  • Jo from Newcastle, AustraliaThe girl from the Baz Lurhmann movie "Strictly Ballroom" also did a version (Tara Morice).
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gavin Rossdale of Bush

Gavin Rossdale of BushSongwriter Interviews

On the "schizoid element" of his lyrics, and a famous line from "Everything Zen."

00s Music Quiz 1

00s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

Do you know the girl singer on Eminem's "Stan"? If so, this quiz is for you.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors Examined

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"

Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"They're Playing My Song

The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."