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Funkytown by Lipps, Inc.

Album: FunkytownReleased: 1980Charted:
Get some Geography in the Funkytown Songplaces
  • The "Funkytown" is New York City. A songwriter and producer named Steven Greenburg wrote the song when he became bored with Minneapolis and wanted to move to New York, which he called "Funkytown."
  • Lipps, Inc. (pronounced "Lip Synch") was formed especially for this song. The vocals were by Cynthia Johnson, who was Miss Black Minnesota 1976. The group continued to record until 1985 with a changing lineup, but they failed to see the success they'd had with their first hit.
  • Steven Greenburg became A&R Vice President for Mercury Records, signing Hanson, among other acts. Later he headed the S-Curve Records label, signing the Baha Men and Joss Stone.
  • The Australian pop group Pseudo Echo had a #1 hit in Australia and a Top 10 hit in both the US and UK with their rockier version of this song in 1986. Earlier that year, they made their debut on the US charts at #57 with "Living in a Dream." Their success in the States was short-lived, but the group did continue to impress in other corners of the world. They won the top prize of $10,000 at the 18th World Popular Song Festival (aka Yamaha Music Festival) in Tokyo for their performance of "Take on the World."
  • This song has been used in a number of TV series, including:

    Everybody Loves Raymond (High School - 1997)
    Will & Grace (Will Works Out - 1999)
    Malcolm in the Middle (Rollerskates - 2000)
    Futurama (Amazon Women in the Mood - 2001)
    Friends (The One Where the Stripper Cries - 2004)
    Parenthood (Left Field - 2012)
    Gotham (Penguin's Umbrella - 2014)

    It has also featured in these movies:

    History of the World: Part I (1981)
    North Shore (1987 - Pseudo Echo version)
    Selena (1997)
    Shrek 2 (2004)
    The Dictator (2012)
  • A cover by Alvin and the Chipmunks returned this song to the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2008, reaching #86. The Chipmunks version featured in the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks.
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Comments: 30

Tim thanks for the info on Tom Riopelle, I always wondered how they got that exagerated sound on the Les Paul, the BELL sound is my favorite part, and of course the violin and sax is cool too. The sax is exagerated too, it's all just full blast.Bill - Us
To the comment on classic rock: The official era of "classic rock" does not include sock hop or disco. That is simply called disco. "Classic rock" is between those time frames. Occasionally singers and bands that continue that are true to their original style and the style the "British Invasion" brought us, will still fall in that category even if some of their songs are a little later. But much later will generally be referred to as rock of the particular decade, or disco, techno, rap, etc. So please don't refer to disco as classic rock... it' old music to the late 70's. If you love disco celebrate it! But generally mid 60s to Mid 70s is "classic rock". ;)

Music Aficionado, California
Cathy - Palmdale, Ca
Well Johnny, not just "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream, but what about the opening to "Jet Airliner" by the Steve Miller Band? Maybe even the opening to "Get Ready" by the Temptations... and part of the A-Team theme that's nearly identical to that "Get Ready" opening.Drew - Birmingham, Al
the riff is taken from doors song "Changeling"Anuk - Colombo, Sri Lanka (ceylon)
As disco was breathing it's last breath, this song and Upside Down by Diana Ross ruled much of 1980. It went out with a bang.Paul - Detroit, Mi
This song is in shrek and dance dance revolution.
PS: was my first song i did on medium on ddr :D
Nathan - Warsaw, Ny
A friend of mine, Herman Straka, a violinist in the Minnesota Orchestra and concertmaster of the orchestra I played in, played on the Lipps Inc. recording of "Funkytown." I never knew this about him until I read his obituary when he passed away in 2007. He typically stuck to classical music but earned the nickname "Mister Funkytown" because of this recording. He was a great musician and I miss him.Pat - St. Paul, Mn
I like Psudo[sp] Echo's version betterJennifer Harris - Grand Blanc, Mi
Everytime that I hear this song, I think of a great dance bar in Indianapolis, Indiana called "Rico's" (since torn down) where my girlfriend Diane Wilson and I used to go dance on the weekends in the 80's! I should have married that girl!
(thanks-Stormy Werbe, Kokomo, Indiana)
Stormy - Kokomo, In
Loved this song appearing briefly in "History Of the World Part One".
The 80's must never die.....
Robert - Zanesville, Oh
I love the remake by Pseudo Echo better than Lipps inc.Jennifer Harris - Grand Blanc, Mi
Everytime I hear funkytown it quickly takes me in a time warp(my senior year of high school) 80' and I feel like a teenager all over again,I usually hear it in a Applebee's and I stop eating and start moving and singin and the next thing I know its on...What a great song and its lasting effect on so many people.G.Renfro-Crawford,Columbus,GAGigi Crawford - Columbus, Ga
yes- i agree with comment below- it is erotic music
love to listen in my waterbed
Rachel - Morristown, Nj
I definately like the rocker version by Pseudo Echo, to me it squashes the Lipps Inc version by far. I wish Pseudo Echo would have released more than just two singles in the US, I also liked "Living In A Dream" (their first Hot 100 appearance).Eugene - Minneapolis, Mn
this song is erotic, it reminds me of when i walked in on my boyfriend and found out he was gayMichelle - Ny Ny, Nj
This was the summer of 1980. It was known as "Disco's last hurrah". It can be played on the telephone : 3323 11 3963Liquid Len - Ottawa, Canada
The guitar parts on this sonbg are provided by Tom Riopelle, a former member of the Twin Cities band Fairchild. He played it on what he called his "Lestocaster" a hand-made hybrid guitar with a Les Paul body and a Strat neck. Tom got no credit whatsoever for his part in the song. Pity. The song would not be the same without his tasty licks!Tim - Denver, Co
This is a horrible song to get stuck in your head. It got stuck in my head; I started singing "Funky Town" out loud. I can't sing funky and I've ruined the song for everone around me.Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
This is currently being used in a commercial for an energy company--I think from Canada--and it shows the flow of energy all the way to the dance floor.Tina - Norcross, Ga
Wow! Disco has lasted for this long! I always thought that this was in the '70s, not '80. Anyway, I sing and dance to it when I hear it - no doubt about that!Andrew - Birmingham, United States
well i like this song because i guess the town is funky and stuff. well i also like this song because i have the song and it kind of is like the song i have. but i really love this song its awesome dude!!Sarah Floyd - Bloomingdale, Il
This recording is an early example of sequenced music.Rodney - Mountain Home, Ar
I love this song it is like the bestDavid - Orlando, Fl
Reminds me of Sunshine of Your Love by Cream. Gnilesnuoc emos teg, hpets.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
Gotta love the violin soloAlec - Winnipeg, Canada
Funky Town was a big hit in the Twin Cities thanks to the outstanding vocals by Cynthia Johnson. I really enjoyed the remake by Pseudo Echo, which was more of a hardrocker.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
old classic pop and is still a hit. video is funny....Sum Sum - New Delhi, India
yes Dee , i too groove when i hear this songPete - Nowra, Australia
Always loved this tune as a kid and found the remake by Pseudo Echo to be just as pleasing, which is rare, since many remakes don't do justice to the original. I still like this song and groove to it whenever I hear it.Dee - Indianapolis, In
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