Album: Funkytown (1980)
Charted: 2 1
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  • 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.

Comments: 39

  • Armin from Dallas/fort WorthI always suspected this song was concocted by studio wizardry, to the extent that I thought practically all the instruments were synthesized. Actually it appears only the synths themselves, and possibly drum machines, were of the non-conventional type instruments. It's really the sequencing techniques in recording that give the song a sterile, auto-pilot feel. But those technique work to the song's advantage by giving the instruments a very clean sound (i.e., sax, guitar and violins) and impeccable timing. Lest the song sound too robotic, Ms. Johnson's slinky, sexy vocals drive it home to "Funkytown."
  • Yeet Feet from PittsburghAm i gonna be the only one who mentions the cartel video
  • Bad Squirrel from Everywhere I Want To Be. Did she ever get someone to take her to Funkytown?
  • Sleepybrown from Los AngelesThere's like 7 or 8 videos to this song with most of them having these weird looking white women dancing the robot singing this song with not a trace of Cynthia Johnson anywhere in the vids, what gives? Were they pulling a Milli Vanilli, it's not like Cynthia was a two tons of fun Martha Wash, Cynthia wasn't hard on the eyes, so why the deception?? Why wasn't she in all of the videos? Bizarre.
  • Brenda A Archer from New Zealand I love this song.
  • Ej from Twin CitiesSteve is also the uncle of record producer John "Strawberry" Fields.
  • Tango from SantiagoThis song also appears during a funny scene in the Spanish comedy movie "Muertos de Risa" by Alex De La Iglesia.
  • Siahara Shyne Carter from United StatesHis referring to Newyork on his song "funky town" Frank Sinatra also Referring Newyork as "The City that Never Sleeps"
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenThe Pseudo Echo version was like someone said, “OK, now let’s make a version of this song for people over twelve.”
  • Bill from UsTim 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.
  • Cathy from Palmdale, CaTo 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
  • Drew from Birmingham, AlWell 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.
  • Anuk from Colombo, Sri Lanka (ceylon)the riff is taken from doors song "Changeling"
  • Paul from Detroit, MiAs 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.
  • Nathan from Warsaw, NyThis song is in shrek and dance dance revolution.
    PS: was my first song i did on medium on ddr :D
  • Pat from St. Paul, MnA 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.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI like Psudo[sp] Echo's version better
  • Stormy from Kokomo, InEverytime 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)
  • Robert from Zanesville, OhLoved this song appearing briefly in "History Of the World Part One".
    The 80's must never die.....
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love the remake by Pseudo Echo better than Lipps inc.
  • Gigi Crawford from Columbus, GaEverytime 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,GA
  • Rachel from Morristown, Njyes- i agree with comment below- it is erotic music
    love to listen in my waterbed
  • Eugene from Minneapolis, MnI 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).
  • Michelle from Ny Ny, Njthis song is erotic, it reminds me of when i walked in on my boyfriend and found out he was gay
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaThis was the summer of 1980. It was known as "Disco's last hurrah". It can be played on the telephone : 3323 11 3963
  • Tim from Denver, CoThe 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!
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkThis 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.
  • Tina from Norcross, GaThis 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.
  • Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesWow! 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!
  • Sarah Floyd from Bloomingdale, Ilwell 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!!
  • Rodney from Mountain Home, ArThis recording is an early example of sequenced music.
  • David from Orlando, FlI love this song it is like the best
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaReminds me of Sunshine of Your Love by Cream. Gnilesnuoc emos teg, hpets.
  • Alec from Winnipeg, CanadaGotta love the violin solo
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnFunky 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.
  • Sum Sum from New Delhi, Indiaold classic pop and is still a hit. video is funny....
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiayes Dee , i too groove when i hear this song
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InAlways 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.
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