Lipps Inc, consisting of writer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Greenberg and lead vocalist/saxophonist/former Miss Black Minnesota Cynthia Johnson, released “Funkytown” on February 18, 1980. The single topped the U.S. Hot Billboard 100 for four weeks and peaked at #2 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The record also hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles Chart and #2 on the U.S. Billboard R&B Singles Chart.
Supposedly, New York City is the “funkytown” referred to in the song, as Greenberg longed to move from Minneapolis to the Big Apple, where everything was happening. He later went on to become A&R Vice President for Mercury Records and signed Hanson. When he became head of S-Curve Records, he signed Joss Stone and the Baha Men.
Australian band Pseduo Echo released a cover, retitled “Funky Town,” on December 15, 1986. Their version reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play, #8 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and topped the Australian Singles Chart. The Pseduo Echo version is rock-infused and removed most of the disco elements of the original Lipps Inc. recording.
Lipps Inc Versions
Funkytown [7″ Version/Single Version] 3’57
Funkytown [Album Version/12″ Version] 7’51
Pseduo Echo Versions
Funky Town [Single Version/LP Version] 3’40
Funky Town [Album Version] 4’53
Funky Town [Dance Mix] 6’36
Funky Town [Funky House Mix] 5’25
Funky Town [Funky Club Mix] 6’05
Funky Town [Funky Vocal Mix] 6’10
““Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.
““Funky Town [Dance Mix]” by Pseudo Echo
Cynthia Johnson performs “Funkytown” in a club with backing dancers/vocalists in a club for Lipps Inc.‘s music video for “Funkytown.”
The music video for Pseduo Echo’s cover of “Funky Town” is a performance of the song in concert.
When I was in the sixth grade, “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. was all over the radio in Waco, Texas. It reminded me of the scenes in the movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century where Gil Gerard gets down with Twiki on the dance floor. “Funkytown” and “Call Me” by Blondie were my favorite songs at the time, and I would demand my mother or older sister turn them up. For some reason, though, I never bought the record.
I remember being surprised when I heard Pseudo Echo’s “Funky Town.” It was different, but I liked the modern (at the time) sound of it. I recall thinking how odd that I was old enough for a band to cover a song from my youth–just seven years prior.
What are your memories of “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.? Or “Funky Town” by Pseduo Echo?