Funkytown

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For other uses, see Funkytown (disambiguation).
"Funkytown"
Single by Lipps Inc.
from the album Mouth to Mouth
B-side "All Night Dancing"
Released March 11, 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre
Length 4:00 (single version)
7:50 (extended 12" version)
Label Casablanca Records
Writer(s) Steven Greenberg
Producer(s) Steven Greenberg
Audio sample
file info · help

"Funkytown" is a song by the band Lipps Inc., with Cynthia Johnson as lead singer. It appears on their 1979 debut album, Mouth to Mouth, and was released as a single in March 1980. Written by Steven Greenberg, the song expresses the singer's pining for a metaphorical place that will "keep me movin', keep me groovin' with some energy".

It was written while the band lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota with dreams of moving to New York.[3] It entered the Billboard Hot 100 on March 29, 1980 and spent four weeks at no. 1, beginning May 31. It also hit no. 1 on the Dance chart[4] in the spring of 1980.

The single held a unique record for reaching number one in 28 countries, more than any other single release until Madonna's "Hung Up" hit number one in 41 countries in 2005. It reached the top spot in the United States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, and Australia, among many others.[5] It also reached no. 2 in the United Kingdom,[6] Sweden, and on the US R&B chart. "Funkytown" is often considered to be one of the last massive hits of the disco genre. The song was Lipps Inc's only US Top 40 hit.[4]

Track listings[edit]

7" single

  1. "Funkytown" – 4:00
  2. "All Night Dancing" – 3:09

12" single

  1. "Funkytown" – 7:51
  2. "All Night Dancing" – 3:09

Charts and certifications[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Can't Stop the Music" by Village People
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
August 4, 1980 – August 11, 1980 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Moscow" by Dschinghis Khan
Preceded by
"Coming Up" (Live at Glasgow) by Paul McCartney
Canadian RPM 100 Singles number-one single
July 12, 1980 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Little Jeannie" by Elton John
Preceded by
"Il jouait du piano debout" by France Gall
French number-one single
August 15, 1980 – August 22, 1980 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" by The Korgis
Preceded by
"Aloha-Oe, Until We Meet Again" by the Goombay Dance Band
Austrian number-one single
August 1, 1980 – September 1, 1980 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
Preceded by
"Der Nippel" by Mike Krüger
German number-one single
June 30, 1980 – September 1, 1980 (10 weeks)
Preceded by
"Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
Norwegian number-one single
34/1980 – 35/1980 (2 weeks)
Preceded by
"What's Another Year" by Johnny Logan
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
June 19, 1980 – July 31, 1980 (7 weeks)
Belgian Ultratop 50 Flanders number-one single
June 14, 1980 – June 21, 1980 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Cara Mia" by Jay and the Americans
Belgian VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
June 21, 1980 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Sun of Jamaica" by the Goombay Dance Band
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
May 31, 1980 – June 14, 1980 (3 weeks)
Single Top 100 number-one single
June 7, 1980 – June 28, 1980 (4 weeks)
Preceded by
"Stomp!" by The Brothers Johnson
New Zealand number-one single
July 13, 1980 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Locomotion" by Ritz
Preceded by
"Boat on the River" by Styx
Swiss number-one single
June 15, 1980 – July 27, 1980 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Donna musica" by Collage
Preceded by
"Call Me" by Blondie
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 31, 1980 – June 21, 1980 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Coming Up" by Paul McCartney
US Cash Box number-one single
May 31, 1980 – June 28, 1980 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Rose" by Bette Midler
US Record World number-one single
May 31, 1980 – June 21, 1980 (4 weeks)
Preceded by
"And the Beat Goes On" / "Can You Do the Boogie" / "Out the Box" by The Whispers
"High on Your Love" / "Hot Hot (Give It All You Got)" by Debbie Jacobs
US Billboard Hot Disco Singles number-one single
(with "All Night Dancing")

March 8, 1980 – March 15, 1980 (2 weeks)
March 29, 1980 – April 5, 1980 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"High on Your Love" / "Hot Hot (Give It All You Got)" by Debbie Jacobs
"Stomp!" by The Brothers Johnson

In popular culture[edit]

TV shows[edit]

  • The TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch is set in a universe in which the popularity of the song never waned.
  • In the Malcolm in the Middle episode Rollerskates, Hal uses "Funkytown" to teach Malcolm to skate.[42]
  • In the Futurama episode Amazon Women in the Mood, Morbo sings "Funkytown" for a karaoke performance in a restaurant aboard a space liner.
  • This song is played in the second season episode nine of the British drama Skins (E4), when the character Cassie, played by Hannah Murray, dances this song. The song is also included in the Official Soundtrack for season 2 of Skins.[43]
  • The song is referenced in The Simpsons' episode Colonel Homer when Homer tells country singer Lurleen Lumpkin: "I can't get your song out of my mind. I haven't felt this way since Funky Town."
  • In the TV series Parenthood episode S4E02 "Left Field", Kristina and Adam use "Funkytown" in their cell phone calendars as code for scheduling sex.
  • The song was also featured in the 229´s episode of the hit TV sitcom Friends (The One Where the Stripper Cries, season 10, episode 11).[44]
  • In the South Park episode Towelie, Towelie played the tune to "Funkytown" on the keypad to get into a secret base after getting high.[45]

Movies[edit]

Commercials[edit]

  • Funkytown has been heard in each of Areva's commercials since 2004, from "Energy Experts" (2004) up to "Energy : One Powerful Story" (2011).
  • It is used on The Pink Panther commercial.
  • "Funkytown" appeared on a Martha Speaks commercial.
  • Large international corporations like Volkswagen, Nissan,[51] McDonalds, or FedEx/Kinko have used the song for their commercials.

Video games[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Controversies[edit]

In 1976, an amendment was made to the Copyright Act that permits authors to terminate grants of copyright assignments and licenses that were made on or after January 1, 1978. Under Section 203 of the Copyright Act, artists may reclaim ownership of a work's copyright no earlier than 35 years after the grant was executed. However, artists may give notice of their intent to terminate as early as 25 years after the grant had been executed.[55] In 2006, Steven Greenberg became the first American songwriter to file "notice of termination" under this act, in regard to Funkytown and the album it is a part of.[56] Because the song was released in 1980, the earliest that Greenberg would actually have the copyright returned to him is in the year 2015. So far, Casablanca's successor (Universal Music Group) has had little to say on the matter. Their stance legally has been that the song was a "work for hire" which are not protected under the copyright amendment, with Greenberg playing the role of the employee. As the first major hit to be reviewed for termination, many artists across the country are eagerly awaiting the outcome.

Cover versions[edit]

Pseudo Echo version[edit]

"Funkytown"
Single by Pseudo Echo
from the album Love an Adventure
B-side "Lies Are Nothing"
Released December 15, 1986
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1985
Genre
Length 4:53 (album version)
3:40 (single version)
6:36 (Dance Mix)
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Steven Greenberg
Producer(s) Brian Canham
Pseudo Echo singles chronology
"Try"
(1986)
"Funkytown"
(1986)
"Fooled Again"
(1988)

In 1986, "Funkytown" was covered by Australian band Pseudo Echo, who gave the song a different sound, less of early 1980s electronica and more of a late 1980s rock-infused dance sound, including a guitar solo in the middle. Pseudo Echo's version spent seven weeks at no. 1 in Australia (Lipps Inc.'s was at no. 1 for only two weeks in Australia), and was also a no. 6 US hit in July of the following year, and in August a no. 1 hit in Canada. Despite Pseudo Echo's rock-like arrangement, on the 12" single issue of this version, the song is labelled as "Funkytown (Dance Mix)". Mirroring Lipps Inc's experience, Pseudo Echo's version was that group's only US Top 40 hit. This version by "Funky Town" by Pseudo Echo was played in the 1987 sequel comedy film Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.

Music video[edit]

The music video is a very basic, low-budget video that features the band with their instruments on a lighted, smoke-filled set "performing" the song to a backing track.[59]

Track listings[edit]

7" Single

  1. "Funkytown" – 3:40
  2. "Lies Are Nothing" – 3:58

Charts[edit]

Preceded by
"You're the Voice" by John Farnham
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
December 22, 1986 – February 2, 1987 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
Preceded by
Alone by Heart
Canadian RPM 100 Singles number-one single
August 15, 1987 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Heart and Soul" by T'Pau
Preceded by
"Word Up!" by Cameo
New Zealand number-one single
March 8, 1987 – April 12, 1987 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House

Other cover versions[edit]

In 1980, it was covered by the Spanish group Parchís. This cover is possibly the first cover of the song. It was recorded as a result of the song's popularity as the main song of the Vuelta a España that year. The cover is completely in Spanish with the exception of the name "Funkytown".

The same year, Swedish group Flamingokvintetten covered the same song for their album Flamingokvintetten 11. Like the Parchís cover, the only English word in the song is "Funkytown".

In 1981, it was included by SNK in their licensed game Fantasy, released by Rock-Ola.

In 1984, the British post-punk band The 012 covered it at about double the original speed on rock instruments, under the title "Funkytown People", on their album Let's Get Professional. The performance is sloppy, with blurry, atonal guitar playing, and singer/guitarist Kif Kif Le Batter (real name Keith Dobson) throws in lots of asides putting the song down. After The 012 split up, Dobson formed World Domination Enterprises, and re-recorded the song under its proper title for their 1988 album Let's Play Domination. This performance is noticeably tighter than The 012's and the lyrics are played straight this time (although Dobson interprets "with some energy" as "It's Saturday"), but the guitar style remains the same. A "Let's Go Mix" of the song is included on World Dom's 1989 split remix/live album Love from Lead City.

In 1992, Danish singer/DJ Master Fatman covered it on his debut album, Hail Hail.

In 1995, it was covered by Tejano singer Selena during her last televised concert. The song was later included on the Selena film soundtrack album.

In 1997, French Industrial metal Treponem Pal covered this song in their "Higher" album.

In 2005, Robyn Hitchcock covered it on Obliteration Pie, an album released in Japan.

In 2007, it was covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks in the live-action/CGI film adaptation (this same version can also be heard in the video game based on the 2009 sequel). Their version peaked at number 86. It was also used in the video game Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 by Ubisoft for the music rhythm games.

The same year, French singer Lorie sampled the music of "Funkytown" for a remixed version of her hit single "Je Vais Vite"; it became "Je Vais Funky". A video was also made to promote the mix.

In 2009, Swedish group Alcazar released a cover of "Funkytown", included on their album Disco Defenders.

In 2010, the song was included in the video game Just Dance 2 as a cover version exclusive to the Best Buy Special Edition. It was also later included on Just Dance: Summer Party.

In 2011, Colombian singer Fanny Lú used the main synth riff and part of the vocal melody from "Funkytown" in the song "Te Amo, Te Amo" on her album Felicidad y Perpetua. In the same year, a sample of the song's verse was used in the lyrics of Super Junior members Donghae and Eunhyuk's second duo song, "Oppa, Oppa".

The band Strangefolk would cover Funkytown, playing it between their song "So Well" usually.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]