Funkytown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Funkytown"
Side A of US 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Lipps Inc.
from the album Mouth to Mouth
B-side"All Night Dancing"
ReleasedMarch 1980[1]
StudioSound 80 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Genre
Length
  • 7:50 (album version)
  • 3:59 (single version)
LabelCasablanca
Songwriter(s)Steven Greenberg
Producer(s)Steven Greenberg
Lipps Inc. singles chronology
"Rock It"
(1979)
"Funkytown"
(1980)
"How Long"
(1980)
Music video
"Funkytown" on YouTube

"Funkytown" is a song by American disco-funk group Lipps Inc., released by Casablanca Records in March 1980. It was written and produced by Steven Greenberg and released as the second single from the group's debut studio album, Mouth to Mouth (1979).

"Funkytown" was met with immediate commercial success, reaching number one on various record charts in different countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and West Germany.[6][7][8] It quickly became the group's signature song, selling over eight million copies worldwide, making it their most successful song.[9]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Composed in the key of C major,[10] "Funkytown" was written by Steven Greenberg and sung by Cynthia Johnson. The lyrics of the song pine for a metaphorical place that will "keep me movin', keep me groovin' with some energy", while Lipps Inc. members were dreaming of relocating from Minneapolis to New York City.[11]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "Funkytown" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on March 29, 1980 and spent four weeks at number one, from May 31 to June 21, 1980. It also topped the Disco Top 60 chart for four non-consecutive weeks[8] and peaked at number two on the Hot Soul Singles chart for four weeks also, from May 24 to June 21, 1980.[12] "Funkytown" was first certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on May 23, 1980 and later Platinum on July 17, 1980. Billboard magazine ranked the song as the eighth most popular single of 1980. It is Lipps Inc.'s only US Top 40 hit single.[8]

Elsewhere, "Funkytown" was a number-one hit in countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and West Germany, and peaked at number two in Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.[13]

Music videos[edit]

"Funkytown" has at least two music videos. In one, an unidentified black woman lip synching Johnson's vocals dances with some women in a pub. In another video, Doris D, who fronted Lipps Inc. in the Netherlands and West Germany, dances while lip synching the vocals.[14] Johnson's website claims that the singer "was never asked to perform a video of 'Funkytown'".[15]

Legacy and impact[edit]

In 1997, DJ John Acquaviva listed "Funkytown" with his top ten tracks, saying "It's always been one of my favorite songs. It's got an amazing bassline that sounds great on a good system and people love it. Some people in Germany I know are reissuing it."[16] In 2009, VH1 ranked the song at number 37 on its list of the "100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s".[17] In 2018, Time Out ranked it at number 44 on its list of "The 100 best party songs".

"Funkytown" expresses a simple, repetitive yearning for the pulse of a bigger city, goosed by a killer ten-note synth riff. "Gotta make a move to a town that's right for me", sings Cynthia Johnson in a robotic, vocoderized voice (a precursor to the Auto-Tune sound) before busting out an unmodified, soulful wail, pleading for a trip to the party destination of her dreams. Released in 1980, "Funkytown" came late to the disco party, but gave it a jolt of electricity.[18]

In 2018, ThoughtCo. ranked the song at number seven on its list of the "25 Best Dance Pop Songs of All Time".[19]

Track listing and formats[edit]

All tracks were written and produced by Steven Greenberg.

US 7-inch vinyl single (810 326-7)

A1. "Funkytown" – 3:57
B1. "All Night Dancing" – 3:09

Australian 12-inch vinyl single (6198 342)

A1. "Funkytown" – 7:46
B1. "All Night Dancing" – 8:18

Mexican 12-inch vinyl single (3027)

A1. "Funkytown" (Super Disco version) – 12:43
B1. "All Night Dancing" – 3:09

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[50] Platinum 100,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[52] 2× Platinum 300,000[51]
France (SNEP)[53] Gold 500,000*
Germany (BVMI)[54] Gold 500,000^
Mexico 1,000,000[55]
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[57] Platinum 3,000,000[9]
Summaries
Worldwide 8,000,000[9]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Pseudo Echo version[edit]

"Funkytown"
Single by Pseudo Echo
from the album Love an Adventure
B-side"Lies Are Nothing"
Released17 November 1986 (1986-11-17)[58]
Genre
Length4:54 (Australian single version/video mix)
3:40 (single version)
6:35 (Australian album version/dance mix)
Label
Songwriter(s)Steven Greenberg
Producer(s)Brian Canham
Pseudo Echo singles chronology
"Try"
(1986)
"Funkytown"
(1986)
"Take On the World"
(1987)
Music video
"Funkytown" on YouTube

In 1986, "Funkytown" was covered by Australian new wave band Pseudo Echo in rock form, including a guitar solo in the middle. It reached number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 and spent seven weeks at number one in Australia. Like Lipps Inc., it is Pseudo Echo's only US Top 40 hit single.

Track listing and formats[edit]

US 7-inch vinyl single (EMI 1883)

A1. "Funkytown" – 3:40
B1. "Lies Are Nothing" – 3:58

12-inch vinyl maxi single (ED 237) / (RCA 5217–7)

A1. "Funkytown" (Dance Mix) – 6:32
B1. "Funkytown" – 3:40
B2. "Lies Are Nothing" – 3:58

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1986–1987) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[20] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[61] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[62] 40
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[63] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[25] 12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[64] 1
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[65] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[66] 9
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[67] 11
UK Singles (OCC)[68] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[69] 6
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[69] 4
US Dance/Electronic Singles Sales (Billboard)[69] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[70] 12
West Germany (Official German Charts)[71] 16

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[72][40] 93
Chart (1987) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[40][73] 19
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[74] 17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[75] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[76] 99
US Dance/Electronic Singles Sales (Billboard)[77] 37
Chart (1988) Rank
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[78] 18

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[79] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[80] Gold 10,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]