Steven Greenberg (musician)
Steven Greenberg (born October 24, 1950) in Saint Paul, Minnesota is a musician, record producer and the owner of the independent October Records label. He is best known for his band Lipps Inc's 1980 hit song "Funkytown" (which was also a huge hit for Australian band Pseudo Echo). Many of his songs are classics on the dancefloor such as "Addicted to the Night", "How Long", "Designer Music" and "Choir Practice". His music is an inspiration to the new dance music genres. Steven Greenberg's son, Nile, was featured on the MTV show "Made" where he wanted to be made into a rapper. He went by the name Blizzard.
A multi-instrumentalist, Greenberg had played in several bands and had been trying for some time to secure a production deal. He finally caught the Casablanca label's interest with a disco track called "Rock It," which became something of a hit locally. Casablanca asked Greenberg for a full album, and he gathered a cast of session players that initially included guitarists David Rivkin and Tom Riopelle, keyboardist Ivan Rafowitz, synth and vocoder programmer Roger Dumas (not the same as the French actor Roger Dumas), and bassist Terry Grant. Most importantly, he recruited lead vocalist Cynthia Johnson, the 1976 Miss Black Minnesota, who had been performing with an early version of The Time.
Released nationally in late 1979, "Rock It" made it into the Top 20 on the Billboard Disco Charts where it got the attention of Casablanca Records; the group's debut album, Mouth To Mouth, was released in early 1980. "Funkytown" was the first single, and it was an instant hit, climbing to Number One just a few months later and spending four weeks on top starting May 31, 1980. In the wake of its success, "Rock It" was re-released and only made the Billboard Top 50. The six-song release Pucker Up followed, featuring a disco remake of the British pub rock group Ace's hit ballad "How Long." It received gold and platinum records in many countries, Lipps Inc. full-length, Designer Music was a huge success in Mexico, Central and South America and made Top 10 on the Billboard Disco chart. "Designer Music" also has gold and platinum in many countries including, Mexico and Hong Kong, but no subsequent song matched the success of "Funkytown" in the United States.
Cynthia Johnson was already decreasing her involvement with the group, with Melanie Rosales and Margie Cox picking up some of the slack and later becoming lead vocalists. Johnson left for good in 1983 after three albums. Lipps Inc. released one more album before breaking up in 1985. Greenberg eventually moved into web design, and owned Designstein, a once profitable company based in Minneapolis that declared bankruptcy in 2010 - leaving multiple unpaid vendors and employees. Greenberg is currently creating a Broadway musical production and lives in Minnesota.
- The Official Funkytown web site
- Steven Greenberg at the Internet Movie Database – note: IMDB combines credits for Steven Greenberg and Steve Greenberg (record producer)
- Minnesota Historical Society article on Steven Greenberg