March 1980: Lipps Inc. Releases "Funkytown"

Funkytown cover art
Photo Credit
(Casablanca)

The infamous Chicago "Disco Demolition" of July 1979 is often cited as the official death of disco. That couldn't be further from the truth. Case in point: "Funkytown," the smash hit released by Lipps Inc. on March 11, 1980.

Songwriter Steven Greenberg was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and dreaming of the bright lights of New York City. He teamed up with local vocalist Cynthia Johnson, who at the time was best known for being crowned Miss Black Minnesota 1976. Together, they wrote and recorded "Funkytown," with NYC being the town they were writing about.

Casablanca Records would snap up the tune, which began climbing the charts. It made Greenberg a local celebrity in Minneapolis, where he was interviewed on Twin Cities Today in 1980.

The song was a smash, soaring to #1 on May 31, 1980, where it stayed for a solid month straight. It would finally fall over the last week of June to Paul McCartney's "Coming Up."

In 1986, Australian band Pseudo Echo would record a cover version of "Funkytown." Their decidedly '80s-styled rock take on the track would break into the US top 10, peaking at #6.

 

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