The song was written and produced by Steven Greenberg. It was recorded in 1979 and takes us right to edge of the 1970s. It was the first track on the 1979 album Mouth to Mouth. It was released as a single in 1980 topping the charts internationally. It went to #1 in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Belgium, The Eurochart Hot 100, France, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. It was #2 in the U.K. and Sweden, #3 in Ireland, and #5 in Italy and South Africa. And the it earned 2x Platinum certification in Canada, Platinum in the U.S., Gold in France and Germany, and Silver in the U.K. Wow.
The Funkytown referred to in the song is New York City. Greenberg wanted to leave Minneapolis and move to NYC where things were movin’ and groovin’ with energy. Cynthia Johnson, who was Miss Black Minnesota in 1976, sang the vocals. The group Lipps, Inc., which is pronounced as “Lip Synch”) was formed for this song. They had numerous personnel changes over the years and continued to record until 1985. Greenberg went on to become A&R Vice President for Mercury Records and then headed up S-Curve Records, who have produced Baha Men and Joss Stone, among others.
The Australian group Pseudo Echo covered “Funkytown” with a different feel and sound to it. That also charted well.
Here are the lyrics to “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.: