"Funkytown" is a song by American band Lipps Inc., which appears on their 1979 debut album, Mouth to Mouth. It 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".
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. It also reached no. 2 in the United Kingdom, 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.
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.
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 appeared in the second trailer of Wreck-It Ralph Doing a party with the Nicelanders and Fix-It Felix. In the movie itself, The song was changed from Funkytown to Celebration by Kool & the Gang.
In the 1996 comedy film Brain Candy featuring The Kids in the Hall, a new antidepressant drug creates a side effect in some users, causing them to constantly live in a detached state remembering the happiest moment in their lives. One of the patients taking the drug during tests, an overweight middle-aged woman, constantly lives in her memory of herself as a young, attractive blonde woman dancing to "Funkytown" at a hip disco.
Funkytown has been heard in each of Areva's commercials since 2004, from "Energy Experts" (2004) up to "Energy : One Powerful Story" (2011).
The main riff in the song is reminiscent of 1971's "The Changeling" by The Doors.
In Italy, the song is known because of a case of acoustic pareidolia, sometimes mistaken for a subliminal message. The first sentence Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me sounds similar to an Italian sentence: Caro amico mio, culattone, aspettami. This can be translated as: My dear friend, faggot, wait for me.
"Funkytown" is the name of a popular theme camp at the annual Burning Man festival.
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. 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. 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.
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 of "Funky Town" by Pseudo Echo was played in the 1987 sequel comedy film Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.
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.
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 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.
^"Pseudo Echo: Love An Adventure". Digital Audio and Compact Disc Review (WGE Pub.) 4: 57. 1987. Can you sing along to Lipps Inc.'s 1980 disco hit "Funkytown" and keep a straight face? Pseudo Echo can, which leads one to wonder how anyone can take this Australian quartet seriously, even with the success of their second American release, Love An Adventure. Like Wang Chung, Mr. Mister, and The Outfield, Pseudo Echo is spearheading the "corporate new-wave" movement