Lipps Inc. is a short-lived R&B and disco group who scored a hit single and now-oldies music classic tune “Funkytown” during the disco’s waning years in the 80s music era. Although the Minnesota-based band is labeled as a one-hit wonder, they also went on to score more hits mostly on the dance chart. More on Lipps Inc. here in this article!
Short career and huge hit with “Funkytown”
Lipps Inc. is pronounced as “lip sync.” It was a disco and R&B group hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were formed by songwriter and producer Steven Greenberg in 1979. The group was led by Cynthia Jackson (lead vocals); the lineup would change over the years of their existence.
Around the same time Lipps Inc. released their first single “Rock It,” released on Fight label which was owned by Greenberg.
The second single “Funkytown” was written by Greenberg, and released as a single in March 1980. It went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard dance charts. It peaked also at #2 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and also on the UK chart.
“Funkytown” also went to #1 in several countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and Swtizerland and placing Top 10 positions on other global charts.
“Funkytown” went to platinum and platinum status not only in the US but in many countries. Its success led the group to win several awards including three Billboard Music Awards in 1980,
Both “Rock It” and “Funkytown” belong to the group’s debut album Mouth to Mouth, produced by Greenberg and released on Casablanca Records. It finished at #5 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard R&B album charts apiece.
Due to disco’s steady decline perhaps, Lipps Inc. failed to duplicate the success of “Funkytown.” Their other singles only charted on the dance chart (“Rock It,” “Hold Me Down,” “How Long,” “Addicted to the Night” and “Does Anybody Know Me”/”Hit the Deck”). “Rock It” was the band’s only other Hot 100 entry, peaking at #64.
After the release of the group’s album Designer Music, Johnson left. Margie Cox and then Melanie Rosales took lead vocal duties in Johnson’s place. But even lineup changes made little impact on the group’s future success. Lipps Inc. released their final album 4 in 1983, and two years later they broke up for good.
Lipps Inc. was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.