Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lipps Inc.

Artist:Lipps Inc.
Album:Funkyworld: The Best Of Lipps Inc.

So I'm sure you're familiar with Funkytown which topped the charts in 1980. And you probably think it's Euro Disco. But Lipps Inc. was important in establishing Minneapolis as a black music power led by Prince and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Lipps Inc. was not a real group. They were studio musicians led by producer Steven Greenberg and singer Cynthia Johnson. Greenberg had tried for several years to get a record deal and he finally got the attention of Casablanca Records with the disco song Rock It. Though the single was not a hit, Casablanca liked it enough to ask Greenberg for a full album. Casablanca was known for disco music in those days. So he gathered some of his studio musician buddies including guitarist David Rivkin who was a member of Prince's band. But the biggest thing was he hired singer Cynthia Johnson. Cynthia was the 1976 Miss Black Minnesota and she was lead singer of Flyte Tyme led by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. After Cynthia left, Flyte Tyme would become The Time and Jam and Lewis became world renowned producers. Cynthia was working as a secretary at the police department and she approached Greenberg and wanted to work with him. Lipps Inc. released the 1979 album Mouth To Mouth. Funkytown topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 1980. It was a worldwide hit and a huge dance hit. Subsequent singles were not hits and today Lipps Inc. is perceived as a one hit wonder though several songs were dance hits. After three albums, Cynthia left Lipps Inc. and was replaced by background singer Melanie Rosales. After one more album, Greenberg disbanded Lipps Inc. in 1985. You can get all their hits on this comp. The Aussie group Pseudo Echo had a hit with their cover of Funkytown in 1987. Steven Greenberg owns a web design company. Cynthia Johnson has been a studio singer in the Minneapolis music scene for years. And she is a member of the popular gospel group The Sounds of Blackness. She still works a lot with Jam and Lewis and does a lot of jingles. Cynthia released her debut solo CD All That I Am in 2013 and is currently working on a new CD. Here's Cynthia Johnson performing Funkytown on the French TV show Les Annee Bonheur Jan. 11, 2014.

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