Saturday, May 31, 1980

Lipps Inc. hit #1 with “Funkytown”


Lipps Inc.

Writer(s): Steven Greenberg (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 22, 1980

Peak: 14 US, 15 CB, 14 HR, 7 RR, 2 RB, 2 UK, 11 CN, 12 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.25 UK, 8.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 73.6 video, 297.58 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Lipps Inc. was the brainchild of Steve Greenberg, a part-time record producer and DJ for parties and weddings. He wrote, produced, and performed all the instruments except bass on the song “Rock It,” which topped the chart at a local Minneapolis radio station. FB He eventually assembled a seven-piece, multi-racial band which included Cynthia Johnson, who was Miss Black Minnesota 1976.

The second single, “Funkytown,” from their debut album Mouth to Mouth featured Johnson singing “with a real gospel-trained verve that…elevates the track.” SG However, true to the pun of the group’s name, Debbie Jenner – a blonde British woman – was hired to served as the face of the group in West Germany and the Netherlands. SG She completely hams it up in the video with ridiculous dancing and lip-synching. SG Note: the woman featured in the video on this page isn’t Johnson either. WK

Greenberg wrote the song about being bored with Minneapolis and wanting to move to New York, which he called “Funkytown.” While he may have lamented what he perceived as his town’s lack of funkiness, it arguably became known as “the funkiest town on earth” SG thanks to it being Prince’s hometown.

“The song might have a backstory about dissatisfaction and wanderlust, but you can’t hear any of that in the finished product.” SG It was significant as a bridge “connecting the dying embers of disco” SG to the “coming synthpop explosion o the ‘80s.” SG It “adapts Giorgio Moroder’s gleaming, synthetic Euro-disco sound, transforming it into something beautifully dinky and amateurish.” SG

In 1986, the pop group Pseudo Echo recorded the song, taking it to #1 in their native Australia. It was also a top-10 hit in the United States and United Kingdom.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Lipps Inc.
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 525.
  • SF Songfacts
  • SG Stereogum (3/25/2020). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 11/29/2021; last updated 10/22/2022.

Friday, May 23, 1980

Peter Gabriel “Family Snapshot” released

Family Snapshot

Peter Gabriel

Writer(s): Peter Gabriel (see lyrics here)

Released: May 23, 1980 (album cut)

First Charted: --

Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.45 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Peter Gabriel’s third solo studio album, often referred to as Melt because of the cover depicting his melting face, is best remembered for the top 5 UK hit “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko” about black South African anti-apartheid activist Bantu Stephen Biko. However, the album also featured “Family Snapshot,” an intriguing look at “the story of an assassination told from the perspective of the gunman.” SF

Gabriel was inspired by An Assassin’s Diary by Arthur Bremer. In 1972, Bremmer shot (but did not kill) George Wallace, the governor of Alabama and Democratic presidential candidate. Gabriel was fascinated that Bremer did it not for political reasons, but fame. He even timed the shooting to be sure it would make the early news. SF As Gabriel said, it “was a really nasty book, but you do get a sense of the person who is writing it.” WK

In Gabriel’s song, he explores the gunman’s troubled childhood in which his parents were growing apart and didn’t give him the attention he needed. SF The would-be killer narrates “his thoughts, plans and feelings…as the day of the assassination begins.” PN He wants to shoot a famous figure to thrust himself in the spotlight.

Tension builds in the song and the listener senses the parade setting of the impending assassination attempt. “Flags waving, crowds cheering. The excitement of it all.” PN The song culminates in the moment when the assassin fires the bullet, carrying out his plan.


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First posted 12/16/2023.

Saturday, May 10, 1980

Genesis “Misunderstanding” released



Writer(s): Phil Collins (see lyrics here)

Released: May 10, 1980

First Charted: May 17, 1980

Peak: 14 BB, 14 CB, 3 GR, 9 HR, 3 RR, 32 AC, 3 CL, 42 UK, 11 CN, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.1 video, 30.2 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Genesis formed in 1967 with singer Peter Gabriel, drummer/singer Phil Collins, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks, and guitarist Anthony Phillips. Their first six albums cemented the band as one of the premiere progressive rock bands of all time. However, after 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Gabriel left for a solo career. Collins stepped up as the new singer and led the band into their most commercially successful years.

1980’s Duke was the fourth post-Gabriel album and where one could argue they transformed into an album rock band. The previous album gave the group their first top-40 hit with “Follow You, Follow Me” reaching #23. “Misunderstanding,” the third single from Duke peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would be their biggest hit until “That’s All” got to #6 in 1984.

“Misunderstanding” was one of Phil Collins first endeavors at writing on his own. According to Banks, “He just didn’t rate himself as a writer that much…and he’d never really tried it before. But after his problems with his marriage…he started to write songs.” SF Andrea, Collins’ first wife, left him and took their two children with her. Much of the material Collins wrote ended up on his first solo album, Face Value, in 1981 but “Misunderstanding” was one of the songs he played for the band and they wanted it for Duke>

The song is written from the perspective of a protagonist wrongly assuming he’s been stood up simply because of some misunderstanding instead of recognizing that she wants nothing to do with him. SF Collins said the song was modelled after the Beach Boys’ “Sail on, Sailor,” Sly & the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” and Toto’s “Hold the Line.” WK


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First posted 2/8/2024.