Between roughly 1983 to 1992 there was an ArtificialIntelligence economic bubble. AI-related stocks grew popular, and Lisp was big part of the talk surrounding AI, partly because its relatively easy to manipulate and analyze Lisp code via machine, such as self-modifying programs. ExpertSystems were also mentioned a lot toward the end of the bubble, in part because they were almost the only AI product that seemed to be producing useful current results rather than just being research projects.
The bubble ended similar to the way the DotComBubble did: many AI companies failed in succession. A few remaining companies merged and often changed focus to survive.
Some say there was an "AI winter" afterward as nobody wanted to invest in AI-related stocks. With the popularity of Siri and visibility of IBM's Watson, some believe there may be another "AI wave" forming, albeit smaller than the prior boom.
Arguably, the current AI wave is bigger, and it's delivering practical results. Don't forget the role of AI in videogames, and the machine learning that underpins various Google technologies.
Also, beware of conflating Lisp with the AiWinter. Early AI liked to depend on Lisp. Lisp never depended on AI. There has never been a "Lisp winter", and FunctionalProgramming has steadily grown in popularity and influence since its inception. The fact that classically OO languages like Java and C# now support functional facilities like lambdas is evidence of this. The fact that various NoSql systems are fundamentally dependent on Map and Reduce operations -- which come straight from FunctionalProgramming -- is further evidence of this.
I'd like to see stronger evidence that Lisp dialects are growing in popularity relative to non-Lisp languages, especially for production code. It's my opinion that usage of lambdas is in part a result of poor OOP models. Related: PopularityOfLisp.
[Did anyone say Lisp dialects are growing in popularity relative to non-Lisp languages? ClojureLanguage has been making something of a splash recently, but it's the FunctionalProgramming concepts originating in Lisp that are seeing widespread use throughout even the most procedural of languages -- witness the STL in CeePlusPlus, LINQ and lambda syntax in C#, the inception of lambda syntax in Java, and so on. -DavidMcLean?]