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"Uptown Funk" is a song by British record producer Mark Ronson featuring American singer and songwriter Bruno Mars, from Ronson's fourth studio album, Uptown Special (2015). The song was released as the album's lead single on 10 November 2014 via digital download in several countries. "Uptown Funk" was written by Ronson, Mars, Philip Lawrence and Jeff Bhasker. Since the track interpolates "All Gold Everything" (2012), songwriting credits were added for a total of six. Produced by Ronson, Mars, and Bhasker, its composition began during a freestyle studio session between the former three by deciding to work on the jam that Mars and his band would play on tour. The song went through several incarnations, worked on for months during stressful sessions, recorded at multiple locations, and at one point it was nearly scrapped. Copyright controversies arose after the song's release, with multiple lawsuits and amendments to its songwriting credits. The latter, due to similarities with "Oops Up Side Your Head" (1979) by The Gap Band, keyboardist Rudolph Taylor, and producer Lonnie Simmons.

"Uptown Funk"
Capittal words "Mark Ronson FEAT. Bruno Mars" stylized as "UpTown Funk!" with capital T and exclamation point. A black and white speaker box in the middle of the image.
Single by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
from the album Uptown Special
B-side
Released10 November 2014 (2014-11-10)
Format
Recorded2014
Studio
Genre
Length
  • 4:30 (album version)
  • 3:58 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Mark Ronson
  • Jeff Bhasker
  • Bruno Mars
Mark Ronson singles chronology
"Anywhere in the World"
(2012)
"Uptown Funk"
(2014)
"Daffodils"
(2015)
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Young Girls"
(2013)
"Uptown Funk"
(2014)
"24K Magic"
(2016)
Music video
"Uptown Funk" on YouTube

"Uptown Funk" is a Funk-pop, soul, boogie, disco-pop and Minneapolis sound track. It has a spirit akin to the 1980s-era funk music as well as the works by Morris Day & The Time, ultimate being a "joyous, energetic and feel-good" song. Its lyrics address fashion, self-love and "traditional masculine bravado", performed in a sing-rapping style filled with metaphors, arrogance, charisma, and fun. Upon its release, the single received generally favourable reviews from music critics, who praised the instrumental, style and influences of the track. Others criticized it for not being innovative as it tried to emulate the 80's funk music. Commercially, the song topped the charts of 19 countries and reached the top 10 of 15 others, making it both Ronson's and Mars' most successful single to date. In the United States, "Uptown Funk" topped the Billboard Hot 100 and tied the second longest-reigning number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with 14 weeks and spent seven weeks on the UK Singles Chart. It became one of the best-selling singles of all-time.

"Uptown Funk" spent seven non-consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and topped the charts in several other countries including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland and New Zealand. It became the best-selling single of 2015 and one of the best-selling of all-time.

Director Cameron Duddy and Mars shot the song's music video. It depicts Ronson, Mars and The Hooligans singing, walking and dancing in a city street. During the video, Ronson and Mars get their hairs in perm curlers at a salon and their shoes shined. In March 2019, the official music video for "Uptown Funk" became the fifth most viewed YouTube video, of all-time after receiving 3.5 billion views. "Uptown Funk" was performed on television shows such as Saturday Night Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. The song received several awards and nominations, winning British Single of the Year at the 2015 Brit Awards, International Work of the Year at the APRA Music Awards of 2016 and Record of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The television show soundtracks of Glee, Family Guy and a commercial for Skippy peanut butter used the song. Not only it has been parodied several times, but it also became a worldwide phenomenon with its major impact on pop culture.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

After producing three songs for Bruno Mars' second studio album Unorthodox Jukebox (2012), Mark Ronson, told, in June 2014, that he and Mars planned on working together again: "He's had a [sic] incredible run and it was great to be able to work on that record with him and hopefully we'll be making music for a while."[1][2] On 9 October 2014, Mike Mullaney (Music Director/Assistant Program Director at CBS Radio/WBMX), listened to the song, which was sent to CBS Radio for testing, and called it "the greatest song of all time". He added, "The Ronson/Bruno tune is like JamesBrown/RickJames/TheTime jamming w/ badass brass band", describing it as "Filthy, funky" and complemented Mars' vocals, "Bruno simply wails".[3]

Ronson worked on the song for seven months, recording it in various locations, in a number of grueling, stressful sessions.[4][5] In its earliest conception, "Uptown Funk" was just a jam that Bruno Mars and his band would play on tour.[5][6] When Ronson joined Mars and Jeff Bhasker for a jam session at Mars' studio, Ronson wanted to work and finish leftover demos from Unorthodox Jukebox (2012), however, Mars wanted to do something different and started to play on a drum kit in the studio, while Bhasker and Ronson played the keyboard and guitar, respectively. They decided to work on the jam of the tour and thought it would be "cool" to fit in the Trinidad James song, "Don’t believe me, just watch. Don’t believe me, just watch", that was played during Mars' tour soundcheck. At this point, they found the opening line "This hit, that ice cold/Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold", which led them to believe they had an "exciting idea". However, both Ronson and Mars had busy schedules so they couldn't complete the single then and there. Instead, they spent the next several months working on the song.[4][5][6] During this time, Mars and Ronson fought over which sections of the track would fit better, with the former not enjoying early versions of the song for a long time.[7]

Ronson, Bhasker, and Mars recorded parts in Los Angeles, London, Memphis, New York, Toronto, and Vancouver.[4][6][8] The horn parts were recorded at Daptone Records in Brooklyn with the horn sections of The Dap-Kings, Antibalas and The Hooligans making the final rendering of the track.[5][6][8] The drum section was first recorded at Mars' studio, in Los Angeles and later rearranged in Memphis. The track took them over 100 takes, being finished at Ronson's studio in London.[9] Bouncing around different places caused a number of drastic changes in the track.[5] One iteration featured a hard rock breakdown in the middle and a chorus in which Mars shouted, "Burn this motherfucker down!" At one point, the song was nearly scrapped entirely.[10] They spend months working on a chorus, only to come up with the idea of not having one.[10] After a show at the Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013-14), songwriter Philip Lawrence suggested the use of an opening bassline, however, he couldn't play the bass so engineer Charles Moniz told him to sing it, the "doh" vocal bassline ended up on the album. Some of the most progressive phases of the track were done on "makeshift studios" set up by Moniz in dressing rooms.[11]

The stress over "Uptown Funk" was so high, that Ronson passed out during one session as Bhasker was to leave London at the end of the day, and he wanted to nail the guitar part before he left. They tried to slow the track down so Ronson "could find the pocket and play along" but it didn't work, and he thought of getting someone "good to do it", instead of himself. Nevertheless, the computer burst and they had to switch to tape, which left no margin of error for the latter. Having not figured it out by lunch, they went out for a break and Ronson fainted in the restaurant, vomiting three times. Afterward, Bhasker carried Ronson back to the studio, and together, two days later in Toronto, they figured out the guitar part, when Ronson was playing it in front of The Hooligans after 82 takes. Mars completed his "part a couple of days later".[4][6][9] Ronson confessed on NPR's Fresh Air why he was so determined to make the song perfect "when you're doing something that doesn't sound like anything else on the radio at the time, you almost need to like, iron-clad it, to make sure it gets through. You have to put these hooks in it. You've got to make sure you've got all that ear candy in it to get it through the gate."[4] The record label was hesitant on releasing the song under its current title, suggesting the alternative name "Just Watch".[12]

Production and releaseEdit

"Uptown Funk" was initially written by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Jeff Bhasker. Since the song embodies portions of "All Gold Everything" (2012), Nicholas Williams and Devon Gallaspy were also credited as songwriters.[8] As of May 2015, the track was re-registered as it also contains portions of "Oops Upside Your Head" (1979), with additional writing credits for Charlie Wilson, Robert Wilson, Ronnie Wilson, Rudy Taylor, and Lonnie Simmons.[13] The single was produced by Ronson, Bhasker, and Mars. Ronson was in charge of the guitars, linn drum and programming, while the keyboards and talk box were handled by Bhasker. The vocals and drums were performed by Mars, the bass was played by Jamareo Artis, while additional keyboards were provided by Phredley Brown. The trumpets were played by David Guy, Michael Leonhart, and Jimmy King, the tenor saxophone was handled by Neal Sugarman and Dwayne Dagger, the trombone was performed by Ray Mason and Kameron Whalum, while the Baritone saxophone was played by Ian Hendrickson-Smith. Ronson, Boo Mitchell, Charles Moniz, Wayne Gordon, Josh Blair, and Inaam Haq engineered the song, with Ken Lewis, Devin Nakao, Matthew Stevens, and Riccardo Damian providing additional engineering to the recording. The track was recorded in six different studios. Serban Ghenea and John Hanes, who served as the mix engineer, mixed "Uptown Funk" at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach. It was mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound, NYC.[8]

The release of "Uptown Funk" was first announced by Mark Ronson on 30 October 2014, via Twitter, with the date 10 November 2014, appearing on the poster image Ronson included in the tweet.[14] Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment released the single on 10 November 2014 for digital download in various countries.[15][16][17] RCA Records sent the track to be added to US contemporary hit radio on the following day, while Sony released it to the Italian contemporary hit radio stations on 14 November 2014.[18][19] In the United Kingdom, "Uptown Funk" was released before its scheduled date, 11 January 2015, since it was performed earlier on The X Factor as a cover by Fleur East.[20][21][22] On 8 December 2014, not only was the song released on the UK via digital download, but also radio stations began adding the track onto their playlists.[23][24] On January 9 2015, a CD Single was released on Austria, Germany and Switzerland, it included the album version of "Uptown Funk", as well as, Ronson and Mystikal single, "Feel Right".[25] On 16 and 24 February 2015, the recording and one of its remixes, the BB Disco Dub Mix, remixed by Benji B, were released released on vinyl in the UK and US, respectively.[26][27] Two months later, on 13 April 2015, an EP of four different remixes of the original version of the song was released via digital download.[28] On 29 June 2015, a remix featuring Trinidad James was made available for purchase on iTunes.[29]

Composition and influencesEdit

"Uptown Funk" is a funk-pop,[30] soul,[21] boogie,[31] disco-pop,[32] Minneapolis sound track, with a light EDM influence.[33] It is composed in the key of D minor at a tempo of 115 beats per minute. Mars' vocal range spans from the low note of B2 to the high note of D6.[34] It has been described as a "joyous, energetic and feel-good" song.[21][35] Billboard and The Guardian music critics noticed the resemblance between the track and the works of Cameo, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, New Edition, Prince, Sugarhill Gang and The Gap Band.[21][36] The former publication also drew several songs comparisions, including George Kranz's "Trommeltanz (Din Daa Daa)" (1983), Earth, Wind & Fire's "Getaway" (1976), One Way's "Cutie Pie" (1982), Sugarhill Gang's "Apache" (1981), The Gap Band's "Oops Up Side Your Head" (1979) and "Early in the Morning" (1982), The Sequence's "Funk You Up" (1979), Morris Day & The Time's "Cool" (1981) and "Jungle Love" (1984), as well as, Zapp's "More Bounce to the Ounce" (1980).[36] Matt James from PopMatters also found Morris Day & The Time's "The Bird" (1984), Kool & the Gang's "Get Down on It" (1981) and Was (Not Was)' "Walk the Dinosaur" (1987) to have influenced "Uptown Funk".[37] Various critics noticed the pastiche on "Uptown Funk", from the "electric purple texture of the synths and the loose slap of the rhythms" to the "Price-backed 80's funkateers Morris Day & The Time".[38][39][40]

Several music critics including, Jamieson Cox of Time, Chris Molanphy of Slate and Stuart Berman of Pitchfork found "Uptown Funk" to be heavily influenced by the 80's funk.[38][41][42] Neil McCormick writing for The Telegraph called it an "evocation of the kind of Eighties funk that was already ripe with nostalgia".[40] Robbie Daw of Idolator found the single closer to the "70's groove", filling "the hearts of Stax- and James Brown music fans".[43] Likewise, Rap-Up dubbed it a "70's jam", a mash-up of "the best of Morris Day & The Time, James Brown, and The Jackson 5".[35] AXS's Lucas Villa compared the funk sound of the recording to George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" (1982).[44] Andy Kellman's AllMusic said the recording "aimed for early Time", but it sounded more like One Way's "Let's Talk"(1985).[45] Annie Galvin of Slant Magazine found Mars "channeling Little Richard's raspier inflections."[46] People commented to hear the influence of Cameo on the horns, Morris Day & The Time on the keyboards, and "Party Train" (1983) by The Gap Band on the drums.[36] All the verses are designed with a "call-and-response structure", a signature of Morris Day & The Time.[47] The song is performed in a more arrogant and charismatic way than Mars' previous tracks.[42][48] The lyrics have "well-placed references to Michelle Pfeiffer and Trinidad James", as the hook samples portions of James' "All Gold Everything" (2012).[36][48] On the song, Mars shows not only "soul and swagger" in the sing-rapping verses, "I'm too hot / Call the police and the fireman", but he also jokes around, "Got Chucks on / With Saint Laurent / Gotta catch myself / So pretty".[38][44][49] The lyrics make fun of the "traditional masculine bravado" using "silly metaphors", "I’m too hot, hot damn / Make a dragon wanna retire man".[46]

ReceptionEdit

"Uptown Funk" received positive reviews from most music critics. Nick Murray of Rolling Stone gave the song a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, praising the "George Kranz scatting and Nile Rodgers guitar riff." He also wrote that Mars, Ronson and The Hooligans "channel the days when brags weren't humble and disco wasn't retro."[50] Spin's Brennan Carley noticed the resemblance between Mars' and Nelly's vocals on the track due to the sing-rapping style, praising the voice as it "keeps things light and bubbly". Carley found the bass line to be similar to something that Prince would do. He concluded that "Uptown Funk" would be all over the radio in a short time.[49] Danielle Janota writing for Consequence of Sound praised the single calling it the "crown jewel" of the album.[51] Lucas Villa of AXS dubbed Ronson's latest approach to Funk to be "his freakiest, freshest and most fun release yet".[44] Pop Matters's Matt James called the track a "deftly daft, delirious and incessant, booty-shaking blast of brass 'n' bravado". James found it to be a standout on the album.[37] John Parker from Drowned in Sound called the recording "inescapable, a bona fide modern day mega hit".[52] Neil McCormick from The Telegraph affirmed he enjoyed the track, but that was because he "liked all the records it was built out of, by James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire and The Gap Band".[40] Stereogum's Tom Breihan completed the song saying, "It’s the best American #1 we’ve had in more than a year, easily, and maybe much more". However, Breihan noticed it copied the work of Morris Day & The Time. He concluded by affirming the recording "takes these old sounds, but it presents them with energy and inventiveness and charm and balls".[39] Robbie Daw of Idolator called the single "a straight-up ass-kicker" and not a "half-hearted stab" on recreating the "70's groove". He also praised the lyrics of the song, exemplifying with "Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold" and "gotta kiss myself, so pretty".[43]

Jim Farber from the New York Daily News said the recording "isn’t even a song", he furthered "It’s a vamp, a rush of "hit me" rhythms of the style patented by James Brown". Farber added, that Mars' vocals have "zip", but they "lack soul, not to mention an ounce of individuality". He concluded calling "Uptown Funk" the only "lazy track" on the album.[53] Nick Messitte writing for Forbes criticised "Uptown Funk" for "borrowing" from Morris Day & The Time's "Jungle Love" (1984), having the "same beat, instrumentation, call-and-response structure" and the key being "half-step apart". Messitte condemn Mars for mimicking other artists, a point he made during the entire article.[47]

The song made the cut on several lists of best songs. On June 2015, Spin complied a list of "The 63 Best Songs of 2015 So Far" with "Uptown Funk" being placed at number 51. Andrew Unterberger wrote, "Entrance into the canon of "September", "Celebration", and "I Gotta Feeling", jams to be played at every wedding from now until the end of time".[54] On the list of the 101 best songs of 2015 compiled by Spin, Dan Weiss ranked the song at number 87 saying that it emulates "Morris Day-esque funk ditty" and each one of us contributed to its success.[55] Rolling Stone ranked "Uptown Funk" at number 25 on its "100 Greatest Songs of the Century – So Far" in 2018. The magazine's writers described it as a "perfect Eighties funk-pop nostalgia bomb", further praising the singer "sparkling showmanship", dubbing it as "one of a kind".[30] The Village Voice's annual year-end Pazz & Jop critics' poll selected it as the 23rd best song of 2014, tying with Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass". The same critics' selected "Uptown Funk" as the eight best track of the following year.[56] NPR included in their list of favorite songs Of 2015, Stephen Thompson wrote, "If you're going to hear a song on the radio 15,000 times in a single summer, it might as well be this one".[57] On 26 January 2015, the song was voted number six on radio station Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2014.[58] "Uptown Funk" is the fourth biggest song of all-time to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100.[59]

AccoladesEdit

"Uptown Funk" has received various awards and nominations following its commercial success. In 2015, the song won British Single of the Year at the Brit Awards, Best Pop at MelOn Music Awards and was one of the Top 10 Gold International Gold Songs at RTHK International Pop Poll Awards.[60][61][62] The track also won BMI Pop Song of the Year at the BMI Awards, Song of the Year at Telehit Awards and Song of the Year at Soul Train Music Awards.[63][64][65] At the latter show, it was also nominated for The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award and Best Collaboration.[66] The single was nominated for Single of the Year and Collaboration of the Year at the American Music Awards, International Hit of the Year at the Danish GAFFA Awards, Best International Song at the Los Premios 40 Principales.[67][68][69] It was also nominated for Best Collaboration and Centric Award at the BET Awards, Best Song and Best Collaboration at the MTV Europe Music Awards and Dancefloor Filler at the NME Awards.[70][71][72]

In 2016, "Uptown Funk" received Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards.[73] It also won International Work of the Year at the APRA Music Awards, Best Collaboration at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, while it was nominated for Song of the Year.[74][75] The song was also nominated for Top Radio Song and Top Streaming Song (Video) at the Billboard Music Awards.[76] "Uptown Funk " was inducted to the 2017 edition of the Guinness World Records for achiving the most weeks at number one on Billboard's Digital Song Sales chart.[77] The record was later broken by "Despacito" (2017).[78]

Controversies and lawsuitsEdit

"Uptown Funk" has received various accusations and lawsuits due to copyright infringement. In 2015, similarities with "Oops Up Side Your Head" (1979) by The Gap Band led them, along with keyboardist Rudolph Taylor, and producer Lonnie Simmons to be added as co-writers of "Uptown Funk" and receive 17% of publishing royalties.[13][79] In the same year, Serbian artist Viktorija argued that "Uptown Funk" infringed on her track "Ulice mračne nisu za devojke". She decided not to sue Mars and Ronson.[80] In 2016, electro-funk band Collage sued Ronson and Mars for copying their single, "Young Girls" (1983), while The Sequence, a rap group, claimed it infringed their single "Funk You Up" (1979) and sued a year later.[81][82] In 2017, Lastrada Entertainment filed a lawsuit due to similarities with "More Bounce to the Ounce" (1980) by Zapp. The company seeks damage, a jury trial and prevent Ronson from profiting with "Uptown Funk".[83] In 2018, the Collage and Zapp lawsuit were dropped, it was not revealed if there was any financial settlement.[84][85] The track has drawn comparisons to The Really Wild Show, a BBC children's nature programme.[86] When Ronson was asked if he heard similarities between "Uptown Funk" and the theme to The Really Wild Show, he said "Oh, then the horns, I understand what they're saying, yeah, we owe a little bit...all equally influenced by Quincy Jones".[87]

Commercial performanceEdit

United StatesEdit

The single debuted at number 65 on Billboard Hot 100 chart on 21 November 2014 due to digital sales, making it Ronson's first entry on the Hot 100 as an artist.[88] It subsequently, due to the release of the official video and performance during Saturday Night Live, sold 110,000 digital copies. The song became the Hot 100's top Digital Gainer of the week and peaked at number 18 on 28 November 2014.[89] On its third week, the track rose to number eight one the Billboard Hot 100, after the video's first full tracking week. It became Ronson's first top 10 as an artist. It debuted on the component charts of Streaming Songs and Radio Songs at number 26 and 46, respectively.[90] On the week of 10 December 2014, "Uptown Funk" ascended to number five, with sales of 152,000 copies. It marked Mars' eleventh top five on the Billboard Hot 100.[91] On its fourth week, the single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 170,000 copies and 49 million audience, thus reciving Airplay Gainer honors.[92] On the following week, after The Voice performance, the recording stayed at number three for the second consecutive week. It was the biggest gainer in Digital Songs (244,000) , Streaming (7.9 million), Airplay audience (63 million), becoming the fifth song to top the three "categories" since their existence along each other. Ronson became the second lead male artist to top Digital Songs with a debut single, since Sam Smith's "Stay with Me" (2014).[93] On 31 December 2014, the track rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 with 432,000 copies sold, 8.8 million streams and reached the top ten on Radio Songs with 68 million audience.[94] On its seventh week, "Uptown Funk" topped the Billboard Hot 100, with 382,000 downloads sold, 10 million U.S. streams and 76 million audience in airplay. It became Ronson's first and only number-one single in the country and Mars' sixth.[95] It became one of the longest running number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second longest-running number-one single of the 2010s decade since it topped the chart for 14 consecutive weeks, as well as Ronson and Mars' longest command at the top position. It was replaced by Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" (2015) featuring Charlie Puth.[96][97][98]

On its thirteenth week at number one, "Uptown FUnk" became the first song to top the Billboard Hot 100 and its three main component charts for nine non-consecutive weeks.[99] The recording spent 31 weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and 21 weeks on the top three of the Hot 100, a record previously owned by Santana featuring Rob Thomas's "Smooth" (1999), with 19 weeks.[100][101] By spending 25 weeks on the Hot 100's top five, it matched the record set by LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" (1997). Said record was broken by "Closer" (2016) by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, as it spent 26 weeks on the Hot 100's top five.[102] "Uptown Funk" sold at least 300,000 copies for eight consecutive weeks, only "Blurred Lines" (2013) by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I. suppressed it by selling the same amount for ten weeks in a row.[103] "Uptown Funk", at the time, tied the record for most weeks spet at the top of the Digital Song Sales chart (13 weeks) with Flo Rida's "Low" featuting T-Pain.[104] The recording reached its highest peak on Streaming Songs with 24.5 million streams and 5.7 million subscription-services-based On-Demand Songs in one week.[105] "Uptown Funk" spent 12 weeks on the top position of Streaming Songs, it was the second best run at the time, only surpassed by the thirteen weeks of Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX's "Fancy" (2014).[106] It spent 12 weeks at number one on the Radio Songs chart, reaching a peak of 181 million in all-format audience.[107][103] It was Ronson's first single to reach number one in the radio songs charts and it was Mars' sixth.[108] "Uptown Funk" topped several component charts in the United States, such as Adult Pop Songs, Dance Club Songs, Dance/Mix Show Airplay, Pop Songs and Rhythmic Songs.[109][110][111] In the United States, the single sold 7.8 million downloads as of 28 September 2017.[112] It was certified eleven times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 18 October 2016, for units of over 11 million sales plus track-equivalent streams.[113]

InternationalEdit

On 29 November 2014, "Uptown Funk" debuted at number 63 on the Canadian Hot 100.[114] On the following week it reached the top ten and on its third week on the chart it entered the top five.[115][116] On its fourth week peaked at number two on the Canadian Hot 100.[117] On the issue date of 10 January 2015, the song reached number one, a position it has held for fifteen consecutive weeks, becoming the second longest-running number-one single on the Canadian Hot 100, only behind The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" (2009), which spent sixteen weeks at number one.[118][119] On the issue date of 25 April 2015 the song was replaced by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again" (2015).[120] It was certified diamond by Music Canada (MC) for shipments over 800,000 copies.[121] In Ireland, "Uptown Funk" debuted at number two on 12 December 2014, and the following week peaked at the top of the Irish Singles Chart, taking the Christmas number one spot.[122] In doing this, it became the first song not released by The X Factor winner to reach this position in nine years.[123][124] It spent seven weeks at number one in the Irish Charts, before being knocked off the top by Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" (2015).[125]

"Uptown Funk" set a record, also achieved by four other songs, as it topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the Official UK Singles chart for at least seven weeks each.[126] The song is reported to earn $100,000 for the label and composers per week for streaming on Spotify alone.[127] It had sold over twenty million equivalent units as of 2015.[128]

United KingdomEdit

Following a September 2014 cover by Fleur East on The X Factor reaching number one on iTunes, "Uptown Funk" was released, with its release date being brought forward by five weeks.[129][130] It debuted at number one in the United Kingdom with first-week chart sales of 118,000.[131][132] This gave Ronson his first UK number one as either a producer or artist.[132] The next week, despite selling over 181,000 copies, "Uptown Funk" fell to number two, being denied the coveted Christmas number one by The X Factor winner Ben Haenow's winner's single, "Something I Need".[133] In that same week, "Uptown Funk" made UK chart history by being the first single to be streamed more than 2 million times in a single week, being streamed a total of 2.34 million times. In doing so, the single took the title of being the all-time most streamed track in a single week, replacing Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud".[134] The following week, "Uptown Funk" returned to number one and improved on its streaming record, being streamed 2.49 million times. It spent seven non-consecutive weeks at number one, before finally being knocked off the top on 8 February 2015 by Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do", which also broke its streaming record for a single week.[135]

The song was certified a 'million-seller' by the Official Charts Company in February 2015,[136] just seven weeks after its release. In May 2015, the song became only the third song released during the 21st century to be certified 3× Platinum.[137] It had combined sales of over 2 million as of September 2017 (1.64 million purchases and 60 million streams).[138][139] As of late 2016, it has sold 2,5 million copies.[140]

"Uptown Funk" was the best-selling song of 2015 in the UK, with combined sales of 1.76 million during the year (total 2.3 million).[141] On 10 June 2016, "Uptown Funk" became only the second single of the 21st century to go 4× Platinum, after "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.[142]

"Uptown Funk" debuted at number 11 in Australia on 30 November 2014, jumping to number two on the following week. On its third week, it topped the charts, where it stayed for a total of six weeks.[143] It is the best-selling single in Australia of all time, it has been certified 17 times platinum for shipments over 1,190,000.[144] The single made the Year-end charts of Australia in 2014, 2015 and 2016, peaking at number one on the aforementioned chart in 2015.[145][146][147] In New Zealand, the song

France.

ImpactEdit

The success of "Uptown Funk" led it to became a worldwide phenomenon with its major impact on pop culture.[21] At one point, not only did the song broke its own streaming record three times, but it also broke the record for most streamed track in the United States, United Kingdom and worldwide in one week, with 4.8, 2.3 and 15 million streams, respectively.[52][148][149] Tom Breihan writing for Stereogum found the recording to have "transcend hit status and becomes some sort of cultural event", that will be heard at weddings in the next couple of years. Breihan stated it became "omnipresent".[39] Danielle Janota of Consequence of Sound affirmed the single made a cultural impact, it is "more than infectious: It’s instinctual", as everyone "stampedes furiously to the closest dance floor the second it comes on".[51] Matt James from PopMatters said the recording "incite mass euphoric dancing wherever it is unleashed". It also presents its "global domination", seeming like "the only song on planet earth right now".[37] In an interview with Time Mark Ronson said the recording was being played in Morocco, Puerto Rico and Nigeria, countries his previous music never reached. He also confessed the track led to people starting to recognize him.[150] Newsweek's Jed GottLieb explained the reason why "Uptown Funk" is an immortal track as "the song is an increasingly rare phenomenon", since dancing allows us to connect "divergent demographics". GottLieb continued, "the song creates an ephemeral flash where disparate groups get along because they’ve been spiked with the same euphoria". He affirmed, "for the next quarter-century, it will persist as a choice wedding spin."[151] NME's Barry Nicolson dubbed the single "an insta-phenomenon".[20] Jeremy Allen of BBC stated that "the biggest hits of the past few years", such as Ronson's "Uptown Funk" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (2013) drew inspiration from the 80s funk/soul works by Prince, Michael Jackson, Nile Rodgers and others, leading the "80s to dominates modern culture".[152] Nevertheless, when Angus Harrison from Vice asked musicologist Dr John Burgoyne if it would be remembered "in 20 Years Time". Burgoyne explained that despite "the melody being sung, the hook is not" and he is unsure if it will be remembered as "the hook is that trumpet drop, whereas the words "Uptown Funk" just sort of disappear."[153]

Music videoEdit

Development and synopsisEdit

The song's official music video was filmed at 20th Century Fox Studios' "New York Street" backlot in Los Angeles.[154] Mars and his frequent collaborator Cameron Duddy directed the video released on 17 November 2014.[155] In the video, Ronson and Mars are wearing cloths from the late 70's and 80's "attire".[156][157] Mars wears a "salmon-colored blazer" and both put on sun glasses.[158] Throughout most of the "retro" video, Ronson, Mars and The Hooligans are singing, walking and dancing in the middle of the streets. Ronson is seen mostly lingering in the background, while Mars takes the spotlight.[155][156][157] At one point, during the video, Ronson and Mars get their hair in perm curlers at a salon and their shoes shined.[155][157][158] As Mars sings "Fill my cup, put some liquor in it", one of his bandmates does so. The singer also yells at his chauffeur to get the limousine as he, Ronson and the band "jive" next to it.[156][159] Towards the end of the video, Ronson, Mars, The Hooligans and Jeff Bhasker perform the song in a close set to several people.[160]

ReceptionEdit

Joe Lynch of Billboard praised the video, founding it to be as "ebullient" as the song, calling Ronson and Mars "impossibly cool".[158] Rap-Up praised Mars and The Hooligans' dance moves.[157] Tom Breihan of Stereogum said, "I had no idea [Mars] had "ersatz Morris Day" in his arsenal."[159] Ryan Reed from Rolling Stone dubbed the video as "goofy".[156] The clip made the cut on several lists of best music videos of the year. Lyndsey Parker, writing for the previous publication, found Ronson and Mars to complement Morris Day and The Time "funky-fresh-to-death tradition well", ranking it number six on the list of 20 videos.[161] On the list of the 20 Best Music Videos of 2014 compiled by Paste, Dacey Orr ranked the video at number 11 saying the video "has all of the fun and embellishment and color and choreography to be a real classic".[162] On the Stereogum 40 Best Music Videos of 2014, Tom Breihan placed the video at number 25. He wrote, "imagine a world in which circa-1986 Jonathan Demme had directed a movie about Morris Day & The Time".[163] Harriet Gibsone writing for The Guardian found the video to have a "super-slick, Jackson-like group choreography, glossy production and retro styling".[21]

The video received multiple awards and nominations. In 2015, it was nominated for British Video of the Year at the BRIT Awards.[164] At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, it received nominations for Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Collaboration and Best Direction and an award for Best Male Video.[165] In the same year, the UK Music Video Awards awarded the music video in the category of "Best Pop Video-UK" and it was nominated for Best Male Video at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards Japan.[166][167] It received an award for Video of the Year and a nomination for Best Dance Performance at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards.[65][66] The video has over 3.5 billion views on video sharing website YouTube as of March 2019, making it the fifth most viewed YouTube video of all time.[160]

Live PerformancesEdit

 
Bruno Mars and The Hooligans performing "Uptown Funk" at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

"Uptown Funk" was first performed live by Ronson and Mars on Saturday Night Live on 22 November 2016.[168] During the show, Mars dressed in shades, with a salmon-colored blazer.[169] Their performance was well received by critics. Colin Joyce of Spin magazine praised Ronson's "electric guitar performance" describing it as something "that Prince..could have been proud of". Joyce also commend Mars effortlessness singing and rapping skils.[170] Village Voice's Hillary Hugues congratulated Mars' vocals, dance moves and the "taut line between cheeky confidence and charm" that Mars was able to walk.[171] Iyana Robertson of Vibe complimented the "groove" of the song, as well as, the reanactment of "the retro swag" music video.[172] The track was also performed live during the North American The Voice final on 16 December 2014. During the show, Mars and his band, The Hooligans, performed a reharsed chorography, while the singer wore gold rollers in his hair.[173] Critics found Mars' usage of rollers in his hair hillarious.[174][175]

Ronson and Mars performed "Uptown Funk" live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 13 January 2015. The performance started with Ronson demonstrating some of his DJ skills by scratching and doing hypeman work. Then, Mars, dressed in a red blazer, snap back and black shades, and some of his band-mates led the "audience through some choreography", before making their way to the stage, where Ellen also showed "her little two-step".[176][177] Chris DeVille from Stereogum caracterized the performance as a "blast", while NME's Nadia Khomami dubbed the performance as "energetic". In the same vein, Shenequa Golding from Vibe, called the show "dope".[176][177][178] In 2016, the performance during the show, earned them a nomination for a Daytime Emmy Award at the 43rd Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[179]

After Coldplay were announced as the lead performers for the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, Chris Martin asked Mars to join, but the latter declined the invite. Martin explained he wanted Mars to perform "Uptown Funk" with Beyoncé, however, Mars still didn't think it was a good idea, so he told Martin to talk with Beyoncé, she was receptive to the idea.[1] On 7 February 2016, the three of them took the stage during the halftime show. Mark Ronson appeared handling DJ duties, while Mars and his dancers performed "Uptown Funk", wearing an all-black Versace outfit with gold chains.[180][181] During the show, Beyoncé, in a Michael Jackson-inspired outfit appeared with a set of backing dancers dressed as Black Panthers. She performed her single "Formation" (2016) in choreography before being challenged by Mars to a dance-off, while singing the track.[181][182][183] At this point, Martin joined Beyoncé and Mars singing the song.[181][182] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times explained that Beyoncé and Mars brought "soul and funk" to the show, while The Guardian's Alex Needham and Caroline Framke of Vox praised Beyonce´s performance and criticised Mars and Coldplay's performance.[181][182][183] During The Late Late Show with James Corden on December 13, 2016, Mars included "Uptown Funk" on the popular segment Carpool Karaoke.[184] On Mars' third worldwide tour, the 24K Magic World Tour (2017-18), "Uptown Funk" was the fifteenth or sixteen track of the setlist, sang as an encore.[185][186]

Use in other media and coversEdit

Several television shows have used the song, including the thirteenth episode of the first season of The Flash.[187] It also made an appearance on the ninth episode, "Child Star", of the sixth-season of Glee. It was sung by Roderick, Spencer Porter and Jane Hayward.[188] The 22 episode of Hawaii Five-0 fifth season in 2015 featured "Uptown Funk".[189] The track was part of the pilot episode, season one of Rush Hour (2015), as well as, season 15, episode eighteen of Family Guy.[190][191] The song is also featured on commercials for L'Oreal's Garnier line, Skippy peanut butter and the Cadillac XT4.[192][193][194] It is also featured on the film Zootopia (2016).[195]

The song was parodied several times. Scot Pankey, a teacher at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas, gave his students a project, which included the usage of the track. His students came up with an idea and once Pankey heard it, he wanted to join them. After seeing the video, Bruno Mars admitted he cried.[196] Mikey Bolts, who is known for making impressions and parodies, recreated the "Uptown Funk" singing in the voices of Family Guy characters. The voices of Peter Griffin and Stewie Griffin are the most predominant on the track.[197] YouTuber Carson Dean created a video, in which he dances around on a treadmill getting a cardio workout, while the song plays along.[198] On September 2015, YouTube channel What’s The Mashup? used 100 dance scenes from various films synchronizing them to the rhythm of "Uptown Funk".[199] Later, the single was mashed up with dance moves of different actors, such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly, from various films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The speed of the scenes was not changed.[200] The YouTube channel known as Baracksdubs created the illusion of President Barack Obama singing "Uptown Funk", using snippets of his speeches.[201]

Fleur East covered the track during eleventh series of The X Factor UK prior to the single's official release in the United Kingdom.[21] East later included the performance of the song on her debut album Love, Sax and Flashbacks.[202] On 6 January 2015, prior to the release of Fifth Harmony's debut studio album, Reflection (2015), the group released a cover of the recording featuring Jasmine V and Jacob Whitesides.[203] Mark Ronson recorded a new version of the song with six unknown musician from YouTube at the Abbey Road Studios. Initially, the group of performers thought they were covering the track for a documentary about Ronson.[204] On 12 February 2015, Ronson premiered the first official remix of "Uptown Funk", a radio-exclusive, during his interview on Hot 97. It includes a new intro verse by rapper Action Bronson, the final version would include a verse by rapper Bodega Bamz.[205] Kidz Bop included their version of the song on their album, Kidz Bop 28 (2015).[206]

Track listingEdit

Credits and personnelEdit

Recording

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Uptown Special, RCA and Billboard.[8][13]

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[144] 17× Platinum 1,190,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[281] Gold 15,000*
Belgium (BEA)[282] 3× Platinum 90,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[121] Diamond 800,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[283] 2× Platinum 120,000^
France (SNEP)[284] Diamond 233,333*
Germany (BVMI)[285] Platinum 400,000^
Italy (FIMI)[286] 5× Platinum 250,000 
Japan (RIAJ)[287] Gold 100,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[288] 3× Platinum 180,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[289] Platinum 30,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[290] 5× Platinum 75,000*
Sweden (GLF)[291] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[292] 5× Platinum 3,000,000 
United States (RIAA)[113] 11× Platinum 11,000,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Australia 10 November 2014 Digital download [15]
New Zealand Sony [16]
United States [17]
11 November 2014 Contemporary hit radio RCA [18]
Italy 14 November 2014 Sony [19]
United Kingdom 8 December 2014 Digital download Columbia [23]
Contemporary hit radio Unknown [24]
Austria 9 January 2015 CD single Sony [25]
Germany
Switzerland
United Kingdom 16 February 2015 12" Columbia [26]
United States 24 February 2015 [27]
13 April 2015 Digital Download Sony [28]
29 June 2015 [29]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit