‘Uptown Funk’: The Number One Hit That Nearly Wasn’t

As “Uptown Funk” enjoys its time at the number one spot on the pop charts, it’s hard to imagine that at one time, the insanely popular song was near death’s door. While the song sounds so effortlessly infectious and funky, it was anything but during its inception. In case you have yet to experience the true force of the funk, the video is posted below.

When the beat drops in and the vocal hook comes in on the intro to “Uptown Funk,” it sounds so smooth and easy, yet it has a nasty streak reminiscent of 80s Prince. This was no easy feat, according to Mark Ronson. All he had was a concept, and a few convictions, such as the word “funk” had to be in the title and that the song could not have a chorus, as funk songs don’t have them.

Beyond that, it was a grueling 6 month process to get “Uptown Funk” refined and onto wax. While most people love stories of how hit songs magically come together and skyrocket into the charts, Ronson tells Steven Hyden of Grantland a different story.

“It nearly self-destructed, like, 18 times because, you know, you get the seed of something that seems so magical and every time you go in to try and finish it or write the second verse, it never feels genuine or like the way it worked when you were doing it the first time.”

Even Bruno Mars, who was instrumental to the success of “Uptown Funk,” had his doubts during the writing process. He even suggested that “Uptown Funk” might not be the gem they initially thought it would be. Had the song taken any other form, Mars could’ve been right.

Aside from Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky,” funk hasn’t exactly been on the pop radar for some time. Acts like Prince and James Brown seem to enjoy their popularity in smaller and smaller chunks of music aficionados.

Undaunted, Ronson forged on ahead, confident that the seed of “Uptown Funk” contained greatness and it did. After months of chasing his idea around the globe like a rabid dog, Bruno Mars came up with the “doh-dohs” that comprise the vocal hook and after that, it all fell into place.

Now, as attested by Billboard’s Top 100, the catchy, slap-you-in-the-face, full-on funk jam enjoys a comfortable No. 1 position and anyone with a soul listening to it can’t help but crack a smile and bust a move. This is thanks in no small part to Bruno Mars, who beyond his star power, lent a hand in its creative process.

Mark was wise in his selection of Bruno, as the hit songwriter brings an undeniable mix of Prince-like funk and bravado mixed with vocal stylings and dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson. Of course, there is more to the funk jam than Bruno Mars. There is a searing horn section that jabs in all the right places and it unabashedly nods to the funk of the 1980s.

With a constant stream of airplay, “Uptown Funk” is on everyone’s radio everyday, all the time, and nobody seems to mind because the tune is too catchy to ignore, much to the delight of funk lovers new and old.

Just in case you were afraid to be caught dancing to “Uptown Funk” in public, the Inquisitr was nice enough to highlight these dads dancing to the funk. Enjoy.