How Uptown Funk Copied Music History

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How Uptown Funk Copied Music History – a blog post discussing how the song Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars copied various songs throughout music history.

The Beginnings of Uptown Funk

Uptown Funk is a song by Bruno Mars that was released in 2014. The song is heavily influenced by 1970s funk music. The song has been described as a “show-stopping” track that is “infectiously catchy”.

The song’s conception and writing

In September 2014, Ronson and Mars were in the studio together, working on songs for Mars’ album. They had been in the studio for “a couple of weeks” and had written “four or five” songs when they got the idea for “Uptown Funk”. Ronson said: “We were just hanging out, getting ready to order some Thai food, and then we both just sat down at the piano. And a riff popped into my head”. According to Ronson, he composed the core melody on the piano in approximately 20 minutes, while Mars elaborated on it afterwards.

Ronson brought it to Mars, who was initially reluctant to record it as a single due to its similarity with his own work—a demo version of “Uptown Funk” incorporated parts of Mars’ older songs “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Treasure”. However, after hearing it completed with Ronson’s music and additional vocals fromMars’ songwriting team The Hooligans ( Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine), he liked it and decided that they should record it.

The song’s recording

“Uptown Funk” was recorded at Livingston Studios in London and the Songasol Studios in the Netherlands by producer Mark Ronson, with co-producer Jeff Bhasker. The song was mixed by Serban Ghenea at the MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Dave Audé at the Dave Audé Studios in Los Angeles, and Emily Wright at the Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood. All instrumentation and programming were done by Ronson and Bhasker.

The Music of Uptown Funk

Uptown Funk is a song that was released in 2014 by Mark Ronson. The song is considered to be one of the most successful songs of the decade. The song was very popular and it won many awards. It was also nominated for a Grammy. The song has been praised for its catchy tune and its ability to make people want to dance.

The song’s musical style

Uptown Funk was noted by music critics for its retro style, with several noting the song’s similarity to older R&B, pop, and funk tracks. The song borrows heavily from 1980s funk music, as well as from contemporary R&B. It also incorporates elements of “stadium house”, a subgenre of house music that was popular in the early to mid-1990s.

In an interview with Digital Spy, Mark Ronson described the track as “retro funk”, while Bruno Mars said that it is “a modern version of old school”. The song’s bassline has been compared to that of Zapp’s 1980 single “More Bounce to the Ounce”. The main chord progression is grouped in threes, moving up in half-steps; the chord progression on the verses is Cm7–G7–Fmaj7, while that on the chorus is Am7–D7–Gmaj7. Uptown Funk also contains interjections of “rapping” by Mars.

The song’s influences

From the first note, “Uptown Funk” sounds familiar. It has the fist-pumping magnetism of Outkast’s “hey ya,” the old-school strut of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” and the irresistible catchiness of Mark Ronson’s previous hits with Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. But where did all this come from?

The song’s influences can be traced back to several sources, most notably the Minneapolis sound of the 1980s. This was a style of music that combined elements of funk, pop, and rock, and was popularized by artists like Prince and The Time.

“Uptown Funk” also borrows heavily from James Brown’s 1970 classic “Sex Machine.” The opening bass line is nearly identical, and both songs feature a chanted chorus of “uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.” Even the horn arrangement is similar, though Mars’ version is more expansive.

Ultimately, “Uptown Funk” is a pastiche of many different styles of music. But Mars and Ronson have managed to create something new out of these familiar ingredients. The result is a song that feels both fresh and familiar, like something we’ve heard before but can’t quite place.

The Legacy of Uptown Funk

On November 10th, 2014, Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” was released as a single off of his album Uptown Special. The song, which features Bruno Mars, is a throwback to the funk music of the 1970s. The song is an example of how modern artists can borrow from the past to create something new.

The song’s commercial success

“Uptown Funk” was commercially successful, spending 14 non-consecutive weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100. It was the second-longest running number-one single of 2015, behind Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again”, and as of 2019, it is the seventh-best selling single of all time in the US. Internationally, it topped charts in at least 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The song’s critical reception

Uptown Funk was met with positive reviews from music critics. At MusicIsLife, Rob Harvilla called it “a giddy, gorgeous throwback” and praised its “immaculate production”, “retro arrangements”, and “supremely confident swagger”. Dave Simpson of The Guardian also praised the song’s production and insisted that it was “co-produced to perfection”. Writing for TheObserver, Kitty Empire praised the song as “an instant soul classic” and declared it “the feelgood hit of the winter”.

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