Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s collaboration of “Uptown Funk” won the “Album of the Year Award” for the 2016 Grammys last night even though it feels like it’s been around for two or three years. The very first time I heard it, near the end of 2014, I was dazzled by its unabashed homage to 80s and 90s R & B giants Earth Wind & Fire and Morris Day & The Time. The prominent staccato Earth Wind & Fire horn line is as memorable as any of the lyrics. The groove, as well as the all-male dance line, is a loving tribute to Morris Day & The Time’s 1990’s “Jungle Love.”
However, Mars wasn’t finished in his loving tribute to the great funk music of the 80s & 90s. His performance at last month’s Super Bowl keeps all the elements of his original recording but adds a musical and visual homage to MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” and James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.” The dance moves and baggy pants are a direct, loving nod to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” The new bass line provided a more subtle nod to the undeniably identifiable James Brown classics. To Marc Ronson’s credit, he humbly thanked to great George Clinton, and his group Parliament-Funkadelic, as well as the late, great Earth Wind & Fire’s Maurice White during last night’s GRAMMY AWARD acceptance speech.
Bruno Mars is clearly emerging as the ultimate Pop Music Maestro of the 21st century. The man is a hit-making machine, and will hopefully keep churning them out, and performing them with his charismatic charm and astonishing dance moves. The best thing about Bruno Mars, missing in so many young Pop performers, is that he clearly LOVES what he’s doing. No matter how enjoyable it is to watch this remarkable sensation, he always seems to be having a better time than us.
Keep going Bruno. I can’t wait to see what’s next.