Uptown Funk tried to change music history

Mariah vs Mars:

By Quinton J. Hobson

Bruno Mars and Uptown Funk were nipping at the heels of Mariah Carey’s and One Sweet Day’s Billboard Hot 100 record. Both have Grammys - Carey shown in 1991 and 2006 and Mars in 2012.
Bruno Mars and Uptown Funk were nipping at the heels of Mariah Carey’s and One Sweet Day’s Billboard Hot 100 record. Both have Grammys – Carey shown in 1991 and 2006 and Mars in 2012.

While Mariah Carey parts ways with her publicist of 15 years, a much younger musician by the name of Bruno Mars made a move for the diva’s crown as his latest earworm Uptown Funk spent its record-breaking 14th week atop the Billboard Hot 100.

The 1990s will forever go down in history as one of music’s greatest decades. Artists like Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Celine Dion, Madonna and Toni Braxton were selling millions of albums by the second.

However, there was one artist who stood out among them all; a young woman from Long Island with an unusual voice whose career at the time was only half as long as most of her peers but that didn’t stop Billboard from crowing her Artist of the Decade in 1999 for dominating the charts.

For the past two decades, the song that reigned supreme as the Billboard Hot 100’s longest-running number one has been Mariah Carey’s 1995 duet with Boyz II Men, One Sweet Day.  Boasting an undefeated total of 16 weeks at number one, Carey’s popular torch ballad is still safe. Hot 100 history would have changed if Uptown Funk had stayed put for only three more weeks.

Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars

Alas, it was not be. Yesterday, Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again knocked Uptown Funk off No. 1, zooming from number 10 to 1.

Uptown Funk is the longest-running chart-topper of the 2010s.  Currently rivalling Carey’s comeback single We Belong Together (14 weeks, 2005) and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You (14 weeks, 1992), the song surpassed such mega hits as Boyz II Men’s End of the Road (13 weeks, 1992) and Toni Braxton’s Un-Break My Heart (11 weeks, 1996).  But despite rather promising prospects as “Funk” continues to dominate the airwaves, the newer song’s path wasn’t particularly clear sailing.

Benefiting from the massive success of the new action flick Furious 7, which shattered box office records when it was released April 3, rapper Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again was comfortably at number 10, threatening to dethrone “Funk” and now having done so.

This past year has been somewhat of a mixed bag for Carey given the singer’s recent divorce from husband Nick Cannon and publicly scrutinized performance of All I Want for Christmas is You at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting last December. However, had Uptown Funk succeeded in its dethroning of One Sweet Day eight months shy of its Hot 100 anniversary – Dec. 2 would mark exactly 20 years since Carey and Boyz II Men’s song first peaked at number one – she should barely miss it.

Held in high esteem as one of the greatest voices in recent memory, Carey, 46, is currently ranked among the best-selling artists of all-time with album sales surpassing 200 million and remains the only solo artist to have scored 18 Hot 100 number one singles – the most ever.

On May 18, Carey is expected to release a greatest hits album exclusively containing all 18 of her chart-toppers while taking up residency in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Mars, who music critics have dubbed Michael Jackson’s successor, is one of the most promising performers to emerge since the 2000s.

Although only credited as a featured artist on Uptown Funk – the song’s main artist is credited to English DJ Mark Ronson – Mars has five other number one songs and a number one album to his name, not bad for a 29-year-old who spent the first half of his career working under the radar as a songwriter and producer writing number ones for other artists.

No matter the outcome, there isn’t really a loser in this situation as all the artists have something to celebrate.