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'Uptown Funk!' Justifies Its Exclamation Point

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"Uptown Funk!" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars leaps from #18 to #8 in its third week on the Hot 100. The song is a throwback to the 1980s. The sassy sound echoes classic hits by Prince, who amassed 14 top 10 hits (including four #1s) in that decade. The opening lyric salutes an actress who rose to stardom in that decade: “This hit/that ice cold/Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold.”

The song has already surpassed the #9 peak of Amy Winehouse's 2007 hit “Rehab,” which Ronson produced.  “Uptown Funk!” may well reach #1, which would enable it to tie Mars's “Locked Out Of Heaven,” which Ronson co-produced. “Rehab” won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. “Locked Out Of Heaven” was nominated for both awards.

"Uptown Funk!" is Mars’s 12th top 10 hit; his first since "Treasure," which peaked at #5 in August 2013. Mars’s long absence from pop radio (with new material, anyway) is one reason this record rose so quickly: Mars is a core artist at a broad range of radio formats. He was missed.

This is Mars’s fifth top 10 hit as a featured artist. His previous top 10s as a featured artist were B.o.B's “Nothin' On You” (#1 in 2010), Travie McCoy's “Billionaire” (#4 in 2010), Bad Meets Evil's “Lighters” (#4 in 2011) and Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa's “Young, Wild & Free” (#7 in 2012).

Billboard's Gary Trust notes that “Uptown Funk!” is the first top 10 hit ever to feature the word “funk” (and not a variation of that word) in its title. The highest-charting songs before this with the word “funk” in their titles were Elton John's “Grow Some Funk Of Your Own” (#14 in February 1976) and Parliament's “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)” (#15 in July 1976). Of course, many hits with variations of the word “funk” have made the top 10, including Wild Cherry's “Play The Funky Music,” Lipps Inc.'s “Funkytown” and Da Brat's “Funkdafied.”

Taylor Swift's “Blank Space” tops the Hot 100 for the third week in its fifth week on the chart. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Swift's previous hit,”Shake It Off,” which was #1 for four weeks, rebounds from #5 to #4 in its 15th week. The song tops the 3 million mark in digital sales.

In addition, “Blank Space” holds at #1 on Digital Songs for the fourth non-consecutive week. Swift has headed this chart for nine weeks so far this year, second only to Pharrell Williams, who led it for 11. Swift is the top female artist in terms of weeks at #1 on this chart in 2014. She pulls ahead of Meghan Trainor (eight weeks). Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen were tied for the most weeks at #1 on the digital sales chart by any artist in 2012 (eight weeks each).

"Blank Space" sold 342K copies this week. This is the third week in a row that it has posted sales of 300K copies or more. That’s the best showing by any song since Williams’s "Happy" topped 300K for seven consecutive weeks in March and April.  

Meghan Trainor's “All About That Bass” holds at #2 for the fifth consecutive week in its 21st week. Trainor's follow-up, “Lips Are Movin” jumps from #19 to #13 in its sixth week.

Hozier's “Take Me To Church” holds at #3 for the second week in its 16th week. It's #1 on Rock Songs for the seventh week … Maroon 5's “Animals” dips from #4 to #5 in its 15th week. The song peaked at #3.  ”Animals” is #1 on Radio Songs for the third week.

Selena Gomez's “The Heart Wants What It Wants” jumps from #20 to #6 in its fourth week. This ties the peak of Gomez's 2013 hit “Come & Get It.” These are her highest-charting hits to date. In a 1992 interview, Woody Allen used the phrase “The heart wants what it wants” to explain his attraction to Soon-Yi Previn. This isn’t the first time that a phrase associated with the famed director has become the title of a top 20 hit. Steve Miller hit #11 in July 1976 with “Take The Money And Run,” which was the title of Allen’s second film as a director (in 1969).

Sam Smith's “I'm Not The Only One” holds at #7 for the second week in its 13th week … Tove Lo's “Habits (Stay High)” drops from #6 to #9 in its 27th week. The song peaked at #3 … “Love Me Harder” by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd dips from #9 to #10 in its eighth week. The song peaked at #7.

Two songs drop out of the top 10 this week: Nick Jonas's “Jealous” and Ed Sheeran's “Don’t.”

Expect a debut in the top 40 by “The Hanging Tree” by James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence. The song enters Digital Songs at #2 (200K). The song is from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I, which has been #1 at the box-office the last two weekends. Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Actress for 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. She’ll join the short list of Best Actress winners to land a top 40 hit on the Billboard chart.

To My Readers: I’ll have another Chart Watch column drawn from the Hot 100.

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