Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This was issued as a promotion single on September 28, 2010, prior to the release of Hawaii-born singer-songwriter and music producer Bruno Mars' debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans.
Mars is so desperate to impress his hard-to-please girl on this song, that he assures her he would catch a grenade for her, along with other assorted foolhardy acts. He told The Idolator
the original inspiration for this track came from a songwriter friend of his, Benny Blanco, whose credits include hits such as Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl
" and Ke$ha's "TiK ToK
." "I was with my friend Benny Blanco and he was playing me some songs, and he played me this song that had a lyric like ["Grenade"]… he said, this band is not signed, this is a CD that wasn't released. I said to Benny, I can relate to that so much, I want to take that and make it my own. He was in contact with the dude, and I started writing my version, basically. It's a heartbreaking, heartbreak song, and I think everyone can relate to that. You're so in love with this woman and you don't understand, " What am I doing wrong? What am I not giving to you? I'll go as far as putting as putting a bullet in my brain for you, and why can't I get that kind of love in return?"
The song's music video, directed by Nabil, was released on November 19, 2010. It shows Mars's efforts to sing to a girl after dragging an upright piano through the streets of Los Angeles. In a behind-the-scenes video, Mars explained, "The concept of the video is my struggle, to tell his girl I'd do anything for her, so I'm going as far as dragging a piano to get to her just so I can sing my heart out."Mars told MTV News: "A lot of people think this is a camera trick, but that is a heavy piano. Luckily, I've been doing about, you know, 800 to 967 push-ups every day, so it's not a big deal, I can handle it. Been workin' on my bi's, my tri's, my clies and my thighs, that's just what it is."
When this jumped from 17-10 on the Hot 100 chart dated December 11, 2010, Bruno Mars became the first solo male to send his first four Hot 100 entries to the Top 10 since Rick Astley sent his debut quartet to the top rung in 1988-89. Mars previously guested on B.o.B's chart-topper "Nothin' on You
" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire
" (#4) before occupying the summit with his own #1, "Just The Way You Are
"Grenade" can be used as a term for an ugly girl, as popularized on the MTV show Jersey Shore. Mars explained to Rolling Stone: "We wrote that song before Jersey Shore started. I remember telling people at the label about 'Grenade' and they started laughing, like, 'Oh, that's going to be really funny.' But it's not a joke song."
When this climbed to the #1 spot Mars became the first male act in over 13 years to take his first two charting radio singles as a lead artist to the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. The previous male to do so was Diddy, who took his own "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down
," featuring Mase, and the Faith Evans duet, "I'll Be Missing You
," to the peak position in 1997.
The song debuted at #1 on the chart week of January 16, 2011 in the UK selling just short of 150,000 copies. It was the highest one-week sale for any track released in January in fifteen years. Back in 1996 "Spaceman
" by Babylon Zoo sold 418,000 copies in its first week on sale.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans debuted at #1 on the UK album chart during "Grenade's" second chart-topping week. This meant Mars became the first male artist to manage such a double for four years. The previous man to achieve the feat was Mika in early 2007.
After the song became a hit, fans started throwing replica grenades at Mars when he played it live. Understandably, the singer and his band found it a little perturbing. He told UK newspaper, The Daily Star: "Since I've been singing 'Grenade' I've been getting more fake ones thrown at me. At first it was cute now it's beginning to spook my band out. With the stage lights on you can't see anything. It's dangerous and scares the s--t out of me."
According to an interview with AP writer Ryan Pearson, the original version utilized an uptempo 1960s surf-style sound. Mars slowed and stripped the song down and the reworked tune became the last track added to the album.
Brad Smith of Blind Melon
The Blind Melon bassist/songwriter tells the story of "No Rain," which he wrote before the band was formed.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."
Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose
. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."