This is the lead single from Doo-Wops & Hooligans, the debut album of Hawaii-born singer-songwriter and music producer Bruno Mars. The song was produced and written by The Smeezingtons, Needlz and Khalil Walton.
"Just the Way" was Mars's first chart entry under his own name. He had previously achieved success as a vocalist on the hit songs "Nothin' on You
" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire
" by Travie McCoy. Mars is also a member of the production trio The Smeezingtons whose credits include Flo Rida's international hit "Right Round
The song was originally written with Cee-Lo Green in mind, but the Gnarls Barkley singer didn't feel it was right for him. "I personally think ['Just the Way You Are'] was better for [Mars], like 'F--- You
' was better for me. I don't think he could have sung that song," Green told Billboard
Another artist the songwriters had in mind before Bruno Mars decided to keep the tune for himself was Lupe Fiasco. The rapper ended up on the remix.
This was Mars' first charting single as a lead artist. When the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, he became the third solo male artist to peak at the top position with a debut solo release in 2010. The other two artists to do so were Taio Cruz with "Break Your Heart
" and B.o.B's "Nothin' on You
", with Mars providing featured vocals on the latter title.
This was the first song released on Elektra Records to reach #1 on the Hot 100 since Silk's "Freak Me" in 1993.
Mars told 4Music
: "I'm a big fan of simple songs. When we wrote Just The Way You Are, I wasn't thinking of anything deep or poetic. I was telling a story. Get ready to fall in love!"
97.1 AMP radio host Carson Daly asked Mars how he came up with the idea for this song. The singer replied: "Well, you know, I'm a big fan of just classic love songs. I'm a big fan of songs that are straight to the point. And, 'Just The Way You Are,' there's nothing really lyrically mind-blowing in the song but I think it's saying something that songs aren't saying these days… just telling a girl she's beautiful."
Mars performed the song on the October 9, 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live. While Mars resembled a modern-day Elvis, his backing band, the Smeezingtons, were dressed as a 1950s rockabilly group. Mars told 4Music: "I'm a big fan of Elvis. I'm a big fan of 1950s Elvis when he would go on stage and scare people because he was a force and girls would go nuts!"
Mars explained the album title to The Idolator
: "I'm a big fan of doo-wop music, my album has a little bit of that influence, with the simplicity of it… you can listen to a thousand doo-wop songs, and it's the same four chords. But it's the message behind the song - it's straight to the point and it's beautiful. That's what you call your girl, your 'doo-wop.' I call my girlfriend my 'doo-wop'! On this album, I have records that women are going to relate to and men are going to relate to. So doo-wops are for the girls, and hooligans are for the guys."
At the Grammy Awards in 2011, Mars performed this song before it won for Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Mars closed out his set at the 2014 Super Bowl halftime show with a rendition of this song. The game was held in New Jersey - outdoors where the New York Giants play - which allowed for a fireworks display while Mars sang. His set was preceded by a video message from American troops overseas dedicating the song to loved ones.
Ethan Lader directed the animation-meets-live-action music video, which was shot in one day at a furnished loft in downtown Los Angeles. Mars impresses his girl by creating scenes and shapes with the reel of a cassette tape. Lader got the idea from the artwork of Erika Iris Simmons, who uses old cassettes to make portraits of famous musicians. As for the girl, Mars met actress Nathalie Kelley at a party, and called her up the day before the shoot to invite her to play his love interest in the clip. The makeup artist gave Kelley a fake tattoo to make her edgier.