The lead single from singer-songwriter Bruno Mars' sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox, features production by Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie and the songwriting/production team the Smeezingtons (Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine). The song finds Mars singing of a relationship that is so good the narrator feels like he was "locked out of heaven" before he met his lover. It debuted digitally and on radio on October 1, 2012 and became available for purchase the following day.
During his Google+ Hangout on the day of the song's release, Mars was asked by a fan to name his favorite lyrics from the track. Mars picked the phrase "But swimming in your water is something spiritual," and later said that the single's exploration of feeling and being in love fits into the "sensual, sensual and sensual" theme of the album.
Though critics have been quick to point out the song's similarities to some of the hits by the Police, Mars told MTV News he did not set out to write anything inspired by the Sting-fronted band. Instead, it came to him out of the blue, one night during his studio sessions prior to recording the Unorthodox Jukebox album. "I don't think it initially tried to sound like anybody else, but I picked up the guitar and just started playing [the song's opening chords]," Mars explained. "That's how it normally works; I'll pick up a guitar and I'll start humming a melody, and I started singing that, and I was up there in Sting-ville, in that register, so that's what you get... I tend to listen to a lot of guys with higher registers - Sting being one of them, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder - because I've got a high voice."
The song's stripped back music video was directed by Cameron Duddy, who also helmed the clip for Mars ' "The Lazy Song
." The retro visual mainly features the singer performing the track in a club, with a few added VHS effects. "The concept is just old-fashioned fun. No story line, it's not me singing to a girl, you get a good sense of what you're going to get live," explained Mars to MTV News. "It's very VHS-y. I love that man, it takes me back to my childhood, when the tracking is off and the color is off, there's a beauty in that. You'd have to stand by the TV with, like, aluminum foil all over you."
Bruno Mars performed the song live for the first time when he hosted and did double duty as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, October 20, 2012.
The song finds Mars singing of a mystery woman:You bring me to my knees
You make me testify
You can make a sinner change his ways
Quizzed by UK radio station Capital FM whom Mars penned the song's raunchy lyrics about, he replied. "I might as well just say it, Halle Berry."
Other references to the X Men
actress in hit songs include Missy Elliott's "Work It
":Don't I look like a Halle Berry poster
See the Belvedere playin' tricks on you
And Kardinal Offishall's "Dangerous
":I mean Megan Good and Halle Berry put together
Ain't close to the jubee I see
Co-producer Mark Ronson brought in the rhythm section of his frequent collaborators the Dap-Kings for this track. (They are the soul band that Ronson used to back Amy Winehouse on her Back to Black album) "It's hard to create sounds with live instrumentation that bump in the club, and Mark Ronson did it here," Mars told Rolling Stone. "Since Back to Black, I've always wanted to get into his head and see how he does it."
The song was the fifth heavenly-titled track to reach #1 on the Hot 100. Can you guess what the other four chart-toppers to include the word 'heaven' in their title were? They were:
1979 "Too Much Heaven," by the Bee Gees.
" by Bryan Adams.
1987 "Heaven Is A Place On Earth
" by Belinda Carlisle.
2005 "Inside Your Heaven
" by Carrie Underwood.
This set a new Spotify record in the week beginning December 16, 2012 when it became the first song ever to be streamed more than one million times on the service over a 7 day period.
Mars claimed his first #1 album on the Billboard 200 when Unorthodox Jukebox jumped one slot to the top of the tally. Its sales of 95,000 copies in the week ending March 3, 2013 were largely fueled by sale pricing by Amazon MP3.
This won Best Song at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards.
This was nominated for Grammy Awards for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year in 2013, but didn't win either ("Get Lucky
" by Daft Punk and "Royals
" by Lorde took those trophies). Mars didn't go home empty handed; he won Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox
Mars used this song to open his set at the 2014 Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. To start his halftime performance, Mars appeared behind a drum kit that moved toward the stage while he hit the skins. When he left the kit, he moved to the front and sang with his band.