7 of the Most Epic Modern Drum Beats Behind “Uptown Funk”

A blog about the drum beats behind ‘Uptown Funk’.

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars has become a worldwide hit. Here are 7 of the most epic modern drum beats from the past 25 years that are featured in this song:

1. The Gap Band – “Oops Upside Your Head” (1980)

2. Morris Day & The Time – “The Bird” (1982)

3. The Sequence – “Funk You Up” (1979)

4. Art Neville – “Hercules” (1964)

5. Zapp & Roger – “More Bounce To The Ounce” (1980)

6. Collage – “Get In Touch With Me” (1983)

7. Digital Underground – “The Humpty Dance” (1990)

“Uptown Funk,” the new single from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, has been burning up the charts for months and many folks are wondering about the funky drum beats that drive this hit. Let’s take a look at seven of the most epic modern drum beats behind “Uptown Funk.”

1. “Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers

Brown delivered this go-go anthem in 1979 and it became a national slammer, winning him a Grammy nomination. The beat is simple but infectious and is brilliantly performed by drummer James “Jas Funk” Avery, who gave it his all on the kit with hard-hitting grooves.

2. “Funky Drummer” by James Brown

James Brown was known as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business but he had plenty of help from his jazzy drummer Clyde Stubblefield, who put down a number of funk rhythms in recordings like “I Got The Feelin’,” “Cold Sweat,” and “Mother Popcorn.” But his best work was probably on “Funky Drummer,” which is one

Taking a look at the drum tracks in “Uptown Funk” we can see that Mars, Ronson, and their team have certainly taken many pages from the musical greats. From James Brown to Earth, Wind & Fire, here are 7 of the most epic modern drum beats behind “Uptown Funk.”

James Brown – “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” (1970)

Yesterday we posted the most epic 80s drum beats. Today we’re going to listen to some of the most epic modern drum beats. The number one spot on our list is rather obvious.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars released their hit song “Uptown Funk” in 2014, yet it still gets a lot of airtime today. This song has been played nearly 5 billion times on YouTube alone!

“Uptown Funk” doesn’t only feature the most popular drum beat of all time, but many other great drum parts as well. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Uptown Funk, the new single from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is a funky party anthem that draws inspiration from many songs and artists. In fact, here are seven of the most epic modern drum beats that laid the foundation for this catchy song:

1. Blue Monday – New Order

2. Super Freak – Rick James

3. The Payback – James Brown

4. Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones

5. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

6. Jennifer Lopez ft LL Cool J – All I Have [Mix]

7. Aeroplane (Reprise) – Red Hot Chili Peppers​

As you can see, the influence of various musical greats really comes through on this track. Check it out for yourself:

Mark Ronson’s smash hit with Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” has been taking over the world since its release in 2014. The song is catchy, well written, and just plain fun to listen to. It’s also a great example of mixing funk and hip-hop rhythms together in one track.

One thing that makes the song so great is the drum parts by drummer extraordinaire, Zachary “Zack” Freeman (aka Homer Steinweiss). The drum beats are integral to the feel of the song and give it a lot of its groove and attitude. Here are a few of my favorite drum beats behind “Uptown Funk”:

1. Main Groove – 0:00

This is the main groove that appears throughout most of the song. It’s funky, it’s groovy, it’s hip-hop, it’s rock n’ roll… it’s all of those things combined!

2. Bridge Groove – 1:16

This drum beat appears at the beginning of the bridge section and stays for most of it. It has a cool triplet feel to it that mixes perfectly with the vocals. There are also a number of fills that happen throughout this part too, but they’re not as cool as this groove.

If you listen to the drums on “Uptown Funk” carefully, it’s apparent that they’re not just a rhythmically straight-ahead pattern. The groove is actually full of subtle variations and an underlying rhythmic complexity that adds to the feel and fun of the track.

The first drum beat below is a restatement of the drum groove from “Uptown Funk.” The second beat is a collection of seven different beats that are used behind “Uptown Funk.” Each of these variations comes either directly from the song or is inspired by it. Listen to each one carefully and think about how each one affects the sound and feel. You could also play along with them as you did with in the video above.


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