Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars's blockbuster smash "Uptown Funk" has been hit with yet another accusation of plagiarism. A lawsuit has been filed by Minneapolis electro-funk soul band, Collage, TMZ reports. The group accuses Ronson and Mars of heavily borrowing from their 1983 single, "Young Girls."
Pitchfork published the official complaint filed by the group, which lists Trinidad James, Jeff Bhasker, Devon Gallaspy, Phillip Lawrence, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner/Chappell Music, Atlantic Records, RCA Records, Ronson and Mars.
"…the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar riffs present throughout the compositions, virtually if not identical bass notes and sequence, rhythm, structure, crescendo of horns and synthesizers rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively."
Listen to the two songs side by side for yourself. Do they sound similar?
Ronson and Mars settled with another electro-funk soul group, The Gap Band, just last year and were forced to add them to the writing credits of "Uptown Funk," in addition to granting them 17% of all royalties and publishing from the song, after a jury decided in The Gap Band's favor.
"Uptown Funk" isn't the only hit from the mammoth neo-soul trend to face pricy lawsuits and claims of plagiarism. Last year, a jury ordered the songwriters of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" to pay $7.4 million to the estate of Marvin Gaye for its similarities to Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." Thicke had even previously publicly cited Gaye as a musical influence for the song.
This all raises interesting questions surrounding pop culture's obsession with the past, producers creating a pastiche of the past, present, and future with their crossover hits. At what point does tribute become copying? Both Mars and Ronson have yet to publicly respond to the new suit, but it will be interesting to see if the duo settle and divvy up their writing credits even further or put up a fight.