Mark Ronson DJs Your Summer Soirée

The pop hit maker returns to the show with a DJ set that'll envelop you in good vibes and then, not surprisingly, funk you up.

Photo Credit: LeAnn Mueller

Producer/musician/DJ Mark Ronson’s monster single “Uptown Funk” spent fourteen weeks at no. 1 this year, the second longest chart reign of any song in Billboard history. Ronson talked to us this spring about producing “Uptown Special” — the album that spawned that hit. But his current tour of Europe seemed a good excuse to have him back on the show, to present a party playlist that’ll put you in a sweet summertime trance.
Mark Ronson: Hi, I’m Mark Ronson, and this is my dinner party soundtrack.

Harpers Bizarre – “Witchi Tai To”

My first song that I’ve picked for you is a song called “Witchi Tai To,” by a band called Harpers Bizarre.

They were, I think, a late ’60s, slightly psychedelic California group. I think this was probably their only big song. I only heard it for the first time about two, three years ago, and I was like, “How have I not heard this all my life?”

It has all these bike bells ringing, and it’s so warm… and it sort of washes over you. You can engage in it if you want, but at the same time, it’s not going to pull you out of some amazing conversation with the person to your left.

I think if you listen to it, it’s hard not to think that Eno and U2 didn’t maybe listen to it a few times before they cut “With Or Without You.”

Steve Spacek – “Dollar”

So, for my next song, I’ve picked Steve Spacek. It’s called “Dollar.”

It’s a really short, odd, two-to-three bar sample of this old Billy Paul song, “Let The Dollar Circulate.” And this guy’s singing a kind of beautiful Curtis Mayfield-type falsetto over it.

It’s super hypnotic, but yet, you could hear it for three minutes and never get tired of it. It’s really clever and engaging if you want it to be, but yet it can still — without maybe being too distracting — just envelop the room.

I remember the first time I heard this song. A good friend — a DJ in New York named Blu Jemz — was DJ-ing some party in this weird, hipster art gallery thing in New York, and he played it. And I remember I hadn’t DJed in a while and everyone went crazy when the song came on… and it made me feel kind of old. I was like, “Oh man, I’m that guy now that doesn’t know the new things that have come out.”

The Bees – “Listening Man”

For my next song, I’m going to pick a song called “Listening Man” by The Bees.

The Bees are this band from the Isle of Wight that spookily sound like this combination of early ’70s Wailers recording with something a bit more like The Band.

I’m a little bit obsessed with things that sound a bit older, and as you’re going through the dinner party, you want music that people are going to go, “Wow, what’s this? I’ve never heard of it before!”

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

If I had to choose a song of my own, like, gun to my head? I mean, I’d have to choose “Uptown Funk.”

There’s that moment where you have to delineate, “All right, dinner’s over.” And then, you just have to play that one song that lets everybody know, “Oh, it’s dancing time!”

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