Billboard Cover Sneak Peek: 5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Mark Ronson

After more than a decade of making music, Mark Ronson recently upset Taylor Swift to take the No. 1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 with his Bruno Mars collaboration, "Uptown Funk," from his new album Uptown Special.

It might be his first big hit as the main artist, but it's far from his first smash. After co-producing Mars' own No. 1 "Locked Out of Heaven" and winning several Grammys for producing Amy Winehouse's classic Back to Black album (maybe you've heard of it), Ronson was already a music A-lister. 

Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars No. 1 for Second Week With 'Uptown Funk'

But thanks to the undeniable "Uptown Funk," he's finally stepping into the spotlight in America. And boy, does he have some crazy stories. From his cloudy Grammy memories to what he played when he played Paul McCartney's wedding, here are five surprising things we learned in Billboard's cover story, out Friday, Jan. 15.

When He Wanted to Sample Billy Joel, He Just Asked Billy Joel
Ronson produced a track called "Brand New Car" for Action Bronson's Mr. Wonderful album that interpolates Billy Joel's "Zanzibar." How did he get the sample cleared? "I sent a nice letter to Billy Joel," Ronson explains. "It's amazing what the power of a polite letter can do for you."

He Played a Paul McCartney Song at Paul McCartney's Wedding
"It was an intimate, family event," Ronson says of his DJ gig at Macca's wedding to Nancy Shevell. "I started at midnight and no one would leave until five in the morning. Ronnie Wood was on the dancefloor, so I played [The Faces'] 'Ooh La La.' And 'Band on the Run' got a good response."

His Best Friend is the Son of a Different Beatle
Sean Lennon, who was the best man at Ronson's wedding, explains meeting his longtime BFF for the first time as teens: "He had gel in his hair and a cool jacket. I don't think I knew how to tie my shoes yet. He was the first guy to dye his hair. This pretty girl went up to Mark and asked him, 'Why do you have a streak in your hair?' And he said, 'Camouflage.' He was wittier than everybody else."

Ronson Barely Recalls His Grammy Victory
"I was doing blow -- not a lot," Ronson says. "Mostly it was drinking and going out five, six nights a week, which felt normal." Ronson says, "You can turn life into an endless series of parties, if you choose," after producing a blockbuster like Back to Black. 

You Won't Guess Who Ronson Once Opened For
Ronson's music might epitomize cool these days, but as the guitarist for a jam band in the early '90s, Ronson started the show for the band behind "Two Princes." "We got to open for Spin Doctors at Wetlands; that was probably our biggest thing," he says.



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